Security UPDATE--Windows Vista and Mac OS X--July 12, 2006


St. Bernard Software


Core Security


1. IN FOCUS: Windows Vista and Mac OS X


- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- EMC To Expand with RSA Acquisition

- WGA Garners More Attention, All of It Bad

- Vista and XP Go Head to Head


- Security Matters Blog: Month of Browser Bugs

- FAQ: Changing the 60-Minute Flood Setting for FSRM Templates

- From the Forum: Configuring a Juniper Networks NetScreen-5GT

- Share Your Security Tips


- Block Unknown URLs in IM Messages

- Tell Us About a Hot Product





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1. IN FOCUS: Windows Vista and Mac OS X

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

I like the Windows platform. It's highly functional, a plethora of software is available to help me accomplish nearly anything I want with a computer, and I've been using it for so long that it's like riding a bike--it just happens almost automatically.

But, as with most things in this world, Windows does have its annoyances, and there is one particular annoyance that bothers me more than most other annoyances: malware.

Recently, security solution vendor McAfee said that back in September 2004, it added the 100,000th threat to its database. It took 18 years for the company to reach that milestone. Somewhat shockingly, it took fewer than two years for the database to double in size. Between September 2004 and July 2006, the company added another 100,000 threats to its database, effectively expanding it to 200,000 threats. That's a phenomenal growth rate, and it doesn't appear to be slowing. McAfee said that if current trends continue, the company will surpass 400,000 threats in its database before the end of 2008.

Another security solution provider, Sophos, recently released a report that gives an overview of trends in cyber crime over the past six months. The top 10 malware programs on their list are all variants with familiar names, such as Sober, Netsky, Mytob, Bagle, Zafi, and Nyxem. One notable point from the report is that so far in 2006, the majority of new malware programs are some form of Trojan horse and all the new Trojans affect Windows platforms.

The most interesting point about Sophos's report, in my opinion, is that it recommends that home computer users switch to Mac OS X. "\[Intruders\] seem happy to primarily target Windows users and not spread their wings to other platforms. It seems likely that Macs will continue to be the safer place for computer users for some time to come, something that home users may wish to consider if they're deliberating about the next computer they should purchase," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

Of course that comment sparked plenty of debate, some of which took place over at Slashdot (visit the URL below for a summary). As expected, opinions and perspectives vary.

I find Mac OS X incredibly appealing not only because the OS is a much less interesting target to intruders than Windows (for now anyway) but also because it's a highly functional desktop platform. Apple plans to unveil the next generation of Mac OS X, code-named Leopard, in early August at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the new OS can do.

When it comes time for me to upgrade my system to Windows Vista and use it full time, I'll definitely need to buy new hardware. I'm considering buying Apple's new Intel-based hardware and building a dual-boot system that runs both Mac OS X and Windows Vista. I wonder if any of you have thoughts about doing something similar. Write and let me know.


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EMC To Expand with RSA Acquisition

Information management and storage powerhouse EMC said it will acquire RSA Security for an aggregate cost of just under $2.1 billion. The acquisition will bring EMC new capabilities in identity and access management solutions as well as encryption and key management software.

WGA Garners More Attention, All of It Bad

While Microsoft continues to both defend and roll out its spyware-like Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) service around the world, the company is facing two WGA-related threats. Learn more about those threats in this news story.

Vista and XP Go Head to Head

With the release of Windows Vista coming ever nearer, Michael Otey shares his perception of how the next version of Microsoft's OS stacks up against Windows XP in 10 crucial categories, including security.

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


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Security Matters Blog: Month of Browser Bugs

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

A new Web site says it will present information about a different Web browser bug each day this month. Read this blog article to learn more.

FAQ: Changing the 60-Minute Flood Setting for FSRM Templates

by John Savill,

Q: How can I change the 60-minute flood setting for Windows Server 2003 R2 File Server Resource Manager (FSRM) templates?

Find the answer at

From the Forum: Configuring a Juniper Networks NetScreen-5GT

A forum participant has been trying to configure a Juniper Networks NetScreen-5GT to pass PPTP traffic to a VPN he set up on Windows 2003 Small Business Server (SBS). He can connect and get prompted for a logon ID and password, but then the session hangs. Join the discussion at

Share Your Security Tips and Get $100

Share your security-related tips, comments, or problems and solutions in the Windows IT Security print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions to [email protected] If we print your submission, you'll get $100. We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length.



by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Block Unknown URLs in IM Messages

Akonix Systems announced the availability of L7 IM Sentry, which stops propagation of malicious code over IM networks such as AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Part of Akonix's L7 Enterprise 5.1, L7 IM Sentry is added to an IM user's buddy list when the user logs on. When L7 IM Sentry receives a message containing an unknown URL, it alerts the IT administrator and puts the URL on a list of disallowed Web addresses, and L7 Enterprise prevents any further propagation of the message. Any future IM traffic that contains the URL is automatically blocked. For more information, go to

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a Best Buy Gift Card!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Best Buy Gift Card if we write about the product in a Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestion with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]



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