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WServerNews (formerly W2Knews)
Vol. 11, #11 - Mar 13, 2006 - Issue #567
And ANOTHER Platform To Support? Puhleeeease!

    • And ANOTHER Platform To Support? Puhleeeease!
    • Software Firewalls: Whaddayathink?
    • WIRED Article on iBill
    • Reminder Downtime Survey Invitation
    • Quotes of the Week
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
    • After Flap, Symantec Adjusts Browser Bug Count
    • Microsoft Gives Test Takers A Second Shot
    • The Contemporary Antivirus Industry And Its Problems
    • All-in-One Guide: Windows OS Backup
    • No Software Assurance? No Software
    • Exchange Admin 101: An introduction to DSAccess
    • Time To Read Up On Microsoft's InfoCard Plans
    • NetIQ to Ship Change Administration Tool
    • Redmond Acquires Migration Tool Called Alohabob
    • Researcher Hacks Microsoft Fingerprint Reader
  6. WServerNews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  7. WServerNews - PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • What's New? Double-Take Data-Protection Product Update
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And ANOTHER Platform To Support? Puhleeeease!

OK, so cat is out of the bag about the Origami handheld from Intel and Redmond. A couple of hardware vendors are experimenting with it, to see if there is a market. That in itself is a red flag. Microsoft also stated that they are still figuring out how big this market is going to be. Looking at the specs and what this thing does, I would strongly recommend you quickly issue a statement that you looked it over, that it's a device for consumers, and that IT is not planning to support it for corporate use. The laptops we have are fine thank you very much!

Software Firewalls: Whaddayathink?

There has been some discussion on the forums recently about the "Yes-or-No" of adding an additional software firewall on servers that are internal (being behind a firewall at the edge). There are interesting and strong opinions for both. We thought it would be interesting to get everyone's opinion about this, and see where you all stand from a "percentage-of-votes" perspective. But also, if you have feedback about this, write to me via the option at the end of this section. Thanks in advance!

Here is a new SunPoll we'd like you to vote for: "What is your policy about deploying a software firewall on your production servers? "
  • Yes, we have that additional security layer
  • I like the idea of that layer if not too costly
  • MBSA is good enough to harden my internal systems
  • Umm, not sure if that is a good idea
  • No, we rely on the hardware firewall at the edge
Vote here, middle column at the bottom:

WIRED Article on iBill

Wired just posted an article on some outstanding work that Lance James at Secure Science worked on with regard to porn payment processor iBill. We collaborated with him later on the project as well. From the article:

"Seventeen million customers of the online payment service iBill have had their personal information released onto the internet, where it's been bought and sold in a black market made up of fraud artists and spammers, security experts say."

"Secure Science found that data in February 2005, and reported it to the FBI's Miami field office, the company says. The FBI declined comment. Last month, Sunbelt Software found an additional list of slightly over 1 million individual entries labeled Ibill_1m.txt on a spamming website. That list appeared to date from 2003."

Reminder Downtime Survey Invitation

How much downtime are your peers confronted with? Let's find out how the different platforms are doing! Yankee Group and Sunbelt Software invite you to participate in a short survey about your experience with the reliability of your server OS-en. It's few multiple choice grids and one essay question in which you will be asked to give your opinions on the patching process. We know you're all very busy; the survey will take no more than 3 minutes at best. We will provide you with a summary of the results in an upcoming issue of WServerNews. Thanks a bundle for helping out!

Quotes of the Week

"Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself." -- Richard David Bach

"If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside." -- Robert X. Cringely

Hope you enjoy this issue of WServerNews! Warm regards, Stu Sjouwerman  |   Email me: [email protected]


Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

Must Have Freeware. AD Web Search App + GAL Self Service. Get your Free download at the namescape site here:

Extend Active Directory to Unix/Linux/Mac to enable single sign-on, set global password policies. Free white paper.

TrueCrypt: Free encryption utility. Take a look at this free partition- and disk-level encryption utility for (mobile) Windows

Looking for a SMART attachment filtering tool that looks -inside- renamed attachments? Participate in the Messaging Ninja beta!


After Flap, Symantec Adjusts Browser Bug Count

A report issued by Symantec features two different ways of counting browser bugs: one that finds IE has the most vulnerabilities, and another that indicates Firefox is the bug leader. Interesting story at ComputerWorld, if you are into that kind of thing:

Microsoft Gives Test Takers A Second Shot

Microsoft is giving individuals who sign up for its certification exams two chances to pass the test.

