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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Sep 30, 2002 (Vol. 7, #63 - Issue #394)
Cyberattacks Reached All-time High In Sept 2002
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • New Wireless Gadget / Fun New IT Definitions
    • Cyberattacks Reached All-time High In Sept 2002
    • OK, So How DO We Protect Ourselves? Here are some Resources
    • Most Powerful Cyber Defense Initiative? The Gold Standard
    • Can Microsoft Stop The Plunder?
    • Microsoft & HP Invest $50 Mil To Promote .Net
    • IDC: Microsoft Makes Server Inroads
    • Microsoft Center Gives a Peek Into the Future
    • What Is Image-Based Disaster Recovery? (Use Double-Take? Read this)
    • Unix Systems Engineer Loves iHateSpam
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • What New FlatScreen Is The Best?
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New Wireless Gadget / Fun New IT Definitions

You all know I'm a gadget freak. I buy cell phones more than once a year in the hope that the new one finally will do everything that I need it to do.

And I think I have found what I've been looking for, I'm in love with the new Handspring Treo 300! This one delivers everything and then some, especially s p e e d. The Treo 300 is a well designed and well executed combo of the best features in the market. It's got "blackberry" wireless functionality, a good cellphone and of course the Palm OS which I think is lean, mean and smooth. It offers high-speed browsing through the new Sprint PCS Vision network. It has a much higher data-rate that you'll ever get on a cellular network: average 70Kb/sec, which is much faster than 2G networks. And synching with Outlook via the USB port is also blistering compared to the old serial hookup.

2G networks were mainly developed for voice transmission. PCS is a lot better, visibly faster on the full-color screen! And the Treo browser can read any web site, not just those for wireless devices. (it has some trouble with pages using frames though). And since it has a keyboard, I'm all set. (Never really got used to the Palm hieroglyphics anyway.) The keyboard is admittedly small, but with two thumbs if goes pretty fast. Sprint has a so called Business Connection Plan which allows you to access your corporate email, schedule and contacts. Pretty much your "Outlook remotely", and fast! You pay per Megabyte so watch it with the downloads, but you get 3 months free so you can check your data transfer rate.

This puppy was thought out well. Everything works, is in the right spot, and you can usually do things three different ways. I'll give you a small example. Normally you see people with these headsets that only exist of an ear bud and a microphone "in the wire". They are holding their "wiremike" with their hand to get it closer to their mouth. Duhh! The set that comes with the Treo has the mike placed higher, so it's closer to your mouth and the sound is great. It's full of these small but crucial features that make it a joy to use. You can only get my Treo 300 by prying it out of my cold, dead fingers. [grin] Check the W2Knews Pricegrabber comparison site for pricing and where to get one.

You can use this phone to remotely administer your servers using StarAdmin:

I was sent a few new "coined IT words" you might enjoy:

  • Animousity - vigorously clicking your pointer device because a page is loading too slowly.
  • Prairiedogged - the feeling of helplessness that overtakes you when co-workers in neighboring cubicles constantly pop their heads up to ask you stupid questions.
  • Dopeler effect - the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly from clueless users
  • Crapplet - a poorly written or totally useless Java applet
  • Zen mail - an e-mail message that arrives without text in the message body.
Quote of the day: "Work...Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints..."

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

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Cyberattacks Reached All-time High In Sept 2002

At least that is what digital risk-management company mi2g Ltd. claims. They have tracked attacks since 1995, and they say they spotted 9,011 overt digital attacks so far this month, a major increase from the 5,830 attacks spotted in August and 4,904 in July.

According to mi2g, Internet domains registered within the USA are under the most fire, with 4,157 successful attacks. That's considerably higher than the 835 attacks against Brazilian domains, 376 against Germany, and 285 against India.

The report says that "rising antagonism across the digital world against the U.S." may be partly to blame for the recent surge. According to mi2g, U.S. government computers for the House of Representatives, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, National Park Service, and Goddard & Marshall Space Flight Centers were attacked this month. Link to the article is here:

OK, So How DO We Protect Ourselves? Here are some Resources

The recently published "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace" draft recommendations from the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board spells it out: Each business, each organization needs to take its own action to protect itself from the threat of attacks on their IT Infrastructure.

