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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Jan 12, 2004 (Vol. 9, #2 - Issue #458)
Security in 2004
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Highly Available News
    • How To Quantify Downtime
    • Security in 2004
    • Key Security Statistics
    • Disabling The Shutdown Event Tracker In WinXP
    • Five No Charge SBS CALs From Your Friends At Redmond
    • Short Takes from the CES
    • Best Selling Tools In The Year 2003
    • Vulnerability Management Strengthens IT Security
    • Panda Software Previews New Web-based Antivirus
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • The First Real Dick Tracy Watch
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Highly Available News

More and more of the newsletters you want are being blocked by spam filters, either on the ISP-side or your organization. There is a new way to get news. It's called RSS and really it's a backup for the essential information flow you need to get your job done. I strongly suggest you get a free RSS reader and add "channels" to the sites you know are important. Here is another link to a new RSS-feed I discovered! The fave RSS Link of the week: Only4Gurus, awesome technical information:

Quote Of The Day:
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
--Mark Twain
(How did he know the Internet would be there?)

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

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How To Quantify Downtime

Network World has a good article about downtime. They start with:

"A conservative estimate from Gartner pegs the hourly cost of downtime for computer networks at $42,000, so a company that suffers from worse than average downtime of 175 hours a year can lose more than $7 million per year. But the cost of each outage affects each company differently, so it's important to know how to calculate the precise financial impact.

"By achieving just the average amount of downtime of 87 hours per year, companies could save about $3.6 million annually. And for companies that rely entirely on technology, such as online brokerages, trading platforms and e-commerce sites, hourly downtime risks can be $1 million or more, making availability an even greater concern."

It's a good article if you need ammo for tools like Double-Take that provide protection by replication and fail over:

Security in 2004

Hmmm. The future in this area is not that rosy. It's probably going to get worse before it gets better. Not because Admins are doing a bad job. You guys are battling in the trenches to protect your domains. But malware coders are going to make our environment less than friendly.

This year will see more so called "blended threats". These nasties combine their malicious code with an unpatched security hole. These kinds of threats, like for instance the Blaster worm, unfortunately keep system and network admins that are tasked with security in reactive mode.

More breaches will undoubtedly cause more regulations that mandate higher levels of security. The problem is that these laws are usually written by politicians (supported by some industry experts) and are watered down by multiple compromises. The end result is no clear way to get yourself really protected, but very clear ways in which you will be punished when you suffer a breach. Caught between a rock and a hard place.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is the law that will be the start of companies seriously looking into infosecurity. This law was passed in response to the many "Enron-type" scandals of 2002. It does not directly address security, but what it mandates is that your CEO and CFO sign off on the integrity of your company's financials, and that forces your bosses to take a personal interest in security. It may very well happen that a similar law will come to be in 2004 which mandates upper-level management sign off on your organization's information security.

Many vendors will propose expensive hardware solutions, and most companies will not be able to make those kind of budgets available. Then MS will likely make a lot of progress in the area of security, however for the most of us Redmond's work will always be a bit too little, too late. A security expert predicted that new applications and platforms will be pirated and hacked before they even hit the shelves, and the people that are charged with securing their company domains are forced to continue racing to keep up with the bad guys. That is why Sunbelt is coming out with the Network Security Inspector: A World Class Vulnerability Scanner, affordably priced per admin.

Key Security Statistics

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has studied the online habits of 64,000+ Americans for more than three years. Recently they came out with some interesting numbers. Among the findings they list are dozens of different activities performed on the Internet. The bad news: Researching and downloading security patches did not show up at all as an activity consumers indulge in. This also means that you guys need to take a hard look at the security of your telecommuters. Here are the numbers:

  • 126,000,000 Number of Americans who use the Internet daily. That's 63% of all adult Americans
  • 34,000,000 Number of Americans who have done banking online
  • 36,000,000 Number of Americans who have downloaded music files
  • 52,000,000 Number of Americans who have used instant messaging
And then some specific security related stats:
  • 115 new security alerts in the last 30 days
  • CERT reports that over 95% of all network security breaches are the result of known vulnerabilities. Scan your network regularly to ensure that you are protected from the latest exploits.
Source of the report at PewInternet:

Brand new Security Scanner SNSI:

Disabling The Shutdown Event Tracker In WinXP

The Shutdown Event Tracker is a feature new to both WinXP Professional and Windows 2003 Server. Whenever an admin signals a shutdown of the computer -- whether from the local console or remotely through a Remote Desktop session -- the admin is prompted for some descriptive information about why the system was shut down. This feature can be useful during audits, but not so much when you are setting the machine up. Here's how:


Five No Charge SBS CALs From Your Friends At Redmond

In response to the Windows SharePoint Services and Windows Small Business Server 2003 installation issue, Microsoft is providing all Windows Small Business Server 2003 (standard and premium edition) customers the ability to order five free CALs. The offer will be available from January 5, 2004, through February 5, 2004, so act now.

It's kind of a "making amends" to SBS users after embarrassing problems with Windows SharePoint Services blocking users during installation of Small Business Server. Harry Brelsford, an author and consultant specializing in Small Business Server, credits Microsoft for acknowledging pain and suffering among customers over the glitch. "Microsoft has historically had a difficult time making these types of admissions," Brelsford said. "I see this SBS 2003 CAL offer and dialog as a sign of Microsoft maturity. It's greatly welcomed and will go a long way towards building trust around SBS 2003."

All Windows Small Business Server 2003 customers are eligible, including those who licensed the product prior to January 5, 2004. All product types, including Retail, Open, and OEM SKUs, are eligible. To qualify, customers must provide a valid Windows Small Business Server 2003 product ID. Customers are eligible for one 5-pack CAL for each licensed copy of Windows Small Business Server 2003. Customers can choose either user or device CALs. To order your five free CALs, complete the order form:

Short Takes from the CES

The Consumer Electronics Show this week is actually interesting.

