What’s Hot - 26 Dec 2006

Readers recommend the best products

Protect Your Email server
Barracuda Networks' Barracuda Spam Firewall 300

Jacob Rowley
Systems analyst
Product: Barracuda Spam Firewall 300
Company: Barracuda Networks
Contact: www.barracudanetworks.com

Have you noticed a decrease in the amount of spam you've been receiving? Neither has Jacob Rowley. And like IT pros everywhere, he knows that some of those unwanted messages contain deadly viruses that could bring down his system. However, Jacob's company uses Barracuda Networks' Barracuda Spam Firewall 300, an integrated hardware and software solution that protects email servers from spam, viruses, phishing messages, and spyware.

Barracuda Spam Firewall has a detection rate of as much as 97 percent and registers only 0.01 percent of false positives. To deal with the occasional false positive, “Barracuda has built some excellent search options into the product, which let me find a message that got blocked very easily and quickly,” says Jacob. He adds that Barracuda lets him search by whitelisted, blocked, virus, quarantined, or delivered messages. You can also search for messages by username or domain name. “Barracuda Spam Firewall is one of the best pieces of equipment in our entire organization,” Jacob says. “It's such a great appliance that some people forget we have it because it does such a great job!”

Secure and Manage Your Passwords
Dominik Reichl's KeePass Password Safe

Carmen Nuland
Senior systems analyst
Product: KeePass Password Safe
Company: Dominik Reichl
Contact: keepass.sourceforge.net

IT pros know how hard it can be for users to remember all the passwords they need for numerous Web sites, systems, and applications. Too often, administrators as well as users resort to writing passwords on paper or storing them in an unsecured document. Carmen Nuland used to use an unprotected Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to hold all her URLs, user IDs, and passwords. But then she discovered Dominik Reichl's KeePass Password Safe.

Carmen says that with KeePass, she needs to remember only one password. The free, open-source software lets her create one database for personal passwords and another for work-related passwords and secure both databases by using a master password, key-disk, or combination of the two. “You can also sort passwords by creating groups to store Internet URLs, email, software licenses, and banking passwords,” says Carmen. “Plus, KeePass will automatically create random passwords for you, if you wish.”

KeePass uses the Advanced Encryption Standard and Twofish algorithms to encrypt the database. If you copy a password entry, KeePass secures the clipboard, then automatically clears it after you've pasted the contents or after a certain period of time. In addition, KeePass locks the database when you minimize the window. You can export your password list to a variety of formats, including comma-separated value (CSV) and XML.

Easy configuration Analysis and diagnostics
Gabriel Topala's System Information for Windows

Curtus Regnier
Owner and president of In the Light Consulting
Product: System Information for Windows
Company: Gabriel Topala
Contact: www.gtopala.com

While working on security-related projects, Curtus Regnier has to check systems for vulnerabilities such as open shares, open ports, and improperly managed services and went looking for a tool that can quickly and easily give him the information he needs. He found Gabriel Topala's System Information for Windows (SIW) freeware. SIW provides Curtus all the data he needs, plus a lot more.

Compatible with all versions of Windows, SIW performs configuration analysis and diagnostics, listing information such as specifications for the OS and installed software, serial numbers, and open files. The tool also provides information about hardware and peripherals, including the motherboard, memory, video cards, printers, disk drives, SCSI devices, network shares and connections, and network cards.

“A number of tools, when used together, can perform the functions of SIW,” says Curtus. “But this tool is so comprehensive that you only need one tool to do your work.” The software can create reports in comma-separated value, HTML, text, or XML format, and you can run it in batch mode. Curtus especially likes the fact that, because SIW doesn't need to be installed on the computer, he can carry it with him on his USB drive wherever he goes.

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