For the 5 to 10 million overworked IT administrators and technical IT people in the world this may not come as a surprise. They have known this now for the last five years. And I have been "preaching" about this for at least that long.

What is important is that the document recommends each business to update its systems, be aware of new vulnerabilities, viruses and worms and "be vigilant" in knowing of new potential threats. The 1 million dollar question is: HOW are they ACTUALLY going to do that? The answer is, it's pretty difficult, if not almost impossible.

They cannot afford to sit behind their pc for hours each day, trying to flush out information on any possible new vulnerability, or threat. Their bosses push them to also solve "real business problems", such as installing new users, software, pulling network leads, building patch cables, figuring out the (digital) PABX, because "Aren't you a programmer? Isn't this PABX a computer running Linux? ", "Can't you figure out how this works". So how do they manage to keep abreast of new tricks, newly published software bugs and errors, etc. etc.?

Well, they don't, or try frantically to swim upstream, fighting a never ending reactive battle, where we all know the outcome from the many news items we see every day, all re-emphasizing that we live in an inherently insecure "cyberspace". Many will agree that the lack of IT security is the single biggest roadblock to a wider acceptance on IT and Internet technology and its use as a business enabler.

So, Co-Logic Security, a small IT security company based in New Zealand, decided to make its huge database on IT security vulnerabilities and exploits available free of charge. The site is meant for the 5 or 10 million overworked IT professionals who do not have the knowledge, time or resources. So, what's in E-Secure-DB?

It is a massive database containing information on almost every product (software, hardware, network, security product etc.) outstanding vulnerabilities, the fixes that the suppliers have provided, very extensive topics folders on anything to do with IT security, information, educational topics etc.

The information is organized as how "real world" businesses and orgs use their IT: Routers and networks, firewalls, operating systems, databases, applications etc. Any organization can access it, read up on the possible vulnerabilities in the products they have installed as part of their IT infrastructure, plain and simple.

It keeps track of the new viruses and worms, announced by the major AV software suppliers. It actually lets you search on, say the subject line, or length of a newly received email attachment, suspected to be a possible virus, even when the email seems to come from a "trusted friend."

The audience that benefits from this site use mainstream browsers have Microsoft products installed, use mainstream Unix and Linux or windows operating systems, have websites, run accounting and management software, send out newsletters to their customers. And for the cynics amongst us: Yes, Co-Logic Security does also have a commercial Early Warning Service, as an extension of http://www.e-secure-db.us, where subscribers pay for.

That they are physically based in New Zealand, the first country to start the new business day (GMT + 12), and that the previous business day in the USA is about to finish. That many IT security threats can be contained, or even mitigated, as long as the cause is eliminated before the business users power up their PC's. You can find the portal and all the IT security information you need at:

And if you do not have time to check that database either, and need to get the whole thing as automated as possible, do what many of your colleagues are doing. They scan their networks with Retina to make sure all vulnerabilities are known, and then patch them automatically with UpdateEXPERT which allows you to deploy hotfixes and service packs.



Most Powerful Cyber Defense Initiative? The Gold Standard

The US National Security Agency studied the successful system compromises of Windows 2000 during the past eighteen months and found that more than 85% of them would have been blocked had the owners been using the Gold Standard jointly developed by the Center for Internet Security, DISA, NSA, NIST, SANS and GSA. SANS is pleased to offer a hands on course that combines labs and lecture to teach the Gold Standard and the tools that can be used to establish, maintain and audit the Gold Standard.

Minimum security settings (baselines or benchmarks) work. However, system admins need to be confident that what they are doing will work and that they know how to do it. In Securing Windows 2000, you will receive the training needed to build your confidence and skills.

Who Should Attend This Course:

  • System Administrators
  • Auditors
  • Security Officers
  • Security Managers responsible for Windows 2000 systems

Can Microsoft Stop The Plunder?

You may know InfoWorld. It's still my fave IT magazine, I've read it for 22 years now. One of their columns is by a fictitious person called Robert X. Cringely. He's got a gossip column that does now and then have some good stuff in it. I'm copying one small bit of his latest writings with grateful acknowledgement to InfoWorld:

"Speaking of pirates, on the Usenet newsgroups someone has compiled a CD of Windows 2000 Pro, Server, and Advanced Server, comprised of all the versions that Microsoft Select licensees receive -- all with SP3 included. Dubbed "Windows 2000 3-in-1 CD," the hacked CD also includes a boot menu (for whichever version of W2K you want to install), Internet Explorer 6, NTFSDOS (so you can read NTFS partitions from DOS), Ghost, DriveImage 6, and Windows 2000 Resource Kit, a spy says. The spy adds that no serial numbers are required. My spy also said this proves Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts can't stop the technically savvy."

Microsoft & HP Invest $50 Mil To Promote .Net

The two long-time partners have unveiled a joint $50 million effort to market, sell and service systems that use Microsoft's .Net development framework. It shows that MS is serious about WinNet and is able to pull in major partners that are interesting in providing services and consulting for the framework. There is an article in ComputerWorld that goes into this a little more.

IDC: Microsoft Makes Server Inroads

The Winternals site reported on the latest good MS-news. Market researcher International Data Corporation (IDC) issued a report Monday, in which it notes that Microsoft's share of the usually staid server market jumped dramatically. Microsoft, which owned 41 percent of the market in 2000, saw its market share rise to 49 percent in 2001, IDC says. IDC noted that Microsoft's success came thanks to Windows 2000 Server adoption. "We looked at Microsoft's growth in 2001 and found part of it was Microsoft's licensing programs, but we believe part of it was because already some Microsoft customers had gone into a large Windows 2000 upgrade cycle," IDC analyst Al Gillen says. "It's the combination of those two factors." More at:

Microsoft Center Gives a Peek Into the Future

EWeek has a cool story about MS who will open, coming Thursday on its Redmond campus, the Center for Information Work (CIW), which houses prototypes of potential productivity technologies of the future.

Microsoft, working with center partners Sony Electronics Inc., Intel Corp. and Acer Inc., is running numerous prototypes of software and systems that could hit the market within five years. Prototype stuff from Microsoft Research currently at the Center include BroadBench, a display with a screen 44-inches wide by 11-inches high. This display would probably cost around $10,000 today, but the price would be a lot lower if hundreds of thousands of them were built, said Gary Starkweather, an architect for Microsoft Research and the developer of BroadBench.

"There has been enormous enthusiasm for the product from people like operations managers who want to put a whole lot of servers or functional modules on the screen so they can have an operator watch what's going on with their network," he said.

The goal with BroadBench is also to provide workers with simultaneous access to multiple applications across the screen, which they could individually customize and set up to better manage the flow of information on their desktops.

Gruver said he expects some 1,000 customers to tour the center each month. Microsoft will collect feedback from these visitors and use it to guide which technologies to move toward reality and which need refining to better address real business problems customers face, he said. Make sure to go to this site and click on the picture of how the Broadbench works!


What Is Image-Based Disaster Recovery? (Use Double-Take? Read this)

Double-Take is a wonderful product for getting back data, or failing over servers and data for disaster recovery. It does not however mirror the Operating System itself. So, in case of a bare metal restore, how to do that? Imaging & restoring the operating system partition can be done very easily & quickly. Any Sunbelt customer who runs Double-Take should have a look at UltraBac DR. If it is an OS failure that causes Double-Take to take over for the failed server, UB DR will reduce the 'rebuild' time from hours or days, to minutes. This does not require you to change your current backup software. UB DR stands alone OR works with UltraBac.

UltraBac DR can restore a failed server in just a few minutes (15 minutes 4GB partition) FROM BARE METAL with just a floppy or CD. In discussing disaster recovery with a Sunbelt Tech Rep this morning, the topic of bare metal restore came up, UltraBac is the answer to get that server up and running in just a few minutes without reinstalling the OS, with very reasonable server cost: The SKU is UB-DR-5 Image Disaster Recovery Server Agent - 5-Pack (5 servers) licensing $ 1,495.00 list.