I'm sorry I can't go. Microsoft discussed their TV Foundation Edition 1.5 software for network operators. HUH? Whazzat? I was not aware that Redmond was creating software for TV networks, but they are. This software is a key component of MS-TV. What this division does is creating client/server software aimed at enabling cable and satellite operators to create interactive digital TV services. The new stuff MS announced has integrated support for high-def television and digital video recording. An example of this technology would be stuff that lets consumers find video-on-demand movies they might be interested in.

Also, the Smart Watches running on Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) we have been waiting for since the last Comdex 2002 are now finally available. You have to have a MSN subscription ($59/yr) but it looks cool. The gear features personal messages and reminders, news, weather and financial information, personalized content, multiple watch faces and automatic time-zone adjustment. You can configure and personalize your watch at:

Check the Product Of The Week section below for more detail.

And then MS announced extensions to their Media Center PC. The upshot is that you can get both wired/wireless links from these MCPC's to your TV's, anywhere in the house. Pretty cool stuff actually and here is a PDF that explains this in much more detail (848 K):


Best Selling Tools In The Year 2003

You all want to know what the other admins actually use for the day-to-day management of their networks and servers. I regularly give you the monthly Top 10, but here is the Top 10 for the whole year of 2003, With product name and the category it sits in (they are sorted in total dollar volume sales).

  1. Double-Take: High Availability (Downtime Prevention)
  2. iHateSpam Server: Anti-Spam
  3. UpdateExpert: Patch Management
  4. ScriptLogic: Logon Scripting / User Management
  5. Sunbelt Remote Admin: Remote Control
  6. Retina: Vulnerability Scanning
  7. iHateSpam Client: Anti-Spam
  8. SecureIIS: Web Server protection
  9. LanHound: Network Packet Analysis
  10. Sunbelt Network Security Inspector: Vulnerability Scanning
And you can find them all HERE:

Vulnerability Management Strengthens IT Security

The Yankee Group has issued a report recommending Vulnerability Management Services (VMS) to provide security officers and IT Directors a proactive program of continual enhancements to their security profile. The basic conclusions of the Yankee report are as follows:

  1. Enterprise security teams are overwhelmed with the volume of security information from intrusion detection systems (IDSs) and patch notifications from vendors.
  2. Security officers must implement process improvements to raise the security profile of their network, but they also must manage a lean operating budget that precludes them from sending in security experts to rectify the problem.
  3. There are significant challenges in identifying vulnerabilities in their network infrastructure and in tuning network security products for optimal efficiency and protection.
  4. A VMS reduces many vulnerabilities to a manageable set of IT actions.
"Security teams that once reacted to security incidents now are proactively addressing network security throughout the life cycle from vulnerability discovery all the way to confirmation of a deployed correction," says Eric Ogren, Yankee Group Security Solutions & Services senior analyst. See Tech Briefing articles in this newsletter for affordable solutions.

Panda Software Previews New Web-based Antivirus

Panda Software announced a preview program for its new Panda WebAdmin Antivirus (Powered by Secure Resolutions) in the USA. This is a new solution offered jointly by Panda Software and Secure Resolutions to protect computer systems and networks against malicious code that can be managed securely and remotely via the Internet.

The powerful management functionalities incorporated in WebAdmin Antivirus allows companies to protect their IT infrastructure with the latest antivirus technology within minutes. Its means that users of this new Panda Software product can install and update the antivirus protection even on computers that are not connected to the corporate network or those without an Internet connection.

"I have totally switched my entire LAN to Panda WebAdmin Antivirus exclusively because of its reliability. I will be recommending your product to our corporate IT people, who support 90,000 computers. Moreover, I've installed it on my parents home computer That is how strongly I feel about the product," said Robert Haney, IT Manager, TYCO Intl. Panda WebAdmin Antivirus can be installed in two different ways:

  • Through an automatically generated URL.
    The Panda Software server creates an Internet address that network users can connect to in order to download and install the antivirus software on their computers automatically. This type of installation allows antivirus protection to be deployed even to laptop computers that only occasionally connect to the corporate network.
  • Through remote deployment.
    If the system administrator selects this option, they can install the antivirus on every computer on the network (including machines without an Internet connection) through an Active X control.
More at the Panda website:

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

  • SpeedGuide.net is one of the leading Broadband related sites on the Net, as well as a popular source of information on improving PC performance.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040112FA-SpeedGuide
  • Silly link of the week: If for some reason you can't laugh about mad cow disease, I suggest that you may want to ignore this link:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040112FA-MadCow
  • Bizarre IT stories to help you loosen up after the holiday season.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040112FA-Bizarre_IT_Stories
  • A really cool RSS reader that nicely integrates with Outlook:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040112FA-Intravnews
  • This is definitely nothing I want on my tombstone.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040112FA-Tombstone
  • You're probably wondering what to do with that old '486 you're storing in the closet. Wonder no more: Here's the perfect way to get more use out of it.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040112FA-Old_486
  • The latest version of Sony's "Qrio" robot can actually run like a human. Here's the video. Extremely interesting. Next week some more!

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040112FA-Qrio

    The First Real Dick Tracy Watch

    The first Smart Watch running on SPOT technology is out at retail. For 200 bucks you get Stocks, news, personal messages, and more, delivered wirelessly to your watch. One of the first devices to use MSN Direct, a wireless subscription service. It automatically updates to the correct local time when you travel, and you get customizable data channels and watch faces. It also syncs up with your Outlook calendar. I like. I want. I bought one. Here at Amazon: