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Security UPDATE--Browser History: What Happened?--April 27, 2005

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Simplify Software, Desktop and Server Management

Phishing, viruses, bot-nets and more: How to prevent the "Perfect Storm" from devastating your email system


1. In Focus - Browser History: What Happened?

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- Firefox 1.0.3--Nine Security Fixes

- Credit Card Companies to Enforce Payment Card Industry Standard

- Putting OpenVPN to Work

3. Security Toolkit

- Security Matters Blog


- Security Forum Featured Thread

4. New and Improved

- Fast Security


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==== 1. In Focus - Browser History: What Happened? ====

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

Occasionally, you might need to trace a user's Web-browsing path. Manual forensic analysis, which involves digging through cookie files, the browser's cache, and browser history data, isn't easy.

For a good rundown on forensic analysis of browser activity, you should consider reading "Web Browser Forensics, Part 1," by Keith J. Jones and Rohyt Belani of Red Cliff Consulting. The article, published on the SecurityFocus Web site, offers a brief usage overview of some very useful tools: in particular, Pasco, Internet Explorer History Viewer, Web Historian, and Forensic Toolkit.

Pasco is an open-source tool that can be used to reconstruct browser use from Microsoft Internet Explorer's (IE's) index.dat files. The files contain data such as which URLs were visited and when. Pasco is a command-line tool that creates a text-based output file.

Internet Explorer History Viewer, available from Phillips Ponder, has been around for a while. It too can reconstruct IE usage and has the added benefits of being able to read Netscape history data and find fragments of deleted files in the Windows Recycle Bin. IE History costs $50.

The free Web Historian, provided by Red Cliff Consulting, is more powerful than the previous two tools. It can help you analyze the historic usage of Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox, Netscape, Opera, and Apple Computer's Safari.

Forensic Tookit (FTK), from AccessData, is the most powerful of the bunch, and at $995, it better be. It too can reconstruct browser use history, but it's also billed as a tool that can perform "complete and thorough forensics examinations." Among other tasks, Forensic Toolkit can index entire drives, allows quick text searches, and supports more than 270 file types.

Now let's suppose for a minute that you don't want anybody to be able to perform such analysis on your systems. For example, if your laptop is stolen or lost, do you want whoever ends up with it to be able to find out detailed information about you by analyzing your surfing habits? To prevent someone else from accessing your data, you could implement disk encryption.

You can also manually delete browser details (IE History and Cache) fairly easily, but you have to remember to do that, and you also need to erase the disk sectors to ensure that the data can't be recovered. I know that many standalone tools can do both these tasks quickly and effortlessly. Privacy Eraser is one example (which I haven't yet tried).

Are any such tools that include centralized management available for an enterprise? If you know of any, please send me an email with the details or a URL.


Don't miss a Web chat with Randy Franklin Smith on the topic "The Security Event Log: The Unofficial Guide." It will take place May 4, 12:00 P.M. Eastern (9:00 A.M. Pacific). For more information, go to

And, finally, you have less than one week left to vote for your favorite products in Windows IT Pro's annual Readers' Choice Awards. Voting ends May 2, so vote now at


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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

Firefox 1.0.3--Nine Security Fixes

Mozilla Organization released Firefox 1.0.3 to correct nine security vulnerabilities. Interestingly enough, all the problems corrected in the new release relate to vulnerabilities that could be exploited via JavaScript.

Credit Card Companies to Enforce Payment Card Industry Standard

Most major credit card companies have adopted the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, which was jointly developed by VISA and MasterCard. Adopters of the standard include American Express, Diners Club, Discover, and JCB International.

Putting OpenVPN to Work

You're probably familiar with Microsoft's RRAS VPN solutions, as well as commercial VPNs from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks, but you might not be aware of an open-source program called OpenVPN. Jeff Fellinge explains how to implement OpenVPN in this article on our Web site.


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In this free Web seminar, discover how to maintain business continuity of your IT systems during routine maintenance and unplanned disasters. Learn critical factors for establishing a secure and highly available environment for SQL Server including overcoming the technology barriers that affect SQL Server high availability and Microsoft's out-of-the-box high-availability technologies such as clustering, log shipping, and replication. Register now!

Configuring Blade Servers for Your Application Needs

Blade servers pack a lot of function into a small space, conserve power, and are flexible. In this free, on-demand Web seminar, industry guru David Chernicoff details the best use of 1P, 2P, and 4P configurations using single and multiple enclosures; integrating with NAS and SAN; and managing the entire enterprise from a single console. Register now and take advantage of blade servers' power and flexibility.

Discover All You Need to Know About 64-bit Computing in the Enterprise

In this free, on-demand Web seminar, industry guru Michael Otey explores the need for 64-bit computing and looks at the type of applications that can make the best use of it. He'll explain why the most important factor in the 64-bit platform is increased memory. Discover the best platform for high performance and learn how you can successfully differentiate, migrate, and manage between 32-bit and 64-bit technology. Register now!


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

Security Matters Blog

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

Perils of Wardriving

It's fairly common knowledge that some people set up Wi-Fi hotspots using the Wi-Fi cards in their own computers in hopes that someone will connect. Once a connection is made, an intrusion attempt begins against the machine that connected. Obviously it's not very smart to use any old Wi-Fi hotspot you come across just because it's there.


by John Savill,

Q: How can I configure the Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Windows Firewall from a command line?

Find the answer at

Security Forum Featured Thread

A forum participant is looking for methods or products that can block all access to X-rated Web sites on his company's laptop computers and for security policy templates to use as a model for developing an acceptable-use policy. Join the discussion at:


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

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