Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Jan 10, 2005 (Vol. 10, #2 - Issue #507)
Redmond: Here's New Security Tools
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- CES 2005: New Gadgets
- Redmond: Here's New Security Tools
- ADMIN TOOLBOX
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- TECH BRIEFING
- Ten Giggles From Geekville
- Attacks On Microsoft WINS Hole Raise Alarms
- Industry Quotable about Linux Liability
- Hot IT Skeelz For 2005
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- More On New Security Tools
- Coming Tuesday: 3 Patches Expected
- Pretty Cool Free PowerPoint Add-In: MS-Producer
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- 2004: The Year Cyber-Crime Blossomed
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
- Just What Every Geek Needs... How To Break Your House!
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CES 2005: New Gadgets
It's Geek Heaven! The new Computer Electronics Show has it all,
and there are a bunch of new goodies announced that a lot of
us will not be able to resist... again. I found a page at PC
World that has pictures of some of the novelty stuff they picked
as worth mentioning. Here goes:
Gates skipped his usual keynote address, but instead he did a
new-ish talk show approach. The "demo-effect" was in full force
(stuff not working) and there were more announcements of partnerships than actual new tools. Oh, and your trusted brands 'Pocket
PC' and 'Smartphone' will be phased out and replaced with the
more bland 'Windows Mobile'. The video would be a boring 90
minutes, so a faster way to get updated is just read the MS
press release over here:
Redmond: Here's New Security Tools
Well, it was all over the news these last two days. As expected,
they released the antispyware beta that is based on their recent
acquisition of GIANT Company. It looks (of course) a lot like the
GIANT product, will get daily updates and expires in July. They
are still determining pricing. Merrill Lynch expects Redmond will
start charging for the thing after July 31. More surprising was the
fact they came out at the same time with some sort of "malicious
software removal tool". It will get monthly (second Tuesday) updates.
Note they carefully do not call it antivirus. MS states it is not
designed to be a substitute for full anti-virus software. They
position it as an addition to traditional antivirus solutions to
provide more complete protection. This new code has the technology
that Redmond gained through their acquisition of GeCAD Software in
2003. It will be available as a download beginning January 11, 2005
for WinXP, and later in the year for W2K and W2K3, and can update
To me, it looks like they are doing what they have for years now,
adding low-end "band-aid" tools and leaving the high-end to their
partners. I'm sure their main concern is the two-thirds of consumers
out there that run their PC's without protection of any kind.
As they well should. More detail about this in the NT/2000 Section.
There is a lively discussion about it on the NTSYSADMIN list:
Notable: One of our technicians here showed me his iPod running...
LINUX!! It has been ported to the iPod and I saw it "with me very
own eyes". Pretty darn cool indeed, but not for the faint of heart.
Here is the link:
Quote Of The Week:
Civilization is the encouragement of differences. Civilization thus
becomes a synonym of democracy. Force, violence, pressure, or compulsion
with a view to conformity, is both uncivilized and undemocratic."
-- Mahatma Gandhi
UNDO Dept: The data I mentioned about the DoNotCall List for cell
phones was not correct, it basically was a hoax and I fell for it ;-)
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
Ten Giggles From Geekville
Here are The Top 10 missing links of 2004. You'll laugh, you'll
cry, you'll recoil and go "Ewww!" -- these are the wackiest IT
stories of 2004. OK, so you won't cry, but you will go "Ewww!"
more than once. At the SearchSmalBizIT site:
Attacks On Microsoft WINS Hole Raise Alarms
ComputerWorld reports that Internet security monitoring groups
are warning Windows users about new Internet attacks aimed at
a Windows Internet Naming Service vulnerability that was reported
and patched by Microsoft in December. Traffic looking for this
hole has gone up in December. Patch it !! Here is the story:
Industry Quotable about Linux Liability
"The minute a corporation gets sued, it loses. A corporate Linux
or open source user that lacks indemnification and product warranty
will expend its own time, money and resources fighting legal action.
In addition to the potential monetary costs associated with protracted
litigation, a corporation risks incalculable loss to its reputation,
which could deter existing and prospective customers from signing
on new business." -- Laura DiDio, a senior analyst, application
infrastructure and software platforms at The Yankee Group.
My take on it? If you use Linux, make sure your vendor indemnifies
you in case of legal hassles!
Hot IT Skeelz For 2005
Security, Web services and Linux jobs continue to dominate the IT
help wanted ads and are projected to remain among the hottest skill
and certification areas in 2005, according to research firms that
specialize in tracking skills and certifications.
Researchers said companies continue to invest in security-related
projects while looking to eliminate aging legacy systems, and are
exploring less expensive, newer platforms such as Linux.
A small drop off in offshore outsourcing projects and an increase
in competition for IT consulting talent have contributed to a reversal
in declining premium pay tied to IT skills. Story at SearchVB News:
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
More On New Security Tools
The new virus-removal product, updated monthly, could very well be
the first step to release a later full-blown subscription-based
antivirus software product. Like mentioned in the Editor's Corner,
Redmond deliberately positions it as "not anti-virus" and their new
tool will not prevent computer infections. It is not intended to
replace traditional AV software, from the likes of McAfee or Symantec.
However, Microsoft's VP of Security Business and Technology Unit,
Rich Kaplan, commented that they have plans to sell their own AV
software somewhere down the road. The press reported that Symantec
management recently indicated it does not believe Microsoft's
entrance into the marketplace will have any financial impact on
its fiscal 2006 results. This new MS-product could very well be
a combo AV-Antispyware that is currently code named "A1".
Redmond has been more cautious these last few years as it slowly moves
to compete against its own partners. Antitrust regulators in Europe
last year fined Microsoft about U.S. $613 million over charges that
Redmond abused its software monopoly. More over, they are operating
under restrictions from the antitrust settlement with the Bush
administration until 2007.
Some AV companies warned their shareholders about potential fallout
as Redmond enters the market. For example, McAfee stated in its
recent annual report that their own AV products could become "obsolete
and unmarketable" if Microsoft were to include antivirus protection
in the OS.
An executive from Symantec said that MS's success as an AV company
was not guaranteed, and that the leading security outfits have skilled
researchers and decades of experience which may translate in trust
with end-users. They have a point of course. The average user will
continue to ask questions like these: "Why first build an OS that
allows all these viruses and spyware, and then start charging
money to fix it?"
There is more about Microsoft's security plans though. They are
planning real-time security technologies, originally to be included
with Longhorn but now probably released earlier. Likely to be the
first is a technology that is best described as behavioral blocking.
Nothing new at that, there are products out that do this already,
but this seems to be invented inside Redmond. Could be a separate
download like the two we just got, and it would be included in WinXP
SP3. More about A1 at the Microsoft-Watch site, and at BetaNews:
Coming Tuesday: 3 Patches Expected
As an advance warning, next Tuesday there will be three patches
of which the greatest maximum severity rating is Critical, and
may need a reboot. Here's the official notification:
Pretty Cool Free PowerPoint Add-In: MS-Producer
You can combine audio, video, pictures and PP-slides into one
presentation/show which you can play in any browser: pretty cool!
This is how MS describes it: "Microsoft Producer 2003 for PowerPoint
2003 is the next release of this very popular add-in for PowerPoint
2003 and PowerPoint 2002. Producer 2003 provides users with many
powerful new features that make it easier to synchronize audio,
video, slides, and images to create engaging and effective rich-
media presentations. Producer 2003 gives content and media
professionals, as well as everyday PowerPoint users a host of
new content authoring features". Get it here (no cost):
THIRD PARTY NEWS
2004: The Year Cyber-Crime Blossomed
2004 is going down in history as the year where cyber-crime migrated
from testosterone-driven teenage hackers to pro criminals making an
easy buck on the net instead of using physical violence. Last year
showed dramatic increases in many cyber-crime areas: worms, viruses,
spyware, spam, phishing, and several forms of on-line extortion.
Sophos (a well known AV-vendor) identified more than 10,000 new
viruses, an increase of more than 50% over 2003. The relatively
recent Anti-Phishing Working Group sent a press release that the
number of phishing attacks increased by 1,200% from December 2003
to June 2004 and continues to grow at 30% per month. PCs owned by
consumers are being zombie-fied by the thousands, spyware sits on
well over 60% of consumer PC's and 25% of business machines.
Spam will likely be more than 90% of all email in 2005. And to make
all the bad news more acute, modified version of worms now appear
in days instead of months. It simply is not pretty out there, and
getting worse. You do need a comprehensive layered security
defense for your organization. Using just one AV engine is often
not enough. Same for vulnerability scanners. It does not hurt (and
is more and more a necessity) to use two scanners as well. SNSI is
an affordable, comprehensive, and military-strength security scanner
with very regular updates of the database. It's a tool you cannot
afford not to run. There are traveling licenses available. Recently,
Windows IT Pro Mag gave SNSI a 4-star rating!
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- These are very interesting Before/After pictures of the tsunami
- And talking about Tsunamis, here is an August, 2004 article from a
scientist who has slammed the inaction about a volcano in the Atlantic:
- Info, pics and a 6meg .MOV file of the new Bat-mobile from the new Batman
movie, due for release later this year. Awesome looking vehicle!
- The fave link I had last time about the flashlight got me quite a
few remarks about better ones. Here is a discussion about them, and
- Need to remember MANY passwords? Lost access to your photographic
memory? Open Source "Password Safe" comes to the rescue:
- Plan to offer a safe, secure, free WiFi Hotspot? Download the ISO,
burn your CD, fire it up, config and... voila!
- This is awesome protection against laptop theft... slice anyone?
- Fossil has finally released their 'Wrist PDA' watch based on the Palm
OS. But buyer beware: About a year ago I bought the new MS Smartwatch
from Fossil, it broke, I called and was told to send it back, and
I NEVER RECEIVED A NEW WATCH. Not yet anyway, and it's about 7
months I have been waiting. Here you go... at your own risk:
- And to end off, some links to gags, videos and some cool pics:
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Just What Every Geek Needs... How To Break Your House!
This could be trouble. [grin] But it sounds like fun. Here is
their description: Home Hacking Projects for Geeks presents a
wide range of projects from automating of light switches, to
building home theaters using Windows or Linux-based PCs, to
building home security systems that rival those offered by
professional security consultants. The thirteen projects in the
book are divided into three categories: Home Automation, Home
Entertainment Systems, and Security, designed to appeal to
hackers of all ability levels. Check it out at Amazon: