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September 10, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft Solves Windows Hacking Mystery
- Windows Market Share Rises But PC Sales
- UNIX, Linux, and Windows: Managing the Unruly Trinity
- The Security Solutions You've Been Searching For!
3. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
Microsoft now says that it has solved the Windows 2000 Server hacking mystery that troubled the company last week. Microsoft says the problem wasn't a new security vulnerability but the result of systems administrators failing to apply long-available OS patches to servers. Perhaps more important, intruder attacks have decreased dramatically during the past several days, leading Microsoft to suspect that the worst is over.
"By analyzing computers that have been compromised, Microsoft has determined that these attacks do not appear to exploit any new product-related security vulnerabilities and do not appear to be viral or worm-like in nature," the company writes in a security advisory (see the URL below) that describes the problem. "Instead, the attacks seek to take advantage of situations where standard precautions have not been taken. The activity appears to be associated with a coordinated series of individual attempts to compromise Windows 2000-based servers. As a result, successful compromises leave a distinctive pattern."
To prevent attacks, administrators simply need to follow timeworn security advice and stay up-to-date about security patches, advice that amounts to common sense. For example, Microsoft recommends that administrators eliminate blank or weak passwords, disable guest accounts, and use current antivirus software and firewalls.
Microsoft: MIRC Trojan-Related Attack Detection and Repair
Two market surveys show that Windows has gained market share in the most recent quarter, even though PC sales have almost flattened and will likely grow at an abbreviated rate through 2003. According to market researcher OneStat.com, Windows now controls 97.46 percent of the global desktop OS market, compared to just 1.43 percent for Apple Macintosh and 0.26 percent for Linux. OneStat.com says it derives its figures, which are an average of the past 2 months, from realtime global Web site analysis.
In related news, Massachusetts-based International Data Corporation (IDC) reported this morning that PC sales will grow just 1.1 percent in 2002, a sharp drop from the company's original projection of 4.7 percent. Although IDC expects PC sales to grow 8.4 percent in 2003, that figure is down from its original 11.1 percent estimate. PC makers will sell about 135 million PCs in 2002 and another 147 million in 2003, IDC says.
IDC notes that midsized and large companies, which have slowed spending, account for much of the sales shortfall. Consumers and small businesses continue to buy PCs in record numbers, the company said. But because consumers and small businesses represent just one-third of the total PC market, those sales aren't enough to buoy the industry.
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