The company said recently that for the second year in a row, it is offering a second chance to anyone who has scheduled a certification exam between February 15 and June 30. If someone fails the exam on the first try and needs to take it again, they must complete the second test before July 31, said Noury Bernard- Hasan, the director of certification marketing at Microsoft. More at SearchWinIT:

The Contemporary Antivirus Industry And Its Problems

Eugene Kaspersky gives his views on the current state of the antivirus industry, and suggestions for the industry's evolution. This is a very interesting article I found on the VirusList site:

All-in-One Guide: Windows OS Backup

This new guide is a collection of resources to help you protect data in Windows servers, desktops and mission-critical apps. Chapter one begins with tips and tactics for pain-free backup of your OS data and system state information. Stay tuned for future chapters on SQL Server, Exchange and Active Directory at the SearchWinSystems site:

No Software Assurance? No Software

Last September, Microsoft said that Vista Enterprise would be available to only those shops that have Software Assurance. The company wasn't kidding. The story is at

Exchange Admin 101: An introduction to DSAccess

DSAccess is an API used by Exchange components to query Active Directory and acquire configuration and recipient information. This tip provides an overview of how DSAccess works. At the SearchExchange site:


Time To Read Up On Microsoft's InfoCard Plans

If you check out Microsoft's site, they introduce InfoCard with some blurb that is hard to understand. But it's a very interesting technology. Here is how they position it themselves:

"InfoCard" is the code name for a WinFX component that provides the consistent user experience required by the identity metasystem. It is specifically hardened against tampering and spoofing to protect the end user's digital identities and maintain end-user control."

Sounds like just more techie PR-gobbledygook. But wait. There is something worthwhile here. This might make the user safer on the Internet. (after MS repairs all the potential buffer overflows that is...) InfoCard as I see it, is best understood as MS-Passport version 2.0, but now more open and user-friendly. It's a way for users to remain in control of their identity data, while sharing it only when and where necessary without the need to remember multiple usernames and passwords.

So from my perspective they need to find another name for it, as InfoCard immediately conjures up pictures of creditcard-sized access cards, but that is wrong. InfoCard will be important, especially for your end-users. You may need to incorporate it in your overall network management, and your users may also run this on their home machines. I'm sure you can immediately see the repercussions regarding education, training, support and helpdesk related issues. You should visit the InfoCard site and learn as much as you can and what it can -and what it can't- do. Here is the link, and remember to check out the Channel 9 video that explains the concept.


NetIQ to Ship Change Administration Tool

NetIQ will ship a new Windows-based tool next week aimed at simplifying user change administration. Change Administrator 1.0 provides a more granular level of user rights assignment than Active Directory alone, according to statements by San Jose, Calif.-based NetIQ. "Domain administration of groups on servers has become problematic [keeping track of] who does what and what they have access to," says Jim McGrath, NetIQ's senior director for product management.

The package helps manage complexity by enabling a "super admin" to create "proxy" accounts for lower-level administrators that enable them to perform specific tasks. Rather than assigning expanded privileges to the administrators' own native accounts, the proxies provide the necessary permissions. Read more at ENTmag:

Redmond Acquires Migration Tool Called Alohabob

Migrating PC data from an old machine to a new one is fraught with pitfalls, angles, bear traps and other various and sundry things that can and will go wrong, especially for (but not limited to) consumers.

Apparently Redmond has come to that same conclusion and instead of beefing up the built-in migration utility in Windows, has bought Apptimum Inc, a small Florida outfit that develops the Alohabob PC Relocator. "Bob" transfers applications and data from one machine to another, and is ideal for moving your stuff from an old to a new machine.

Redmond commented that the code would be a good combo with the transfer capability in Vista. Customers will be able to download a Microsoft version of Alohabob separately.

Researcher Hacks Microsoft Fingerprint Reader reports: "Never mind worrying about hackers stealing your password. A security researcher with the Finnish military has shown how they could steal your fingerprint, by taking advantage of an omission in Microsoft's Fingerprint Reader, a PC authentication device that Microsoft has been shipping since September 2004.

"Although the Fingerprint Reader can prevent unauthorized people from logging on to your PC, Microsoft has not promoted it as a security device, but rather as convenient tool for home users who want a fast way to log on to Web sites without having to remember user names and passwords. In fact, the Web site warns that the Fingerprint Reader should not be used to protect sensitive data.

"Hoping to understand why Microsoft had included the caveat about sensitive data, a researcher with the Finnish military, Mikko Kiviharju, took a close look at the product. In a paper presented at the Black Hat Europe conference last week, he reported that because the fingerprint image taken by the scanner is not encrypted, it could be stolen by hackers and used to inappropriately log in to a computer.

"Because the fingerprint image is transferred unencrypted from the Fingerprint Reader to the PC, it could be stolen using a variety of hardware and software technologies, called "sniffers," that monitor such traffic, said Kiviharju, a researcher with the Finnish Defense Forces. "The fingerprint that can be sniffed is pretty good quality," he said.

The fingerprint image could either be used to break into a PC or simply be stolen by attackers, a violation of the user's privacy. Kiviharju's report can be found here:

WServerNews 'FAVE' LINKS

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


What's New? Double-Take Data-Protection Product Update

Recently, NSI has delivered several service packs that add new features and enhance the world-class Double-Take data protection solutions. It now has:
  1. Flexible Bandwidth Scheduling (FBS) With FBS, you can schedule bandwidth usage levels that vary at different times of the day or week - therefore reducing any effect on production resources.
  2. Server Groups to better organize and manage your replication environment. Server groups allow you to quickly organize, access, and monitor particular servers for efficiency and improved process flow.
  3. Application Manager Suite. Got Apps? We recently launched the first module within the Double-Take Application Manager Suite - the Exchange Failover Toolkit (EFT). EFT is an exciting new tech that provides automated Double-Take setup and configuration to protect critical Exchange environments.
Test it for 30 days: