Security UPDATE-- Two Security Add-ons--August 11, 2004


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1. In Focus: Two Security Add-ons

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- News: Two Guides: Windows XP Security and Wireless Authentication

- News: First SiteDigger and Now SSLDigger

- Feature: Time for a Windows Antivirus Solution

3. Security Matters Blog

- Get Paid to Hunt Security Bugs in Mozilla

- Updated Security Bulletin MS04-025

- Version 4 of Microsoft's Worm Removal Tool

4. Instant Poll

5. Security Toolkit


6. New and Improved

- Easy File and Email Protection


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==== 1. In Focus: Two Security Add-ons ====

by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net

If you typically log on to your system by using a regular user account, you probably sometimes need to have Power User or Administrator privileges in the domain to perform necessary actions. Sometimes gaining the required privileges can be cumbersome, depending on your needs. You can accomplish the temporary elevation of privileges by using the RunAs command manually, but there's a much quicker way.

Aaron Margosis wrote a useful add-on command script for Windows that can help you with running applications in a higher security context. His script MakeMeAdmin automates the process of using the RunAs command to elevate your privileges. The script performs three actions: Adds your current user account to the local Administrators group, launches a command shell and any other application you want to run, then removes your account from the local Administrators group.

You can read an explanation of scenarios in which MakeMeAdmin might come in handy at Margosis's Web log (blog) at the first URL below. You can download a copy of MakeMeAdmin (in a .zip file) at the second URL below. The .zip file also contains a second script, MakeMePU, which elevates your privileges to the Power Users group instead of the Administrators group.

Another useful tool developed by Margosis is PrivBar for Windows Explorer and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). PrivBar helps you see what security context a particular instance of Windows Explorer or IE is running under. When you install PrivBar, a toolbar is added to both those applications. The toolbar displays the domain and username as well as the group that the account belongs to. The toolbar is color-coded to grab your attention when you run an instance under a highly privileged account, such as an account in the Administrators group.

According to Margosis, "PrivBar shows you roughly what your privilege level is by checking the current process' token for membership in Administrators, Power Users, Users, or Guests. The circle on the bar will be red if you are in Administrators, yellow if you are Power User, green otherwise. If you are an admin, the bar's background will be yellow. Finally, if that instance is running with a restricted token (e.g., by using the RunAs dialog's "protect my computer" option, ...), the circle will be green with a red line through it. (... PrivBar uses the CheckTokenMembership API, so yes, it properly takes into account disabled or deny-only SIDs.)" You can read about the tool and see screen shots of it at the first URL below and download it at the second URL.

If you're a developer interested in the CheckTokenMembership API, you can learn more about it at the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web site.


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==== 2. Security News and Features ====

Recent Security Vulnerabilities

If you subscribe to this newsletter, you also receive Security Alerts, which inform you about recently discovered security vulnerabilities. You can also find information about these discoveries at

News: Two Guides: Windows XP Security and Wireless Authentication

Microsoft recently published "Windows XP Security Guide," which offers both instruction and a set of tools (several documents, templates, and scripts) that can help you better secure Windows XP systems whether they are part of an Active Directory (AD) domain or are standalone. The company also published a second step-by-step guide (in Word format): "Obtaining and Installing a VeriSign WLAN Server Certificate for PEAP-MS-CHAP v2 Wireless Authentication." This guide explains how to obtain certificates from VeriSign by using a custom Web application built by VeriSign specifically for Internet Authentication Service (IAS) users. It also explains how to configure IAS to use the certificates for wireless connectivity authentication.

News: First SiteDigger and Now SSLDigger

We previously reported that Foundstone released a tool, SiteDigger, that helps you audit your Web site for potential vulnerabilities. The company recently released a new Web audit tool, SSLDigger, that helps you audit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) ciphers that are enabled on your Web site.

Feature: Time for a Windows Antivirus Solution

Michael Otey thinks it's time for Microsoft to include an antivirus solution as part of the base Windows OS. Otey says that desktop security is simply too crucial a concern to Microsoft--and more important, to Microsoft's customers--to let a component that's so vital to a secure environment remain an optional add-on. As long as antivirus measures reside solely in the hands of third-party vendors, large numbers of Microsoft OS installations will remain vulnerable to hundreds if not thousands of exploits, not all of which can be prevented through patching. Read the rest of Otey's opinion in this article on our Web site.


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==== 3. Security Matters Blog ====

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

Check out these recent entries in the Security Matters blog:

Get Paid to Hunt Security Bugs in Mozilla

The Mozilla Foundation has launched a new Security Bug Bounty Program through which it will pay $500 to anyone who discovers what the foundation considers to be a critical security bug in its software.

Updated Security Bulletin MS04-025

Microsoft updated the security bulletin and patch "Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (867801)," which corrects three critical problems in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE).

Version 4 of Microsoft's Worm Removal Tool

Microsoft recently released Mydoom, Zindos, and Doomjuice Worm Removal Tool 4.0, which helps remove Mydoom.A, B, E, F, G, J, L, and O; Zindos.A; and Doomjuice.A and B variants.

==== 4. Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll

The voting has closed in the Windows & .NET Magazine Network Security Web page nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you use search engines to look for vulnerabilities in the Web sites you manage?" Here are the results from the 51 votes.

- 20% Yes, I do so regularly

- 4% Yes, but only when I become aware of new Web vulnerabilities

- 37% No, but I plan to start

- 39% No, and I don't plan to start

New Instant Poll

The next Instant Poll question is, "Have you experienced any problems with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)?" Go to the Security Web page and submit your vote for

- Yes, some of our software is now broken

- Yes, problems with installation of third-party applications

- Yes, problems with installation of SP2 itself

- Yes, more than one of the problems mentioned above

- No

==== 5. Security Toolkit ====

FAQ: What is the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)?

by John Savill,

A. Group Policy offers many advantages over the old Windows NT 4.0 system policies; however, managing Group Policy Objects (GPOs) is often cumbersome. To view or modify GPOs, you can either create a custom Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that has a particular GPO loaded or, in the MMC Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click an organizational unit (OU) or a domain, select Properties, then select the Group Policy tab.

GPMC significantly improves on Microsoft's traditional methods for GPO management by providing a simple view of the environment that shows how OUs are linked to GPOs and the options associated with the OU or container to which a particular GPO applies. GPMC also provides the following useful features:

- the ability to back up and restore GPOs

- easy backup and restoration of filters

- the ability to create HTML-based reports that show all the settings in a GPO

- the ability to script certain Group Policy management actions

You must install GPMC on a Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) system, although you can use GPMC to manage Windows 2000 Server domains in addition to Windows 2003 domains. You can download the latest version of GPMC--GPMC with SP1--at the URL below.

When you attempt to access a container's Group Policy tab from the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in after you install GPMC, you'll see a button that you can click to start GPMC. You can't edit GPOs from within GPMC; to edit a GPO when you're in GPMC, right-click the GPO and select Edit; a new MMC instance will open in which the GPO editor snap-in is loaded and the selected GPO is open and ready to be edited.


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