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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, May 2, 2002 (Vol. 7, #35 - Issue #366)
McAfee Mayhem
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • McAfee Mayhem
    • Use XP To Deploy a Network Bridge
    • The Future Of Home Automation
    • SMS Finally Gets Long Needed Upgrade
    • What Makes HFNetChkPro Different?
    • Windows .NET Mag Reader's Choice Survey Flawed
    • Quest Software Announces Spotlight On AD
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Windows 2000 Enterprise Storage Solutions
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McAfee Mayhem

So, yesterday I got an email from some one that said I had sent them an infected file. Did not know the person and had not sent them anything but decided to be better safe than sorry and grab the latest version of McAfee from their online shop and scan my system with their latest virus definitions file. "Klez" seems to be very active these days, it has infected 7% of all PC's at the moment.

The purchase went fine, but it went downhill from there at a very rapid clip. The system I have at home is a Dell Dual CPU, with an always-on cable modem. And about a million or so people have my email address so I need to protect this box carefully. My security defense-layers have been BlackICE and ZoneAlarm up to now. The combo of these has always done an excellent job of keeping stuff out and "from going out" too. I had religiously kept up with all the hotfixes for W2K, and I was also running a virus scanner but that was getting a bit dated and thought I'd better get the latest of the greatest. The result?

It wasn't broke. I fixed it. Then it was.

The install plunked both the virus protection and the McAfee Firewall on my box. I had not specifically asked for that, but it did it anyway. Then started asking questions about which applications I wanted to have access to the Internet. That was not what I wanted but there was no way to get around it. After trying cancel and escape for a few times it seemed that the firewall thing had gone away and the virus scan finally kicked in. 20 minutes of scanning came up with absolutely zip. Nothing found and nothing quarantined. Bummer. I had hoped for some juicy virus I could "search and destroy".

But then, exiting McAfee, everything froze. START button did not work anymore. The three finger salute was even useless. And then to think I had run that machine for two years without a hitch! Tried a hard reset. It booted but after logon froze up again, repeatedly. Obviously a conflict between the firewalls because BlackICE started to end-task abnormally during the logoffs. Since the power button is controlled by W2K which had stopped working I twice had to pull the power plug to get it to reboot. After 5 or so attempts I was able to get back in my normal profile, but things still froze pretty much immediately afterward.

Then I smarted up. McAfee plugs a small icon in the tray. Right clicking on that immediately during the startup allowed me to shut it off before some of the other services were started and I finally was able to get through the boot procedure without freezing everything up. And of course you guess what I did next. Control Panel. Add/Remove Software, and a fast as lightning uninstall of everything McAfee. After half an hour of booting and trial and error: Presto! System back up and performing as normal.

The upshot? Firewalls are not your normal application. They go deep into the systems and take control of resources which they then refuse to let go. These products should check for each other's existence and warn the unsuspecting end-user that it might completely trash their box if they install tools that are incompatible with each other.

Quote Of The Day: Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.

UNDO DEPT: .NET Server will arrive second half this year anyway. The Latam Marketing guy got it wrong and apologized to half the world last week.

Note: During the summer months, we're going to a once-per-week schedule with W2Knews. Things are usually a bit lighter and we can cram everything in one issue. Saves all of us time and bandwidth! I may send a special issue now and then when we find a cool tool or a super important event though.

Warm regards,
Stu Sjouwerman (email me with feedback: [email protected])

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Use XP To Deploy a Network Bridge

I just got one of many MS e-newsletters and found out you can use XP to create a Network Bridge which is quite useful if you want to hook up several different LAN segments. The MS TechNet "Cable Guy" shows you how to wire this Network Bridge that uses Layer 2 and Layer 3 bridging.

The Future Of Home Automation

A friend of mine in the Home Automation industry was able to lift the veil on how Windows will drive your home a few years from now, using your power lines! This is technology that utilizes advanced signal processing and gets over 7Mb/S through your existing wiring which is fast enough for home use.

He wrote up how this works, and was able to make a snapshot of the demo setup they had at the show. This is really the latest development and you are the first to read it here!

Want to discuss Home Automation with other enthusiasts? Here is the (free) forum to do that:


SMS Finally Gets Long Needed Upgrade

InfoWorld revealed that MS will announce a major upgrade to SMS, around the time you read this. The current version 2.0 is getting long in the teeth, since it has been out for three years. The new SMS (code name TOPAZ) will have improved support for remote systems, AD integration, and supports for CE devices. It will be called SMS 2003.

Active Directory integration means that for instance the scoping mechanisms (like security groups and OU's) can be used for SMS activities. Think deploying upgrades to a particular OU or user security groups. Article:


What Makes HFNetChkPro Different?

Shavlik Technologies, developers of Microsoft's MBSA and HFNetChk, provides a full enterprise version of HFNetChk called HFNetChkPro. This HFNetChkPro is tied directly to Microsoft's security XML file to provide real-time updates just as HFNetChk does. "If Microsoft releases a patch HFNetChkPro will catch it right away. You do not have to wait for an update."

In fact, HFNetChkPro builds on the exact same code base of Microsoft's HFNetChk for complete compatibility. The Shavlik team then adds advanced reporting, customized scanning, PatchPush and other key features including a SQL 2000 backend for data storage to build a true enterprise Patch Management product. How is HFNetChkPro different from other Patch Management systems?

HFNetChkPro's ability to provide the industries' only real-time MS patch management system making it key to computer and network security. As soon as Microsoft issues a patch HFNetChkPro is up to date.

HFNetChkPro at this point in time is the only tool that checks multiple areas to ensure the patch is installed. HFNetChkPro checks the registry, then each patch file's name, date, version and checksum to avoid spoofing, as well as giving you feedback on the reason why a patch is considered 'not found'. You can find the eval here:

Windows .NET Mag Reader's Choice Survey Flawed

Windows .NET Mag decided to copy W2Knews and come out with a "Product of the Year" type award. I went over and just had a look. As a take-off on a favorite expression of Bill Gates "I have never seen a more stupid survey in my life". From what I know of the market, this survey was not supervised by any one that actually knows what is really going on. They must have outsourced it or something. In many categories the real players are not mentioned and a bunch of unknowns are seeming "contenders". You can check it over here but your ballot is not going to mean much in my not so humble opinion.

Quest Software Announces Spotlight On AD

Spotlight on Active Directory, version 3.0 is a real-time diagnostics solution designed to ensure performance and availability of an Active Directory-based network operating system. Spotlight on AD is the only product on the market that can show the real time processes of an individual AD domain controller, while also offering a high-level view of an AD environment. The main new feature is an advanced Topology Viewer, which helps diagnose directory and file replication issues as well as time synchronization issues.

FastLane ActiveRoles, version 4.1 provides role-based administration, data integrity enforcement and Group Policy management in a single app, ActiveRoles is now even easier to use to securely delegate tasks, and it also enhances network security for large enterprises. The new version includes Web-based Provisioning for the Help Desk, enhanced Group Policy Management through ActiveRSoP and Dynamic Business Rules and Business Views.


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

  • A really cool website - advanced programming and cool little apps.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020502FA-WireFrame
  • Various and sundry (classic) visual humor gathered by one of our subscribers

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020502FA-Humor
  • A new wacky idea for a PC interface. An orb that changes color. Really.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020502FA-Orb

    Windows 2000 Enterprise Storage Solutions

    As part of the Mark Minasi Windows 2000 Series, this book provides you with specific in-depth technical solutions to the problems that arise with implementing enterprise storage. It's got Solutions to a all your storage challenges. If your organization's storage needs are modest, you'll benefit from this book. But if they're big, and if they are complicated, then you really can't afford to be without it. Windows 2000 Enterprise Storage Solutions helps you take advantage of all the storage technologies that W2K supports, teaching you, step-by-step, the standard and advanced techniques for managing data, and ensuring its availability.