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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Apr 9, 2001 (Vol. 6, #24 - Issue #259)
Who's Winning The SunPoll: W2K or Linux?
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Who's Winning The SunPoll: W2K or Linux?
    • Business Continuity Best Practices
    • Massive User Survey Shows: W2K Is Vast Improvement
    • Business Buyer Strike, Refusing To License WXP?
    • Microsoft Has New Security Bulletin Site
    • Transcender Pre-sells A+ Exam Simulations
    • What Groups Is That User In? And What's Their Access?
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • The Practical Intrusion Detection Handbook.
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Who's Winning The SunPoll: W2K or Linux?

Hi NT/W2K-ers,

Some people mentioned that the click-thru's at the end of articles always 'hung'. We fixed that by switching some things around. The redirects are now via the w2knews.com site instead of Sunbelt Software. That will fix the problem. Oh, before I forget, if you find that the sunbelt-software.com site times out, you can always try our mirror site www.sunbeltsoftware.com (no dash).

We're thrilled with the T3 performance to our site. I'm already hooked and cannot live without it anymore. Try it out by voting for this week's SunPoll: What do you consider the most compelling OS of the next 5 years? (whether or not you intend to use it) www.sunbelt-software.com. We allow 1 IP address to vote 1 time by the way, doubles are deleted to prevent 'ballot-box stuffing'. Windows 2000/Whistler and Linux are the leaders at the moment. Who will win? We'll know next week after you vote.

Warm regards,
Stu Sjouwerman
PS, I was promised the work on your Profile will be done the coming week.
(email me with feedback: [email protected])

A high school network administrator installed Event Log Monitor on
classroom servers to evaluate system performance. The next day, ELM
alerted him that a student was trying to break into the system.
Within 15 minutes, the would-be hacker was in the Principal's office
waiting for his parents to arrive. Use Event Log Monitor to keep tabs
on your security perimeter. Because school boxes aren't the only
computers teenagers like to hack into. Your 30-day eval is here:
Visit SWEET SECURITY SOLUTION for more information.

Business Continuity Best Practices

Some one gave me a copy of a magazine I had never seen before. It's called Disaster Recovery Journal (www.drj.com) and it had an article written by Reinhard Koch from Strategic Technologies, Inc. He concluded with a page that contained 9 rules I think you should all read and apply if you can:

  1. The Board of Directors annually reviews the business continuity program.
  2. The responsibility for business continuity rests with a top executive (CEO or COO).
  3. A distinct staff, with associated budget, performs the business continuity activities.
  4. The business continuity function spans all aspects of the organization.
  5. Business continuity planning is a continuous process within the org.
  6. The org. maintains a comprehensive backup policy that includes all vital records.
  7. Recovery strategies are in place and are based upon the impact that the loss of a business process would have upon the organization.
  8. A recovery strategy-testing program is in place.
  9. The recovery manual that documents the program is reasonably current and available under all circumstances. The document is so structured so that an outside technical expert, unfamiliar with the organization could execute technical recovery strategies.
Just ask yourself: Will your data survive even if your building doesn't? This will help:

Massive User Survey Shows: W2K Is Vast Improvement

In Q1 this year, Sunbelt Software in cooperation with the Giga Information Group did a really large survey over more than 1,200 Windows 2000 users. This is the second report about the survey results. We will shortly start with our Q2 survey and you'll be invited to participate.

Findings & Recommendations: Overall, Windows 2000 Professional and Server are a vast improvement over prior versions of the Windows desktop and server operating systems. In fact, Giga believes that Windows 2000 is the best 1.0 OS release Microsoft has ever delivered. Users apparently agree: results of four separate Giga/ Sunbelt Software surveys indicate that customers have had an overwhelmingly positive upgrade experience. The findings show the following:

  • Nine out of 10 survey respondents rate Windows 2000 Professional performance and reliability as two to 10 times better than Windows 9x or NT 4.0 Workstation.
  • 85 percent of survey respondents rate Windows 2000 performance and reliability as two to 10 times better than Windows NT 4.0.
  • Only 1 percent of survey respondents reported that Windows 2000 Professional and Server performance and reliability declined from prior versions of the OS.
  • Only 10 percent of Windows 2000 Professional customers and 14 percent of Windows 2000 Server users said they saw no discernible performance or reliability improvements when they installed the new OS. This may stem from running on sub-optimal hardware.
  • Nearly half of the survey respondents - 48 percent - are installing Windows 2000 Professional first, 24 percent indicated they will migrate to Windows 2000 Server first and 29 percent will perform a mixed deployment.
All in all, these findings have earned Microsoft a well-deserved "A" for delivering performance and reliability in Windows 2000 (see Figure 4).

The whole survey is on the Sunbelt website, this is interesting reading if you plan to upgrade. Please click on the link below:

Business Buyer Strike, Refusing To License WXP?

The Windows Product Activation (WPA) is promising to be causing MS a headache. I was sent quite a bit of feedback by business users that told me they would freeze their environments on W2K and refuse to touch WXP because of an expected major increase of management costs.

Why? Well, look at the following scenario.

Company has over 300 machines running various licenses and has three MCSE's to handle them all. Normally it takes 3 to 4 hours to fully load a new workstation from scratch. That's crazy so they Ghost them. When one of these systems fails, they repair the system and in all cases load the appropriate "ghosted" image back on the machine, returning a stable system to the desktop. With the planned WPA copy protection that won't be possible.

It would seem that with the new WPA Licensing, they'd have to spend four hours loading software plus calling Microsoft every time a box crashes or they purchase a new computer. That's NUTS of course. This is not a license issue, it is having to hire more people to keep maintaining what you already have. MS, please come to your senses.

Microsoft Has New Security Bulletin Site

Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor of the Security Update reported that MS has a new site that went live last week. He said: "The whole site is XML based and lets you perform specific searches for relevant security problems by refining your search based on product and service pack. For example, you can select Windows NT 4.0 Server and Service Pack 6a (SP6a) and quickly get a list of all related security fixes that you can install on NT 4.0 Server systems running SP6a".

I went over there and had a look. Pretty cool, and you should check it out if you're interested in Security (which you better be! [grin])


Transcender Pre-sells A+ Exam Simulations

The Transcender gang announced it will pre-sell single-user licenses for A+CoreCert 2.0 and A+OS-Cert 2.0, exam simulations for CompTIA's newly revised A+ certification exams. These simulations provide test preparation for your A+ Core Hardware exam and the A+ OS Technologies exam, both of which are required for the CompTIA A+ certification track.

During the pre-sell period, Transcender Club members can purchase single-user licenses for A+CoreCert 2.0 and A+OS-Cert 2.0 for a reduced price of $89 each through the Transcender Club. Transcender's A+ Pak, which offers both products, is also available. Transcender will release the new exam simulations in June.

A+CoreCert 2.0 and A+OS-Cert 2.0 each contain four full-length exam simulations with 70 questions apiece, including computer adaptive testing, randomized and customized exam options. Features include detailed answer explanations, complete with reference to A+ study guides, and a score history report that provides instant feedback and pinpoints the user's weak areas requiring further attention.

If you are looking for courseware that covers the updated A+, to study for the exams before you use the transcenders, check out the wares from SmartCertify over at:

What Groups Is That User In? And What's Their Access?

Ever asked yourself these questions?

  • To which groups does a user belong?
  • To which folders and files does a user and/or group have access?
  • How can I view all the shares and their permissions on my entire network?
Enterprise Security Reporter (ESR) is a powerful tool designed to get answers to the questions you have about your network. By combing through the vast amount of data on your network and storing it in an open database, you now have the ability to analyze, query and report on the security and configuration of your network. ESR's one of a kind functionality - Delta Permissions Reporting? - takes the manual labor out of viewing security.

Using the tools that come with Microsoft Windows NT, you quickly realize that it is nearly impossible to gather the necessary data to produce the reports you need. ESR provides you an easy and efficient way to get the data and produce reports that give you the answers you need.

Using Microsoft Windows 2000? You will be pleased to know that ESR has full support for Windows 2000's NTFS inheritance model.

Some Pretty Powerful Features:

  • Create unique summarized permissions reports: ESR's exclusive Delta Permissions Reporting? technology targets and reports permission changes on folders and files that differ from those of its parent folder, enterprise wide. Great Report Support - Featuring reports developed using Seagate Software's Crystal Reports, your reports can be exported to numerous formats and even emailed to others.
  • Support for Microsoft Access Reports - By natively supporting Microsoft Access reports, we allow you complete flexibility in developing your own reports in a tool most people are familiar with, and then letting you run these reports from the ESR interface.
  • Scalable Data Discovery - Using either a centralized data discovery agent or distributed data discovery agents, ESR can accommodate both small and large networks without becoming intrusive.
  • Remote Agent Installation - Install the agents on remote servers without having to log onto the server itself.
  • Open Database - ESR uses Microsoft's SQL Server 7 or the scaled-down Microsoft Data Engine as its back-end database. This means you can use any tool you want to connect to and query the data. The ESR database is fully documented so you can write your own queries and reports.
  • Parameterized Queries - When building your own queries, you can define custom parameters that will prompt the user for information as the query is being run. This provides a much greater level of flexibility, and doesn't tie you down to writing queries with hard-coded information.
  • Enterprise Scopes - What do you do when you have one-hundred servers discovered, but you only want to run a query against ten of them? You define an Enterprise Scope including those ten servers, and add the scope to your query. This puts more control back in your hands!
  • Browse Real-time Data - All of the data in the ESR database is exposed through an easy-to-use data browser. What's more is that you can also browse data in real-time using the exact same screen. Sometimes getting the answer you want is most easily obtained by browsing right to it.
  • User Extensible - We don't limit you to just the reports and queries we thought you would want. We also give you the ability to add your own reports and queries.
Try this puppy out. Download here:

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • Mass Institute for Technology plans to make its courses free via Net
  • CNN Sci_Tech site has article about catching hackers with HoneyPots
  • Free Chapter out of W2K Security handbook: Harden Windows 2000: PDF

    The Practical Intrusion Detection Handbook.

    A pretty good book that goes into the details of product selection, planning and operations of Intrusion Detection (ID). It's filled with a bunch of real-life cases and stories of ID systems in action. It covers both host-based and network-based intrusion detection. The author Paul Proctor is Director of Technology with Cybersafe.com and has been active in Security for over 15 years. This is a useful one. ISBN 0-13-025960-8 - over at