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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Aug 16, 2004 (Vol. 9, #32 - Issue #488)
Disaster Recovery Gets Real In Florida
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • Disaster Recovery Gets Real In Florida
    • It's Official: The Spam Law Does Not Work
    • See For Yourself: "A Hummer For The Price Of A Hyundai"
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • OK, WinXP SP2 Is Here. What Now?
    • Migrated to Exchange? How Are Your Peers Doing?
    • Group Policy 101
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • MS Allows You To Block SP2
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • The Real Cost Of Spam Filtering
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • Loser Product Of The Year: SmartWatch
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  EDITORS CORNER

Disaster Recovery Gets Real In Florida

Hurricane Charlie is heading straight for us. Of course we have Double-Take replicating critical stuff to a backup site in Texas. At the moment that I write this (Friday the thirteenth, [grin]) we have tested our battery backup systems, generators and fail-over procedures since this bad boy is supposed to hit us in 9 hours. If you read this, our systems have kept up thus far. We're expecting local power outages so if next week you are having trouble reaching us, local authorities will be scrambling to get power back up. I will keep you up to date about how things went in our next issue, perhaps even via a special Stu's News next week!

It's Official: The Spam Law Does Not Work

The Wall Street Journal announced it last week. They quoted a new study by Consumer Reports. They surveyed more than 2,000 email users and found that 47% said they were receiving more junk email three months after CAN-SPAM went into effect. The respondents also said that at least half the email they receive is spam, and the study concludes that spam volume has overtaken that of legitimate email. Another interesting data point is that 86% of spam comes from the U.S (!). The Radicati Group projects the volume of spam in Europe will grow at an average rate of 54% over the next four years, and by 2008, 71% of all e-mail in Europe will be spam.

The FTC was required by the new law to look at a "Do Not Email" list, but as most of us know, they declined to set this up as it might make matters worse instead. Consumer Reports recommends using a closely guarded email address for friends and family, and use throwaway email addresses for everything else. Obviously they have not taken the commercial email users in mind, as both of these options are not viable.

If you want to see how to stop unwanted e-mail on your Exchange V5.5, 2003 and 2003 servers, check iHateSpam for Exchange. Because the reality is that unwanted e-mail is not just a nuisance, it's a time-and-money blackhole. The constant inflow of junk email as well as worms and trojans are a major concern and cost for many organizations. The Intelligent Messaging Filter in E2K3 is just not cutting it for professional organizations, so try iHateSpam for 30 days. Version 2.0 will have a plug-in architecture that allows you to add modules for anti-virus, content filtering, content auditing, disclaimers, server-based replies and more cool stuff I cannot talk about yet [grin].
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816ED-iHateSpam

See For Yourself: "A Hummer For The Price Of A Hyundai"

Plug this webcast in your calendar, it will show you in 30 minutes why the Sunbelt Network Security Inspector (SNSI): Version 1.5 is a revolution in security scanning. Join us for a look at SNSI, a new low-cost, quick-install, fast-result vulnerability scanner. We'll go over new features in Version 1.5 that include multi-platform support, IP scanning, port scanning and more!

When: Tuesday, Aug 17, 2004 1:00 PM (ET)
Call in at the numbers below at enter code 104764:
800-416-4956 USA
888-633-2105 Canada
302-709-8433 International
Meeting URL:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816ED-SNSI

Quotes of the Week:
"Dog for sale: Eats lots and is fond of children."
"There is very little future in being right when your boss is wrong."

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

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  TECH BRIEFING

OK, WinXP SP2 Is Here. What Now?

I'll split this article out in two sections. First is a report from an adventurous soul that lives on "edge" on occasion. He decided to download the SP2 for XP and apply it to a couple of his systems. Second are some articles at ZDnet and SearchWin2000 on the strategies to take. Here are some anecdotal early observations on SP2:

  1. The system boot up time seems faster (both on a desktop and laptop (does this mean that secure code can be faster:))
  2. Network connectivity through a third party personal firewall is odd. Both systems have personal firewalls and that was reset in some aspects (Internet Explorer in both cases was removed from the save list and in one case I had to allow DHCP discover packets - odd in that they worked before)
  3. My wireless NIC now has a nice little antenna. I found this on my laptop cute:) but also useful to know which NIC I am using.
  4. Pop up blocker works but can be a nuisance for some sites (OWA, other Web enabled mail).
  5. Nothing broke
  6. Battery life time on my portable Centrino also seems to have been enhanced. Now shows up as a full 4 hours when initially started up but seems to drain very slowly for the most part.
  7. Initial impression - get it and install it if you have standard apps. (Name of the innocent and guilty protected).
My take on it is simple. Create a testbed with your current apps running. Take a server, a desktop, a laptop and install SP2. Have it run for 2 weeks and then decide to roll it out into your organization. Make sure that users do not download and install SP2 on their own! You can block this with a new tool that MS has just released. See the NT/2000 section below. The firewall may very well break existing apps so make sure you have your configurations in place, and be able to remote into that box and fix stuff. Here is MS SP2 Central:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816TB-XPSP2

Security company F-Secure has reverse-engineered SP2, a process the company compares to taking apart a virus or worm to see how it functions, and the company's initial reaction is very positive. "They have implemented it very well, especially the stack protection and the memory protection. They really did it right this time. We won't be seeing outbreaks like Sasser. It will be hard to attack Windows XP via automated network worms," said Mikko Hyppönen, director of antivirus research at F-Secure. "If we had a worm like Sasser again, it would only hit users with earlier versions such as Windows 2000 or those who hadn't patched Windows XP," he said. More at ZDNet in the UK:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816TB-SP_Reverse_Eng

Getting a copy of Windows XP SP2 last week was a daunting task. But if you?ve taken the trouble to download it, when you should deploy it? Rod Trent, Editor, myITforum.com, walks you through some options to consider and offers some strategies for dealing with potential application incompatibility problems. (Registration may be required)
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816TB-SP2_Deploy

Need to know how your peers are dealing with XP SP2? Join our new WinXPSP2 support forum:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816TB-SP2_Forum

Migrated to Exchange? How Are Your Peers Doing?

Sunbelt Software and the Yankee Group have a new type of survey for you. This survey is geared toward Exchange 2000 and Exchange 2003 users only. We are especially interested in users who moved from Novell GroupWise, Lotus Notes/Domino, or other non-MS platforms... We'll report back how everyone is doing! This is a 13-question point-and-click survey that should take you less than 2 minutes. Thanks for your participation!
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816TB-Exchange_2004

Group Policy 101

This guide introduces you to how Group Policy works, explains best practices and pitfalls to avoid and provides troubleshooting help and advice. You'll find Group Policy articles, tutorials, tips, tools, white papers, expert advice and more to pump up your Group Policy know-how quickly at SearchWin2000.
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816TB-Group_Policy_101

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

MS Allows You To Block SP2

Although MS recommends that you deploy SP2 for security, they also just released a tool that allows you to block automatic updates. This is only available for 4 months, so you have to grab this one soon! Here is what they say:

"While recognizing the security benefits of Windows XP SP2, some organizations have requested the ability to temporarily disable delivery of this update via AU and WU. These organizations have populations of PCs, upon which they have enabled Automatic Updates. This is done to ensure that these PCs receive all critical security updates. Since SP2 will start to be delivered to PCs running Windows XP or Windows XP with SP1 via AU starting on August 16, these customers would like to temporarily block the delivery of SP2 in order to provide additional time for validation and testing of the update. In response to these requests, Microsoft is providing the following guidance, resources, and communication vehicles to meet the needs of these customers.

"Please note that the mechanism to temporarily disable delivery of Windows XP SP2 will be available for a period of 120 days (4 months) from August 16. At the end of this period, Windows XP SP2 will be delivered to all Windows XP and Windows XP Service Pack 1 systems."

Grab it over here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816RN-Block_SP2

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

The Real Cost Of Spam Filtering

Sometimes system admins look at the initial cost of a spam filter, but there is another thing you need to take into account, especially when you are dealing with larger organizations. Your total cost of ownership on any environment depends on a number of factors, but administration and support account for the lion's share. These costs are often higher for Linux-based tools than for windows, because Linux is less integrated and lacks mature admin tools. Your choice of a platform for spam filtering needs to take this into account. So the initial cost for a spam filter are really not the most important thing to look at. How much time are you going to spend managing it, and how much time are your end-users going to lose with other solutions. Do the actual math and you'll see that iHateSpam for Exchange becomes a -really- good choice. Here is the pie chart in TXT format:

Administration, Development, Support: 50-70%
Server Hardware: 12-15%
Client Hardware: 10-12%
Software: 8-10%
Communications: 5-7%
Other: 3-5%

Source: InfoWorld 08.02.04, quoting IDC that amalgamated seven different studies associated with various OSen, including Linux, during a five-year period. "

Evaluate iHateSpam Server for 30 days for free here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040816TP-iHateSpam

  FAVE LINKS

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

  PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

Loser Product Of The Year: SmartWatch

OK, I'll be the first one to admit it. I bought one, OK? But this product was -not- ready for prime time yet and MS's SPOT technology did not cut it. It's a true MS V1.0 for sure. Mine fell on the floor after one day, I sent it back to Fossil for replacement AND I NEVER GOT A NEW WATCH BACK FROM THEM. Still waiting...

They are supposed to do wireless news, instant messaging, and reminders. After configuring the device via the MS website it kinda worked when it could find signal, which was not always. It is nice to have your Outlook Calendar synched up via radio, but it wasn't reliable. The batteries last only a few days, and the interface was clunky. If you travel for more than 50 miles or so, you need to change your area via the MSNDirect website to continue to get relevant data. PC World said this: These watches are indeed a miracle of miniaturization: "Rarely have so many hassles been packed into devices this small" [grin]