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The Unofficial Guide to IM for Executives
1. In Focus: Group Policy and Corporate Policy
2. Security News and Features
- Recent Security Vulnerabilities
- Modify Your ASP.NET Applications for Added Security
- Microsoft Working on Spyware Solution
3. Security Matters Blog
- Security Fixes Available for Mac OS X
- Security Update for Firefox Preview Release
4. Security Toolkit
- Security Forum Featured Thread
5. New and Improved
- Use Certificates to Secure Your Files
- Monitor Keystrokes, Passwords, Emails, and Web Site Visits
In September, we converted our email newsletters to HTML. This change was based on audience feedback that led us to believe the scale had tipped in the favor of HTML email newsletters.
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==== Sponsor: Akonix ====
The Unofficial Guide to IM for Executives
This free white paper will help managers, directors and executives in all types of businesses understand Instant Messaging and the powerful benefits it brings to the workplace when properly managed and controlled. According to Giga Information Group, a large majority of mid- to large-sized organizations have no formal IT support for IM. This means employees are often logging onto public IM networks without permission and without protection from viruses and worms, corporate policy control or the ability to monitor and log conversations. Start protecting your organization and get the white paper now!
==== 1. In Focus: Group Policy and Corporate Policy ====
by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net
Recently on a popular mailing list devoted to security on Microsoft platforms, a member explained that he had configured Group Policy to prevent people from installing unapproved software on their systems. He wrote that he wasn't content with Group Policy Objects (GPOs), because they only block the installation of software packaged in Windows Installer (.msi) files, which means that executables could still run and install programs.
In response, another list member suggested that administrators could adjust ACLs on areas of the registry (such as the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE subkey or HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software subkey) and on directories (such as the Program Files directory) to restrict regular user accounts from having write access, which would prevent the installation of software. These actions could work but might break some applications that need to write to those areas of the registry and file system.
Another list member suggested that administrators could configure restrictions that prevent programs such as setup.exe and install.exe from running. This might work too, but some users will realize they can simply rename typical installation programs and the programs will run just fine.
Obviously, a combination of tactics is required. Completely restricting people from installing software on their systems, whether you use controls built into the OS or add-on controls from third parties, is challenging. The further you programmatically restrict activity on a system, the greater chance you have of breaking some application that users need.
As I read the message thread, it became clearer how much administrators struggle to outmaneuver the people who use the computers on their networks. It seems to me that there is an additional, less stressful way to address this particular problem. Companies can establish written guidelines that explain exactly what employees are allowed and not allowed to do with company computers and make employees liable for any misuse of company computers to deter employees from acting outside the guidelines.
If someone installs software on a computer without permission, somewhere along the line, an administrator will probably have to uninstall that software or rebuild the system to ensure some desired level of system integrity. This work costs the company money and is basically a waste of company time. So why not consider a corporate policy that lets you charge the negligent employee for the time and labor needed to restore a system to its original configuration? Of course, you could also add even stronger deterrents to your policies if your situation warrants them.
==== Sponsor: Security Administrator ====
Try a Sample Issue of Security Administrator! Security Administrator is the monthly newsletter from Windows IT Pro that shows you how to protect your network from external intruders and control access for internal users. Sign up now to get a 1-month trial issue--you'll feel more secure just knowing you did. Click here!
==== 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
Modify Your ASP.NET Applications for Added Security
The new Microsoft article "Programmatically check for canonicalization issues with ASP.NET" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=887459 ) recommends program code adjustments for applications that use ASP.NET. The changes will help strengthen overall security because they prevent intruders from gaining access to files they shouldn't be able to access.
Microsoft Working on Spyware Solution
During a recent trip to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates revealed that his company is working on an antispyware software solution. Gates didn't say when the company would ship the technology or whether it would be bundled with Windows or shipped as a standalone product.
