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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Oct 11, 2004 (Vol. 9, #40 - Issue #496)
Microsoft Writes Back To W2Knews
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • The Six Secrets Of Highly Secure Organizations
  2. ADMIN TOOLBOX
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. TECH BRIEFING
    • Microsoft Just Released A Server-wide ASP.NET Fix
    • A New Wireless Revolution: Enter The WiMAX Zone
    • AutoPilot: Must Have For Any Power User
    • W2Knews and TechRepublic Join Hands
    • Coincidence Or.... ?
    • Checklist: Exchange Goes Down. What Do You Do?
  4. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • Microsoft Writes Back To W2Knews
    • House OKs Anti-spyware Bill / Gates Makes Noise Too
    • Redmond Prepares Linux Killer
  5. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • 75% Of Big Companies Have Anti-Spam Tools
    • Cybercrime Gang Shootouts... On Your PC
  6. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  7. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • SNSI Gets 4 Stars From Win IT Pro Mag!
  SPONSOR: Sarbanes-Oxley Is Quickly Hitting IT -- Are You Ready?
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  EDITORS CORNER

The Six Secrets Of Highly Secure Organizations

CIO Magazine recently did a survey together with PriceWaterhouse. It was a biiiig survey: 8,100 respondents from 62 countries. They tabulated the whole thing and distilled the successful actions that made organizations more secure than others. I'm grabbing just the six most important points:

  1. Spend 14% of your IT budget on security
  2. Separate Information Security from IT and merge it with physical security under CSO
  3. Conduct very regular penetration tests/security audits
  4. Prioritize and classify threats and vulnerabilities
  5. Define your overall security architecture
  6. Establish a quarterly review process, with metrics to measure your security's effectiveness.
Points 3 and 4 you can do with SNSI. It just got 4 stars(!) from Windows IT Pro Mag, and is still only $1,495. SNSI checks for well over 3,000 vulnerabilities. Its next closest competitor only checks for 300 (mostly Unix) holes. False sense of security anyone? We have a link to this brand new review here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011ED-SNSI

The last SunPoll was interesting: "The market gives us spam and spam-blocking software. The government gives us the CAN-SPAM act. Which has been more effective?" Your answers were:

  • The Market 94.66%
  • The Government 5.33%
The new SunPoll: "Is there a reason to buy a software firewall now that SP 2 has one built-in?" Vote here, rightmost column.
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011ED-SunPoll

I have been a bit quiet about RSS recently, but that hasn't stopped RSS spreading like wildfire. Microsoft Research recently added RSS feeds and they are definitely my fave RSS feed for this month. Here are their newsletter and RSS Feeds!
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011ED-RSS

Quotes of the week:
"The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed'." -- unknown
"I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I'm doing." -- unknown

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

  ADMIN TOOLBOX

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

  TECH BRIEFING

Microsoft Just Released A Server-wide ASP.NET Fix

The install is quick and easy. It will add an http module to the GAC and add a reference to it in machine.config. No reboot is required and it's almost always less than 10 seconds to install. Since there is a change to machine.config, your In Process session variables will be lost during the install but other than that it's virtually seamless. It will update all version of ASP.NET installed on the server. As with the other fix, it should be installed on all operating systems.
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011TB-Fix

A New Wireless Revolution: Enter The WiMAX Zone

A new revolution is coming down the pike: WiMAX. Why would you want WiMAX? Well, they chose the name correctly, as it's Wi-Fi "to the max". This new standard makes Wi-Fi look puny: 25x broadband speed (75Mbps), and a maximum range of a whopping 30 miles. (Your mileage may vary) It goes through walls, trees, clouds and does not need line of sight. But it isn't long distance Wi-Fi. The two standards are not compatible, so that means completely new hardware. If you want to use both you'd need a WAP that supports both. The official name of this one is 802.16 and it operates below 11GHz. You can pretty much expect a second WiMax wave starting in 2006, leading to a Billion dollar market in 2008.

Is this tested technology? Yes, some of the big phone companies in Europe are testing this and some wireless service providers have WiMax networks up in New Your City and Montana. But it's "fixed" to start with, mobile will come a lot later. Expect this to compete with current Wi-Fi hotspots, but now you'll see a whole city being covered with just a few of these access points, think 2007. Don't think it's the only new standard though. There are other people out there pushing other stuff. But WiMAX is backed by Intel, and it has my endorsement too [grin].

AutoPilot: Must Have For Any Power User

Have a look at what Tom Shinder just sent me! "Hi Stu, just wanted to let you know that I am playing with a trial version of Autopilot. I do a lot of parallel stuff, like run four virtual machines, convert A/V files, and run Word and Outlook at the same time. Before installing Autopilot, I found that Word was pokey, the VMs would take forever to do what I wanted them to do, and the AV conversions would break. With Autopilot installed, everything works smoothly, even when the processor is pegged at 100% for hours at time. Autopilot is a must have for any power user. Thanks!"

This is exactly the environment that AutoPilot was designed to help, so if you have machines like this, try it out! Here is where you get it:

AutoPilot for XP:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011TB-AutoPilotXP

AutoPilot Enterprise:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011TB-AutoPilot

W2Knews and TechRepublic Join Hands

W2Knews is pleased to announce a new partnership with TechRepublic. TechRepublic is known for their grassroots approach to solving today's technology challenges with their award-winning content. Thousands of technology professionals turn to TechRepublic every day for answers to their most challenging IT problems. Have a look at the products you can get, sometimes with a 20%-45% discount as a W2Knews subscriber:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011TB-TechRepublic

Coincidence Or.... ?

W2Knews subscriber Rick Boyer sent this: "Here's something which I found amusing; I was checking out an article on another tech site which included the following:

- Determining if you have a valid product ID -
Hopefully you already know if you're dealing with a pirated copy of XP. But if you're unsure, a quick way to tell is to install Service Pack 1. Shortly after releasing Windows XP, Microsoft realized that most pirated XP installations were using two specific VLKs, the most popular of which begins with "FCKGW." These VLKs produce product IDs that match either XXXXX-640-0000356-23XXX or XXXXX-640-2001765-23XXX, where X is any number...

FCKGW?! Do you suppose this might be a political shot from someone at Redmond? Maybe just my warped sense of humor!"

Checklist: Exchange Goes Down. What Do You Do?

Any Exchange admin worth their salt knows that failed Exchange servers happen - and at the worst possible times. So what can you do to minimize the pain involved in restoring messaging data? One key is having good diagnostic and recovery tools. Read about some essentials in this diagnostic checklist from SearchExchange.com. Free registration may be required.
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011TB-Checklist

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

Microsoft Writes Back To W2Knews

Perhaps you remember the article where I wrote that the new Exchange Best Practices Analyzer flunked on Small Business Server. Microsoft wrote back:

"I'm the development lead of this project and I just wanted to respond to your item. The problem with the article on IFS was identified fairly quickly and an update was published the same day. We did test the product against SBS prior to shipping but we have discovered that some of the rules were not appropriate for such a deployment (there are also things we are not doing correctly on a regular Exchange single server deployment).

"One of the most powerful features of the tool is our ability to update the rules and have them get automatically downloaded to everyone as we publish these updates (similar to how virus scanners update their signature files). We have already posted one update, and another is due out some time next week. We will likely be posting these every couple of weeks, at least initially. As long as the machine ExBPA is running on has Internet connectivity and the auto-download feature has not been disabled, it should be able to pick these up on startup.

"As far as feedback goes, there are two main channels that we have provided: there is a feedback alias - [email protected]crosoft.com - that you can send bugs and feature requests to. A tools newsgroup has also been created (microsoft.public.exchange.tools) and you can post such issues there. We have created a home page that contains all the various links to information about Exchange, and there is a link in the tool itself that will navigate to this page. There is a link to the newsgroup on this page. The feedback alias is not as well published and I will check into making that more visible as well.

"We apologize for the problems you have encountered running this tool and I encourage you and everyone who may read this to keep running it and help us make it better for everyone by sending us your feedback. Yes, we are listening. Thanks."

-- Jon Avner, Exchange Support Tools Development Lead

House OKs Anti-spyware Bill / Gates Makes Noise Too

There are two chronic problems with spyware:

  1. There is BIG money in it, as opposed to viruses.
  2. It's a chess game, and the bad guys have white.
Ballmer stating that: "The task of trying to stay one step ahead of virus writers and hackers will be a never-ending battle" is good example of "spin". Microsoft will ALWAYS be one step behind the producers of malware, per definition.

The government is trying to handle this too. Hmmm. The U.S. cybersecurity czar Amit Yoran resigned abruptly last week because of the red tape and the fact he could not get stuff done fast enough. This does not bode well for anything coming from Washington. You're on your own, better act upon it.

The House this week overwhelmingly (399 to 1) passed an anti-spyware bill that would outlaw surreptitious use of online eavesdropping code. The cutesy name of the thing "Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act, or SPY ACT" tried to prohibit the deceptive distribution or use of programs that would give an authorized third party control over a computer or gather information without the user's consent. The house thinks the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) should be the enforcer of the SPY ACT which is planned to supersede all state anti-spyware legislation.

In its current form, the SPY ACT will not make a difference to outfits that deliver online security, diagnostics or technical support. It also excludes code that at startup gets authenticated or pulls automatic updates from a remote server, and tracking cookies are also excluded. Of course any and all government spooks are allowed to continue to use their own spyware.

It so happens that there is a similar bill in the senate with an even more terminally cute name: "Software Principles Yielding Better Levels Of Consumer Knowledge" You can put the acronym together yourself. These two bills would have to be merged and then signed by the President. And if you ask my opinion, its effectiveness would be very similar to the Can Spam Act.

Bill Gates also started to make noise about subscription-based, Microsoft-developed spyware last week. BillyG is the VERY LAST person I would trust to do this right. I was laughing my a$$ off that he had been infected with spyware. First he creates an OS full of holes, demonstrating a glaring inability to assume the correct security mindset, and then he complains about spyware and comments he "needs to jump in". Better bring your scuba gear Billy, 'cus yoah a$$ is gonna sink! It reminds me of the following remark some one made: "The Russian mafia is also putting resources together in the fight against organized crime...." [grin]

Redmond Prepares Linux Killer

The TechWorld site has an interesting article. They started with: "Microsoft prepares to kill Linux with different Windows flavours". And continued with... "role-based variations of the operating system will be cheaper and more secure". The link is here if you want to read more:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011RN-Redmond

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

75% Of Big Companies Have Anti-Spam Tools

The Society for Information Management recently polled close to 250 senior IT executives from its North America membership. Of the big ones, (more than $1 billion in revenues) 75% have acquired antispam tools. Smaller outfits seem to do well too: 70% have solutions in place. And for good reason: last month 3 out of 4 emails were spam. The last SunPoll confirms this. But just anti-spam is not cutting it anymore.

It's time to start thinking about integrated solutions for message security. Microsoft calls it "message hygiene" but I just don't like that term, in my book it's incorrect. Messaging SECURITY is what we need: no spam, no virus, filtered content, disclaimers, the works and all of it in one integrated and affordable package. And the new version of iHateSpam for Exchange is all that and more. It's expected in a few months, and if you license it (with maintenance) before V2.0 comes out, you will be able to get the AV option at a nominal fee. iHateSpam for Exchange has won the most prestigious Reader's Choice award two years in a row now, and is the best selling anti-spam solution for Exchange. Try it out for 30 spam-free days here:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011TP-iHateSpam

Cybercrime Gang Shootouts... On Your PC

As you know, organized cybercrime is now fully engaged in the creation of spyware/malware. There are rival gangs and they are now attacking each other. There is a new piece of malware out there called Downloader.Lunii. When a user fires it up, it attempts to delete processes and files of popular adware programs like Powerscan and BargainBuddy.

The problem is that little Lunii is not so friendly as it may seem. Just like other trojans, it also changes Windows configs and tries to download files from a remote server. Yikes. Trojans as a category do not try and replicate themselves from one machine another, but they sit there quietly in the background, do their best to invisible and provide a backdoor into your domains.

  FAVE LINKS

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

  PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

SNSI Gets 4 Stars From Win IT Pro Mag!

They said: "A fairly robust and user-friendly scanner; good for those who are concerned with the learning curve." It scans for more than 3,000 known holes, and is still only $1,495. Its next closest competitor only checks for 300 (mostly Unix) holes. False sense of security anyone? Not with SNSI! Check the eval here:

http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=041011PW-SNSI