Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, Mar 29, 2001 (Vol. 6, #21 - Issue #256)
Let's Do Something About Cybercrime!
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- TECH BRIEFING
- Let's Do Something About Cybercrime!
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- WXP Has The Dreaded Windows Product Activation (WPA) Built In
- W2K -> WXP Upgrade Clarified at WinHEC
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Double-Take Supports IBM's New High End eServer xSeries
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
- 40% off all Windows 2000 Books for W2Knews Subscribers
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Most of us are using Exchange 5.5, but almost all of us are planning
to go to Exchange 2000 one of these coming months. E2K has many
architectural improvements and is dramatically more flexible and
scalable than ever before. But the learning curve is also daunting.
Your admin tasks, file management and database maintenance are
going to be a whole different animal.
E2K is now one of the building blocks of .NET and you'll be able
to drive wireless devices with it. It also allows your company to
implement knowledge management (permanent brain dumps), and have
information available for co-workers at any time via any device.
In other words, one of these "business critical" environments. I
ran into a book that will help you get this new product (which now
is almost a whole application development environment) under your
belt. It's called 'Exchange 2000 Server Administration - A beginner's
guide (ISBN: 0072131195) and you should be able to get it anywhere,
but here is a link to Amazon where you can get it for $32. Good one.
UNDO DEPT: TYPO in the last newsletter. The Microsoft web site says
the bogus certificate dates were 29 and 30 Jan, not 30 and 31 like
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
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Let's Do Something About Cybercrime!
It's bigger than just a worm or a virus. With the amount of people
getting wired to the Net, so does the percentage of criminals.
Statistically, there are now well over a million criminals on the
Net. So, just like we lock our doors and windows, we need to take
precautions. The problem is that everybody thinks: "Oh, that's not
going to happen to ME", until the time it happens to them.
A good example is a bunch of cybercrim's that first set up a porn site,
next hacked a series of companies and stole credit card data, and then
made all these cards buy a subscription to their porn site. Fraudulent
billing to the tune of $30 million bucks. Get the point? (And try
explaining *that* to your spouse!)
One step further is information warfare, where you look at other
countries taking out your telecom networks, airline reservation
systems, or the power grids. If you work in one of these environments,
creating contingency plans for these kinds of attacks is simply part
and parcel of your daily routines (or should be).
But closer to home, the unfortunate reality is that many of us are
still running networks that are vulnerable. The evidence is the
SunPoll we held. The results scared the living daylights out of me.
72% of people responding only apply hotfixes when it looks like they
are needed. That just 'aint good enough folks. Only 10% applies all
hotfixes weekly. That number should be 90%!
Why? A very large number of these hotfixes are security related. They
vary from Denial Of Service attacks to holes found that can allow 'buffer
overflows' to a host of other ways your systems may be compromised.
But fixing holes is starting at the low-end, and is not the end-all
solution. Top management should get security conscious in a hurry, and
make budgets available. We all need to develop a healthy dose of suspicion
and paranoia. You need to take the cracker's viewpoint and think like
"How would I try to crack my own networks?" Then try it, get redfaced,
and fix the holes. The time is NOW to start acting and DO something
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
WXP Has The Dreaded Windows Product Activation (WPA) Built In
OK, let me start off that I'm biased regarding this matter. I don't
like it. Never have, never will. Too much hassle & headache in a
production environment. For consumers that do not mess with their
machines, fine. But for techies like us this spells unnecessary time
wasted and additional message traffic we do not need. So, having
spelled out my distaste for WPA, what is it?
MS will implement a new feature in WXP against piracy. The WPA-scheme
links the Windows XP Product Key to the machine ID of the first PC on
which its installed. The MS euphemism is "product activation" but really
it prevents copying the OS from one machine to another. You now need to
activate either via the Internet or via the phone. Ugh.
MS claims that WPA creates a unique ID-code for any first time install.
It uses the Product Key you enter at installation time, and some unnamed
parts from the hardware you install it on. Now, if you try to install
that copy of WXP on another box with the same Product Key, the installation
won't work. (It looks a lot like the new Office XP way of product protection).
WPA does not register the type of PC and its model, or use the ID of
your hard disk. They claim a random ID is generated for that installation.
This unique number will be registered at MS. Yup, you read that right. MS
is going to have this number of your WXP installation on that box stored
somewhere on their systems.
They say that if you are worried about a change in that box's config,
no worries. WPA can handle that kind of thing. But if you replace the
system completely (like trashing the motherboard) You need to call MS
to reactivate WXP when you re-register the OS. Yikes!
The other thing they claim is that it will 'only' be included in copies
sold via retail or through PC makers and other OEM's. That 'just' happens
to be about 90% of their total sales. The only people that are excluded
from this distasteful scheme are large corporations that buy MS stuff
on their volume licenses. Like I said, I don't like it. MS may want to
protect their products, but over the last 25 years they have grown
successfully without using this kind of protection. Bill, I've been in
this industry almost as long as you are. Take it from me, this is going
to be a major headache, and your customers are NOT going to like it.
