Security UPDATE--Mobile Computing Security Through Obscurity--June 23, 2004


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Implementing Client Security on Windows 2000/XP


1. In Focus: Mobile Computing Security Through Obscurity

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- eBook: Preemptive Email Security and Management

- News: Audit Reveals Spyware Infestation - News: Secure SMS and Your Passwords

3. Security Toolkit


- Featured Thread

4. New and Improved

- Monitor Your System and Applications

- Protect Your Privacy


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==== 1. In Focus: Mobile Computing Security Through Obscurity ====

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

I wonder if part of your job as security administrator or manager includes handling mobile phone security? Someone at your company should be tending to that responsibility, especially if employees are storing company information on their phones.

Last week, Kaspersky Labs announced the discovery of the first virus to infect mobile phones. The virus, which Kaspersky named Cabir, affects mobile phones that use the Symbian OS. The virus is relatively harmless--its only purpose is to propagate itself, and it does so only to other phones that have Bluetooth enabled and are broadcasting their presence. However, Denis Zenkin, head of Corporate Communications at Kaspersky Labs, said that sooner or later, more malicious forms of mobile phone malware that will possibly destroy or steal data will begin to spread.

Since Cabir spreads to mobile phones that broadcast their presence via Bluetooth wireless technology, you might want to configure Symbian to use Bluetooth in an invisible mode that doesn't broadcast the phone's presence. Configure other mobile phone OSs too to prevent any future attacks against them. Using invisible mode is similar to configuring wireless Access Points (APs) to not broadcast their SSID. If an AP broadcasts its SSID, intruders can detect it and use it as a starting point for penetrating your network. Bluetooth invisible mode is also similar to using a firewall, which makes your internal networks invisible to connected networks.

These security measures are probably common sense for you, but they might not be for mobile phone users in your organization. You could explain the security needs to users by comparing their Bluetooth-broadcasting mobile phone to a wallet or purse left lying on a car seat while they're out of the car. The wallet or purse is essentially begging somebody to break into the car and steal it. A little security through obscurity might save a lot of frustration sooner or later. Some people might disagree, but I think you can gain a fair amount of security by obscuring the presence of anything, whether it be a wallet, purse, or wireless network.

Of course, you can gain plenty of security by adding device protection, such as antivirus software for mobile phones, which is available from many antivirus software vendors. And, as I mentioned earlier, you might also consider some configuration changes to your mobile phone OS, particularly disabling Bluebooth broadcasts to make the devices somewhat invisible.

If you're interested in other problems with Bluetooth and mobile phones, you might want to read about a few other related vulnerabilities, which are mentioned in a recent Integralis press release.


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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

eBook: Preemptive Email Security and Management

In this free eBook, author Peter Bowyer details a preventive approach to eliminating spam and viruses, stopping directory harvest attacks, guarding content, and improving email performance. The first two chapters of the book are already online. You can download them in PDF format from our Windows IT Library.

News: Audit Reveals Spyware Infestation

An April audit conducted by EarthLink and Webroot Software scoured 420,761 computer systems. The audit discovered more than 11.3 million instances of spyware and Trojan horse programs installed on the computers.

News: Secure SMS and Your Passwords

Microsoft released two new security-related articles that cover Systems Management Server (SMS) environments and user password management. The SMS article, "Scenarios and Procedures for Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003: Security," details security fundamentals, how to secure SMS, and how to maintain SMS security. The password article, "Mind Those Passwords!" addresses the problems many users face in managing numerous passwords.


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==== 3. Security Toolkit ====

FAQ: How Can I Enable the Security Tab at the Exchange Organization Level?

by John Savill,

A. By default, the Security tab isn't displayed on an Exchange organization's properties page. To display the tab, perform these steps:

1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe).

2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\EXAdmin subkey.

3. From the Edit menu, select New and click DWORD Value.

4. Enter the name ShowSecurityPage and press Enter.

5. Double-click the new value and set it to 1. Click OK.

6. Close the registry editor.

The Security tab will now be displayed on the Exchange organization's properties page. On the Security tab, you can turn off the Send As and Receive As deny settings to grant Exchange administrators full access to all mailboxes in the organization. Using the Security tab to allow full access is a simpler way to grant administrators access to users' mailboxes than the technique described in the FAQ "How can I configure Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 administrators so that they can access all users' mailboxes?" at the URL below. However, keep in mind that the Security tab lets you grant access only to all mailboxes or none.

Featured Thread: Port Filtering on Windows 2000 Server

(One message in this thread)

Jeff writes that he needs to tighten security on a Windows 2000 Advanced Server Web server. He wants to allow most UDP traffic, except through ports 161 and 445. He doesn't want to use the OS's IP filtering because it only lets you define allowed ports, not blocked ports, which means that he'd have to manually create a long list of allowed ports. Do you know an easy way to accomplish this task? Lend a hand or read the responses:


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==== 4. New and Improved ====

by Jason Bovberg, [email protected]

Monitor Your System and Applications

Anfibia Software announced Watchman 6.0, an application-monitoring and system-protection tool. Watchman's new GUI offers file protection, application-usage logging, and access-control management. You can stop unwanted applications and protect documents from tampering. The software works on Windows 2003/XP/2000/Me/NT 4.0/98 systems, and single licenses start at $45. You can download a fully functional evaluation version from the company Web site.

Protect Your Privacy

WinGuides released Privacy Guardian 3.0, a privacy protection tool that deletes Internet tracks and program history information stored on your computer. Information from the Web sites you visit is stored on your computer in hidden locations including temporary files, cookies, the registry, and the index.dat file. Privacy Guardian cleans out these hidden files. Privacy Guardian runs on Windows XP/2000/Me/9x, and prices begin at $29.95 for a single-user license. For more information, contact WinGuides at 877-576-2445 or [email protected] You can download a free trial version of Privacy Guardian from the company's Web site.

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