Security UPDATE--IE 7.0 and Attractive Alternatives--May 3, 2006

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1. In Focus: IE 7.0 and Attractive Alternatives

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- Oracle Database Vault and Secure Backup Lock Down Access to Data

- AttachmateWRQ To Acquire NetIQ

- Name That Computer!

3. Security Toolkit

- Security Matters Blog


- Instant Poll

- Share Your Security Tips

4. New and Improved

- Put Endpoints to the Security Test


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==== 1. In Focus: IE 7.0 and Attractive Alternatives ====

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

Microsoft recently released Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 Beta 2 for public download (first URL below). Even with the security and other improvements in IE 7.0, some people still think IE is substandard or that using IE is the equivalent of painting a target on your forehead. Still others have more scathing comments about IE: Industry luminary John Dvorak recently called IE a "dead albatross" in a column published on PC Magazine's Web site (second URL below).,1895,1952995,00.asp

Dvorak thinks that trying to integrate the browser tightly with the OS was one of Microsoft's worst moves ever. That argument makes some sense given the number of security vulnerabilities that continue to be discovered in the browser. Dvorak thinks Microsoft should ditch IE and instead invest in Opera Software and make a large donation to Mozilla Foundation to help boost development of their respective browsers.

Such a move by Microsoft isn't likely. In fact, Microsoft is driving forward with IE tool proliferation. If you have a copy of IE 7.0, head over to Microsoft's "Add-Ons for Internet Explorer Web site at the URL below, where you'll find at least 63 third-party security-related tools arranged in four categories: Online Protection tools help guard against spyware and malware; Pop-Up Blockers are probably self-explanatory; Privacy tools help protect against exposure of your private information and guard against spyware and malware; and Parental Controls control online activity and help protect your children against a range of risks. Although the site claims to be for IE add-ons, you'll find many standalone tools, such as Microsoft Windows Defender and Lavasoft's Ad-Aware.

If IE 7.0 won't run on your particular platforms, then undoubtedly you know about Firefox ( ) and Opera ( ), and might opt to use those browsers instead. But do you know about Maxthon Browser, Tablane, and Avant Browser?

Maxthon Browser, by Maxthon International, is designed on top of the IE engine and introduces a ton of new functionality not available in Microsoft's versions of IE. For example, Maxthon offers tabbed browsing, enhanced pop-up blocking, a quick way to delete private information that might be stored by the browser, enhanced drag-and-drop features, support for extensions and plug-ins, support for skins, support for many languages, and a whole lot more. In short, Maxthon (at the URL below) is what IE should have been years ago.

Two other browsers, which are also based on the IE engine and which, you might look into further are Tablane by Tablane Technology (at the first URL below) and Avant Browser, by Avant Force (at the second URL below). Tablane has some nice features, such as "lanes," which are a way of displaying multiple Web pages in a single view. Other features include support for Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds and a unique function that lets you use multiple search engines at once.

Avant Browser claims to be "the fastest browser on Earth" and has many interesting features, some of which are similar to those found in Maxthon, such as enhanced pop-up blocking and privacy controls. However, Avant doesn't use the common tabbed interface--instead it displays many resizable windows inside the browser's single window interface. Look at the screen capture on the browser's home page to see what I mean. Avant Force also says that Avant has "no security holes," which is an extraordinary claim. I'm sure security researchers will eventually put that claim to many tests.

So even if you can't use the new IE 7.0 for some reason, several alternatives can enhance the functionality and security of your current installation of IE. Do some research and testing to see if any of the alternatives might fit your needs.


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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

Oracle Database Vault and Secure Backup Lock Down Access to Data

Oracle's new Database Vault provides more granular control over access privileges in Oracle Database. Oracle also announced the availability of its new Secure Backup, which encrypts data written to tape and works with Oracle Database and various file systems on various platforms.

AttachmateWRQ To Acquire NetIQ

AttachmateWRQ announced that it will acquire security solutions provider NetIQ for approximately $495 million in cash, which equates to about $12.20 per share of stock. NetIQ, founded in 1995, will no longer be publicly traded. Instead the company will become a business unit of AttachmateWRQ. The transaction is expected to close within 90 days.

Name That Computer!

Jeff Fellinge takes a look at how naming conventions and IP standards can help you quickly identify systems and compares the approaches that two everyday Windows tools take to resolve IP addresses to names.


==== Resources and Events ====

Learn the essentials about how consolidation and selected technology updates build an infrastructure that can handle change effectively.

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==== Featured White Paper ====

Learn how to address challenges such as making email truly available 24x7x365, securing against viruses, comprehensively backing up email data, and more.


==== Hot Spot: IronPort ====

Learn the best ways to manage your email security (and fight spam) using a variety of solutions and tips.


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

Security Matters Blog: Use the Command Line, Luke

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

If Luke Skywalker were a security administrator, his most powerful tools might be command-line tools. If you think you can figure out how to terminate a bunch of processes, some of which spawn new processes when they're terminated, you might want to take the hacking challenge "Star Hacks, Episode V: The Empire Hacks Back" described in this blog article.


by John Savill,

Q: How can I verify whether a domain controller (DC) is in a certain site?

Find the answer at

Instant Poll

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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.


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

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Put Endpoints to the Security Test

Senforce Technologies launched Senforce intelligent Network Access Control. iNAC compares the security state of an endpoint device that's attempting to connect to a network to a policy that defines security conditions that must be met to allow network access. IT administrators can create access policies that define which applications and services are permitted and that specify actions to take when endpoints don't comply. Pricing starts at $65 per user and quantity discounts are available. For more information, visit

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