WXP itself is pretty good as OS-es go. Paul Thurrott has done the best
write-up about Beta 2 that I have seen up to now. You can read his very
complete review over here:
W2K -> WXP Upgrade Clarified at WinHEC
As reported by InfoWorld Magazine. At the WinHEC 2001 conference in
Anaheim this week, some more of the WXP veil has been lifted. Greg
Sullivan, a lead product manager for Microsoft, said the new OS will
eventually replace all of the company's previous OS-es.
What it looks like is that end of 2001, MS will make Windows XP Home
Edition available. This version will replace Windows ME. Sullivan
also said that 64-bit and embedded flavors will see the light in 2001.
And the WXP's for servers are expected in 2002. I'm pretty sure that
these are going to be the same as W2K now: Server, Advanced Server
He further claimed that MS will continue to support W2K, but the
upgrade path for W2K is WXP. However, if you are in the process to
upgrade to W2K, keep on going. W2K and WXP are playing nice together.
Obviously MS is pretty motivated to get to a unified code base for all
platforms. It will make system admin's situation re support easier too.
MS claims that help desks will benefit from a WXP roll-out. It's got
the "shared desktop". That allows the help desk to take control over
a remote machine. Guess where we have heard THAT before. Another 3-rd
party tools category that gets included with the OS. Say goodbye to
Symantec pcAnywhere and another 10 or so developers in that particular
space, unless this feature is so badly implemented nobody wants to
use it. Full InfoWorld article over at:
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Double-Take Supports IBM's New High End eServer xSeries
In the last Issue #255 I announced the new IBM high-end flavor machines.
Double-Take now offers High Availability and Disaster Recovery for
these new puppies. Double-Take will provide business continuity
support, including high availability and disaster recovery capabilities,
for IBM's new high-end eServer(a) xSeries(R) 4-way and 8-way Intel(R)-based servers. And Sunbelt will install it on-site for you if you want.
Double-Take is the first business continuance solution to meet the
stringent requirements of IBM's Datacenter Solutions Platform by
completing IBM's Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter testing. The IBM
Datacenter Solutions Program is a comprehensive set of product and
service offerings designed to deliver true enterprise computing
solutions based on the W2K Datacenter Server OS to those of you
that need greater processing requirements, greater scalability and
the highest levels of uptime for your mission-critical environments.
As well as the IBM Datacenter Solutions Platform validation, Double-Take
also received validation and registration as ServerProven(R) and ClusterProven(R) on IBM's Netfinity server platforms. IBM ServerProven
and ClusterProven ensure product operability to provide the ultimate
in total system availability and resiliency.
Jerry Gregory, NSI Software Vice President of Business Development said:
"Regardless of size, today's enterprise requires the right tools to manage growth, risk and cost. Business continuity and scalability are crucial to keeping businesses alive and preventing negative financial impact. The new
IBM eServer high-end 4 and 8 way servers coupled with NSI's Double-Take
software have the built-in flexibility to enable companies to respond
quickly and dynamically to sudden market changes without fear of data
loss or downtime".
Nancy Williams, Director World Wide Solutions Marketing for IBM eServer
xSeries stated: "Data availability and recovery are crucial to ensuring
business continuance for large enterprise mission-critical environments,".
"We are confident that Double-Take meets the enterprise requirements for
ensuring uninterrupted data availability for our xSeries customers."
So, what is Double-Take?
Double-Take(R) is the first business continuance product for the IBM
Datacenter Solutions Program. Capturing and replicating only byte-level
changes as they occur, Double-Take replicates selected files or entire
storage devices from one or more source servers to one or more target
servers across existing IP local or wide area networks. DT's patented
technology provides high availability for network servers, reduces or
eliminates downtime and data loss with automatic failover, while
enhancing the capabilities and performance of existing backup systems.
Double-Take's failover capabilities allow network operations to resume immediately after a disaster, without user intervention, disruption or the complexities of restoring from tape.
Double-Take's modular architecture is designed to take full advantage
of topologies ranging from intermittent WAN connections to high speed
Fibre Channel-based SANs. For local and campus environments with high-
speed server connections such as virtual interface architecture (VIA),
Double-Take provides high-speed, real-time data replication with no
impact on the production network. Sunbelt Software carries the Double-
Take product, and we offer an on-site installation service that will
take care of the full DT implementation process, any needed scripting,
training of your staff on-site, and a successful demonstration of
the replication, fail-over and fail-back mechanism after the install
Get a 30-day eval here, and call us if you want an on-site install:
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
A good page that compares SQL 7.0 with SQL 2000
Double-Click's NT-servers with IIS 4.0 were hacked. Story here:
SANS Intrusion Detection Course now available online
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
40% off all Windows 2000 Books for W2Knews Subscribers
Syngress Publishing is offering 40% off all Windows 2000 and related
books to subscribers of Sunbelt's W2Knews newsletter. You'll find books
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with Support Tools - an $80 value - for only $15.95.
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