==== Announcements ====
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Learn from SQL Server Magazine experts at Europe's premiere SQL Server event--Brussels SQL Server Day on October 26. Join Microsoft and SQL Server Magazine for a free, full-day event that gives SQL Server users the tools they need to unleash the power of SQL Server 2000, deploy SQL Server Express, and get ready for SQL Server 2005. Register now!
==== 3. Security Matters Blog ====
by Mark Joseph Edwards, http://www.windowsitpro.com/securitymatters
Check out these recent entries in the Security Matters blog:
Security Fixes Available for Mac OS X
For those of you who support Apple systems on your network, be aware that a new set of security patches for Apple Mac OS X is available now.
Security Update for Firefox Preview Release
If you're using the Mozilla Firefox Web browser, you might need to install an update to protect your systems against possible attacks. On September 29, Alex Vincent reported a vulnerability that might let intruders delete files on a user's system. Mozilla issued an update for the browser on October 1.
==== 4. Security Toolkit ====
by John Savill, http://www.windowsitpro.com/windowsnt20002003faq
Q: Why can't clients view a Web site that I'm hosting on a system that has Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) installed?
Find the answer at
Security Forum Featured Thread
A reader writes that he wants to move some data into a shared read-only area in his file system. The data should ideally retain its current permissions to the extent that only those with access now can still access the data after the migration. To achieve this goal, he proposes to use the Everyone group with a "deny" attribute to ensure that, despite existing permissions, the highest level of access available to the user community will be read-only. He would also like to prevent anyone from mass-copying data out of this area. He wants to know whether what he's trying to achieve is possible and, if so, how he can do it. Join the discussion at
==== Events Central ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro at http://www.windowsitpro.com/events )
Are You "Getting By" Using Fax Machines or Relying on a Less Savvy Solution That Doesn't Offer Truly Integrated Faxing from Within User Applications?
Attend this free Web seminar and learn what questions to ask when selecting an integrated fax solution, discover how an integrated fax solution is more efficient than traditional faxing methods, and discover how to select the fax technology that's right for your organization. Register now!
==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Renee Munshi, [email protected]
Use Certificates to Secure Your Files
EldoS offers EldoS PKI Tools, which encrypts and signs files using X.509 certificates and manages the certificates. EldoS PKI Tools lets you perform simple file operations such as packing files into a .zip archive, sending files as email attachments, and securely deleting files. You can also perform advanced security operations such as signing and encrypting files and folders. All operations are performed with just a few clicks. EldoS PKI Tools uses digital certificates instead of passwords to provide better information security and integrity. EldoS PKI Tools supports smart cards and USB tokens for storing certificates. EldoS PKI Tools runs on Windows 2003/XP/2000/Me/98. For more information, or to purchase and download EldoS PKI Tools, go to
Monitor Keystrokes, Passwords, Emails, and Web Site Visits
iOpus Software's ActMon replaces STARR PC & Internet Monitor. ActMon monitoring software claims several unique features: "kernel-level" file protection that makes files completely inaccessible and invisible to unauthorized users, "kernel-level" keyboard recording that even logs the keystrokes entered during Windows XP/2000 logon, and an activity data log that's protected with 256-bit encryption and that can run in an endless loop. In addition to its unique features, ActMon performs the usual monitoring tasks, tracking keyboard strokes, passwords, incoming and outgoing chat conversations, email messages, and visited Web sites. The ActMon PRO Edition adds advanced features such as flexible network functions to send and receive reports via the Internet or a local network. ActMon PRO costs $69.95, with discounts available for multiple users, sites, and nonprofit organizations. ActMon runs under Windows 2003/XP/2000/Me/98. You can purchase ActMon or download a free 30-day trial version at
Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
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 T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]
Editor's note: Share Your Security Discoveries and Get $100
Share your security-related discoveries, comments, or problems and solutions in the Security Administrator print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions (500 words or less) to [email protected] If we print your submission, you'll get $100. We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length.
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