For those who know about Norton Ghost and want to know the difference:

  • UltraBac runs while system is up (no need to shut down machine)
  • UltraBac has no problem with RAID 5
  • Ultrabac can be scheduled to run
  • UltraBac can co-exist with other backup products
How does image-based disaster recovery work?

UltraBac's disaster recovery technology (UB-DR) is based on scheduled snapshots of one or more disk partitions. The snapshot is an exact mirror image of the partition -- frozen in time -- which allows a good backup even for files that are currently open. This technology guarantees restoring a failed machine in absolute minimum time and effort. Image technology is most often used for protecting operating system partitions. UB-DR can operate stand alone or compliment UltraBac's standard file-by-file backup capability.

Image technology is fast because it does direct reads on a disk, bypassing the file system and minimizing overhead. Yet it still is able to skip non-used blocks on the disk and use software compression technology to reduce storage space used.

Images can be saved to either local or remote tape devices or to any network UNC path. You can protect EVERY server in your network, with or without a tape drive. If a protected machine fails, you can boot it from a single network aware DOS floppy. Recovery can be fully scripted for user environments without on-site technical staff, or can be run interactively by an administrator for optimal flexibility. Restore a 2GB system partition in as little as 10 minutes!

UB-DR is a form of operating system insurance, protecting users against the worst case scenario -- a failure where the machine won't even boot. Image technology makes restoring a system a snap, whether the failure is due to registry corruption, accidental file deletions, and/or file corruption. Just boot from a single floppy. No other operator is intervention required.



Unix Systems Engineer Loves iHateSpam

"I have to tell you, that your product saves me countless hours of sifting through un-needed junk mail on a weekly basis. I've had the same email address for nearly 8 years now, and as you might imagine, that address has obviously been passed around to more than a couple of "opt-in" advertising houses. I've gone from averaging 52 pieces of spam on a daily basis, to somewhere around 4 (of which get marked immediately), and thanks to your wonderful "bounce" feature, I'm actually starting to see a reduction in the amount of spam that is processed. Your Product "I Hate Spam" is quite simply the best Windows based spam solution I've ever used. Thanks again for a wonderful Product."
Bill Higgins Jr., Unix Systems Engineer, San Antonio Express News.


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

  • This time three links for you Audio/Video enthusiasts out there. Here is one to start. Great presentation and up-to-date home entertainment news:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020930FA-Audio_Video
  • If you are trying hard to keep up with the world of high definition:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020930FA-HDNet
  • And if you are in the market for new audio gear and want good reviews:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020930FA-Audio_Review
  • One PC, Six hard drives, and multibooting a whopping 37 operating systems? Yup, it's possible, see here:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020930FA-Maximum_PC
  • This site is completely and only for USB drivers (Microsoft, Logitech, Philips, Sony, etc etc etc. Very useful.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020930FA-USB_Drivers
  • And if you -really- have found the end-user from hell, here is the place where you can get that person their reservation certificate. [grin]

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020930FA-End_User
  • How To Detect and Remove Trojans and Malicious Code from Win2K (but you can use PestPatrol to do it faster)

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020930FA-Pests
  • This last one is not for the faint of heart. It is a dictionary full of English (British) profanities. [Warning: this is full of offensive material. Do not click on this link if it may get you into trouble] Reason why I publish this link is that there is a definition of "WinNet" that nobody was aware of, except some rugged natives of Newcastle in the upper northeast of England.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020930FA-WinNet

    What New FlatScreen Is The Best?

    We needed a new one so we compared the features of a few screens currently on the market. The Sharp was really standing out in clarity and price. It's the one we like! The Sharp 18.1-inch black LL-T1820B uses Sharp's Advanced Super-V LCD and high performance color filter to deliver a high contrast ratio of 400:1, high brightness, very high color purity and a wide viewing angle of 170, both vertically and horizontally. The LL-T1820B achieves perfect color reproduction. It's a winner! Compare prices at the W2Knews Pricegrabber site: