NEW! Password Bouncer Gives Stronger Password Enforcement
This new tool called Password Bouncer will give you stronger password
enforcement than Win2K/NT, plus extensive wordlist screening. You can
automate your security policy and prevent users from picking those
easy-to-hack passwords. This is something you should really check out.
After all the security measures you have taken to make your network
impenetrable, one liability could undermine your entire operation -
Your User's Passwords.
Allowing lax network logon password policies on your network is like
giving a stranger the keys to the front door of your home. The logon
is your network's front door, and strict logon password policy is your
first line of defense. Simply put, passwords are the weakest link
that hackers prey upon and the most often neglected security hole.
Microsoft and leading security authorities agree that strong network
logon policy and practices are critical in today's environments. Here
is a link that shows their Strong Password implementation guidelines:
Although it is up to your company to determine how strong your own
policy needs to be, the following guidelines are suggested. Passwords must contain:
Upper Case Letters: A, B, C
Password minimum length of 6 characters, 7 and 15 characters being
the strongest. Passwords must change at least every 45 days. New
Passwords must not be the same as any of the last 8 passwords.
Lower Case Letters: a, b, c
Numerals: 1, 2, 3
Special Character: @, #, %
Passwords must not contain:
The User's Name: JohnPublic
Simply publishing your strict password policy is not enough to ensure
the security of your network. Human nature dictates that user's will
select passwords that are easy to remember and therefore not likely
to conform to a strong password policy. You can Run a password cracking
tool against the company passwords each month to locate the weak
passwords, but this only highlights the problem and does nothing to
enforce the strong policy beyond badgering the offending users.
The User's ID: jqpublic
Repeating Sequences: AAA, 111, ***...
Palindromes: radar, bob...
Common Words: found in a dictionary
Common Names: Robert, Joan, Richard...
Company Specific Words: IBM, MQseries, Tivoli
Hackers use "dictionary attacks" to compare common words from several
wordlists to crack weak passwords. PasswordBouncer actually screens
user passwords at the time they are being changed to ensure that the
new password conforms to PasswordBouncer's highly customizable
password policy. PasswordBouncer prevents the use of weak passwords,
including those that contain common words and names. Start securing
your network at the first line of defense. Download and install a
trail copy of PasswordBouncer, and start making life very difficult
for the bad guys:
Brand New Way To Prevent Hard Disk Crashes
PC Week recently wrote: "One of the most costly IT headaches occurs
when a hard drive crashes. The downtime and lost data can be
catastrophic for the employee; getting a system up and running can
be a time sink for the technician. DiskAlert watches for subtle signs
of an impending disk failure and warns you before it's too late".
DiskAlert is new software from Executive Software that monitors your
system's hard drives for problems and alerts you and/or your staff by
e-mail, pager, phone and screen popup. DiskAlert runs NT, W2K and XP.
It does not run on 9X or Me. This version's GUI has been revamped and
now is a Microsoft Management Console snap-in that controls and
monitors one or more DiskAlert Agents, which reside on the client
machines (in many cases, that would be your servers). The setup takes
only a few minutes per box. You can add and remove agents through your
Admin console, so you don't need to use the sneakernet to install it
on each machine ;-)
You can install a third module called the DiskAlert Assistant, on boxes
you specifically select, so your staff can also monitor and check up on
any alerts, but only the Administrator console allows you to change or
add drives to be monitored and configure your alert settings. Once you
install it, DiskAlert Agents runs invisibly on your servers, monitoring
disk drives and watching for potential problems. When a red flag gets
raised, the Agent sends a message to the Administrator, which in turn
sends out the various alerts you've set up to you and your staff.
Most of the time, before one of your hard drives goes bad, its throughput
starts to decline combined with an increased frequency of various types
of read errors. DiskAlert monitors these elements along with other
information from the operating system and reports any anomalies to you,
that usually gives you time to back up your data and replace the drive.
DiskAlert also monitors free space on logical volumes. If you've ever
run out of free space on a critical server volume, then you know how
useful this could be.
You can tailor the event triggers to your needs. You have four options
for notification: e-mail, pager, telephone, and pop-up messages. The
pager and telephone options require you have a voice modem hooked up
to the Administrator module. A cool little feature is that the phone
method plays you a prerecorded WAV file.
Executive Software says that DiskAlert is "Smarter than SMART". (Self
Monitoring and Analysis Reporting Tool". While SMART data is one of the
information resources DiskAlert reads, Executive Software claims that
their tests have shown that most of the time, SMART doesn't work very
well. Steve Gibson of Gibson Research says on his web site, "We've
encountered drives that were barely alive that reported absolute 100%
health through their 'SMART' interface commands...
Unfortunately, it appears that since each manufacturer decides what they
want their drives to report about itself, and since those manufacturers
are competing with each other, the 'SMART' system has turned out to be
rather 'dumb.'" That's why DiskAlert goes way beyond simply relying upon
SMART and monitors numerous additional resources within the operating
system, on the drives and supported RAID controllers. DiskAlert can
even monitor older drives that aren't SMART enabled.
DiskAlert works with all SCSI and IDE drives, all software RAID and
currently supports RAID controllers from Adaptec, AMI Mega RAID and
Compaq, with support for more controllers being added all the time.
PC Week installed the product on six Windows 2000 servers and client
PCs on a small office LAN and left it running for a month. They didn't
encounter any drive failures, but they did get warned about several
nearly full client PC drives. Given the high cost of drive replacement
and lost data, we strongly recommend you spend that (little) money.
Here's the eval and price indication: