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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Feb 10, 2003 (Vol. 8, #6 - Issue #412)
Microsoft Spills W2K3 Security Specifics
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • New System Admin Words For 2003
    • Discuss Problems With Your Colleagues: Sunbelt Forums
    • Auto-replies And Security
    • Microsoft Spills W2K3 Security Specifics
    • Redmond Withdraws Security Patch
    • Who Is First In Server Sales?
    • "Big Windows" (Datacenter) Overhauled
    • Slammer Was Fastest Spreading Worm Yet
    • Why Nevada Federal Moved To Patch Management Application
    • Automate And Handle Those 3am Emergency Calls!
    • UltraBac Builds On 7.0 Series: Encryption & Speed
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • SECURITY + Study Guide And DVD Training System
Been Hit With The Recent SQL Slammer Worm?
This could have been prevented. A U.K. security firm estimates
the economic damage already over $1 billion. UpdateEXPERT is a
powerful service pack and hotfix manager. You've got to do this
to keep your networks secure. Use UpdateEXPERT as your research,
inventory, deployment and validation tool that enables you to fix
security vulnerabilities and stability problems on your machines.
Visit UpdateEXPERT for more information.

New System Admin Words For 2003

Hi All, some light humor for a change. Here are some essential additions for your System Admin vocabulary: [grin]

  • BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a server went down, and who was responsible.
  • SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.
  • CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.
  • MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.
  • STRESS PUPPY: An admin who seems to thrive on being stressed out, whiney, and complains about stupid users all day.
  • SWIPEOUT: An access card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.
  • PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
  • 404: A completely clueless end-user.
  • OHNOSECOND: That fraction of time after hitting Enter, in which you realize that you've just permanently erased a big database.
  • Inoculatte: Taking coffee intravenously when you are pulling an all-nighter getting that database online from the backup tapes.
  • Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit).
Warm regards,
Stu Sjouwerman (email me with feedback: [email protected])
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Discuss Problems With Your Colleagues: Sunbelt Forums

You may not know that Sunbelt sponsors a whole bunch of no-charge forums that are a godsend to many when they run into problems. You could say these are "P2P support groups" [grin]. Have you recently checked out which forums are available? Please also forward this to people in your organization that you think might be helped with subscribing to these free forums? Thanks!

    5,100+ Members - Free and open discussion of Windows NT System Administration Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to keep NT Servers up and running in a production environment. NOTE: High Traffic
  • MS Exchange Management Issues
    3,600+ Members - Discussion of Microsoft Exchange Administration Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to keep Exchange up & running in a production environment, and as help to pass the Exchange Certification Exams. NOTE: High Traffic
  • MS SQL Management Issues
    1,400+ Members - Discussion of Microsoft SQL Administration Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to keep SQL up & running in a production environment, and as help to pass the SQL Certification Exams.
  • Active Directory
    1,200+ Members - discussion of Microsoft Active Directory Admin Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to keep AD up & running in a production environment, and as help to pass the Certification Exams that have AD-related topics.
  • Disaster Recovery
    1,300+ Members - Discussion of Disaster Recovery Administration and Tech Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to plan, implement and keep Disaster Recovery installations up & running in a production environment.
  • Windows Security Issues
    1,750+ Members - Discussion of Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP Security Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to keep windows security "in" as opposed to "out" in a production environment, and as help to pass the related Security Certification Exams.
  • NT/2000 and MAC
    1,200+ Members - Sunbelt Software hosts this list to invite the free and open discussion of Microsoft Mac-NT Admin Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to keep Mac clients up & running in an NT/2000 production environment.
  • Windows XP Users
    1,200 + Members - Discussion of Microsoft Windows XP Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to keep WinXP up & running in a home or small office environment, and for IT pros, as help to pass the WinXP related Certification Exams.
  • MCSE Study Issues
    2,500+ Members - Discussion of MCSE Certification Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to obtain MS Certification.
  • Home Automation
    700+ Members - Sunbelt Software hosts this list to invite the free and open discussion of MS Windows-based Home Automation Issues. This list is intended to be a forum to discuss how to get and keep home automation running, for people that have this as a hobby.
  • NT Resellers List - Announcement Only
    15,000+ Members - Join this "Announcement Only" list for resellers of Windows System Management Tools and Utilities. Messages from this forum typically announce new products as well as special promotional or pricing offers.
You can find and subscribe to all these free forums here:

Auto-replies And Security

Huh? What's that got to do with the price of fish? Well, more than you might think. It's not as harmless as you expect. The people at Panda Software sent me this hint which makes sense:

Information in auto-replies usually deals with one's absence from their workplace. However, in many cases, they contain additional data such as return date, alternative contact persons and even phone numbers. All this data can become very handy in order to launch an attack using 'social engineering' techniques, as an attacker could use that information to call the contact person in the message and, taking advantage of the other user's absence, try to obtain relevant information that could be used to prepare more advanced attacks.

A basic measure to prevent this type of attack is to avoid giving much information on your absence, as when you ask a neighbor to collect your correspondence so that it does not pile up in your mailbox and nobody knows you are not at home. Another solution is to redirect messages to a workmate's mailbox. It also prevents your email to get bounced up & down from automated list servers.


Microsoft Spills W2K3 Security Specifics

You all know about Bill Gates' trustworthy computing initiative. They promoted that W2K3 would be much more secure. Well, they release some specific security features in the OS for the first time. Newly disclosed security settings and features include details of some of the services that are disabled or running with reduced privilege by default, a Security Configuration Wizard tool that will be available this summer and new documentation for admins configuring systems and networks for security. One result of the effort to lock down the OS is that more than 20 services will be disabled (or run at lower privilege) by default compared to the new W2K3 which will be available in April this year. More at ENTMag:

Redmond Withdraws Security Patch

MS pulled the Windows NT 4.0 version of a security patch it issued in December. It led to random crashes and reboots on NT 4.0 systems after it was installed. The problems were solved by removing the patch. The patch repairs a privilege elevation vulnerability that could give a hacker admin privileges through an exploit using a flaw in the WM_TIMER Windows function. MS said it will patch the patch soon. [grin] Read more at TechNet:

Also, they just issued security bulletins for IE and XP, see article:

Who Is First In Server Sales?

Dataquest is one of the really large Industry Analysts that keeps track of server sales in the USA. Well, in 2002, there were 200K more servers sold compared to 2001. The total was 1.9 Mil, and the growth was just under 14%. If you look at it worldwide, the percentage was only 4.2% more than 2001.

If you look at hard numbers, and add up HP and Compaq as "HPQ", they sold 1.38Mil servers. That was actually down 4.6% from 2001 but they still have the biggest marketshare with just over 30%.

It was clear that Dell was going to gain market share, looking at the HPQ merger, and they were the real beneficiary in the server market. Their sales were 851K worldwide, and now have 18.5% of the total server market. In the USA, they grew the fastest and with a 25% market share which translates into 488K machines. Many of these new Dell customers came off Unix, and chose for either W2K or Linux.

Number 3 was IBM with 225K servers, number 4 was Sun with 144K, and fifth was NEC with 18K machines.

"Big Windows" (Datacenter) Overhauled

MS Datacenter Server has been about more than technology features since its launch in late 2000. Fittingly, the tightly controlled support program that makes Datacenter Server so different from other MS server operating systems is getting a complete overhaul for the Windows Server 2003 launch. Microsoft unveiled details of the program Wednesday, including the new name, the "Windows Datacenter High Availability Program." Read more at ENTMag which was the source for this story:

Slammer Was Fastest Spreading Worm Yet

InfoWorld just posted a story about a detailed analysis of the recent SQL Slammer. Slammer represented a significant milestone in the evolution of worms and was by far the fastest spreading worm yet seen. This particular study was conducted by a whole slew of IT Bigwigs.

They were able to analyze the first three minutes of the worm's spread. During that time, the number of infected machines doubled roughly every 8.5 seconds. Yes, you read that right. DOUBLED every 8.5 seconds. That is an awesome speed, and about 250 times faster than Code Red, which hit in mid-2001 and had a doubling time of 37 minutes. And what was the result of this fast spread? Within 10 minutes of the start of the attack, the majority of the estimated 75,000 machines that were hit had been infected. OUCH. That means the next 'slammer' could be worse. You really need a solution to manage and verify patches. Repeat after me: Security Is Not A Product, It Is A Process. (products only help to keep the process in place). Here is an in depth analysis:


Why Nevada Federal Moved To Patch Management Application

We have a pretty good case study available for you. It shows the rationale for getting an application to manage patches for your networks. The product they chose is UpdateEXPERT. One question we get asked now and then is the following: "UpdateEXPERT doesn't do the Patch that MS released yesterday!"

As you know St. Bernard performs testing on these things before they release them into the UE database, so it may take a few days before a new version is available via the update mechanism. But, if you really need to update a patch right away, this feature of UpdateEXPERT handles that problem--you can install the 'latest' (albeit untested and unchecked) security patches as "private" or "custom install". Meaning, you have total freedom to patch whatever you want, whenever you want. Check out UpdateEXPERT here:

Automate And Handle Those 3am Emergency Calls!

Now you can use Sonic Mobility's sonicadmin and OpalisRobot together! You can connect securely to your network from your BlackBerry RIM or MS Pocket PC device and access much of the powerful monitoring, task automation and job scheduling found in Opalis' OpalisRobot. With this solution, the 3am wake-up calls and weekend "emergency" system support calls that many of us receive can be remedied with speed and ease. There is nothing else like it in the market.

You can trigger OpalisRobot server jobs, view vital server information such as reports, logs, statistics and alerts ? all from your Pocket PC PDA or BlackBerry, wherever you are.

Over the past nine months, Sonic Mobility has worked with Opalis to develop the solution by using the Opalis Developer Edition SDK to provide "hooks" into OpalisRobot. Sonic Mobility is the first company in the market to offer wireless PDA access to the comprehensive server automation and management features that OpalisRobot provides. If you use the combined offerings, you will have a complete solution for powerful remote server administration. Check them out here:

UltraBac Builds On 7.0 Series: Encryption & Speed

The fastest backup solution gets faster and more secure with their shipment of v7.0.3. The latest version of the popular backup and disaster recovery software now includes built-in encryption, client side file compression, single file restore from image backups, and a new remote installer. This boils down to security compliance, faster backups and recoveries, and streamlined administration.

"The release of 7.0.3 is a significant build of new features added to the 7.0 series of our backup and recovery software," said Morgan Edwards, CEO and founder of UltraBac Software. "Our development team designed the recently released 7.0 series for the future with a roadmap of robust enhancements to be added in subsequent months. The shipment of version 7.0.3 is the second installment of those enhancements including new features that increase security, speed backup and recovery times, and simplify administration."

Built-in encryption for backup files is now included in v7.0.3. Many organizations are currently required by law (under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) to protect sensitive information in order to comply with new privacy laws. Using UltraBac's new encryption feature, users are given an integrated security option to ensure the privacy and protection of their backup files.

System administrators will welcome the new remote install feature that centralizes the task of installing or updating the UltraBac application itself. Use of this innovative feature allows the administrator to simply double-click on one setup.e x e file to distribute and install the software to chosen servers and workstations on the network. Pricing starts from USD $495 per server with the ability to backup an unlimited number of workstations:


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

  • Microsoft's view on the Digital Home of Tomorrow. There is no bathroom. Perhaps just as well. What do you do if your MS toilet v 1.0 BSOD's? Jiggle the handle?

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030210FA-Digital_Home
  • Did you know that the Active Directory Database needs to be defragged?

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030210FA-AD_Defrag
  • FTC Internet Fraud Statistics for 2002. Who lost money on the Net?

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030210FA-Fraud_2002
  • Riot animation! ubergeek.tv talks about switching to Linux. Recommended:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030210FA-UberGeek

    SECURITY + Study Guide And DVD Training System

    You can imagine that I have had a look at countless study guides over the last few years for all the major certifications. This one is really one of the best around. The authors (I know some of them personally) have done a bang-up job of covering just all there is to be found regarding the exam. There is also a great question and answer section in this book. The DVD is pretty good too. If you are looking for a comprehensive but cheap way to get a good security certification behind your belt, this is the one!