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Security UPDATE--Changing Passwords En Masse--December 7, 2005

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1. In Focus: Changing Passwords En Masse

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- Microsoft Restructures Security Solutions Competency

- HP Boosts OpenView with Federated Identities

- Sunbelt Shines New Light into Kerio Personal Firewall

3. Security Toolkit

- Security Matters Blog


- Security Forum Featured Thread

4. New and Improved

- Intrusion Detection for 100Mbps Networks


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==== 1. In Focus: Changing Passwords En Masse

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

A few weeks ago, I wrote about tools you can use to test password strength and to recover unknown passwords. If you missed "Password Cracking Made Easy," you can read it on our Web site.

I want to follow up with a discussion of how to change passwords across all systems on your network. The most common instance of a password that you might want to change on any number of systems is the local Administrator account password. Changing this password regularly is probably a wise idea because doing so helps prevent unwanted access to systems.

Some administrators don't care what the local Administrator account password is as long as nonadministrative employees don't know it. These admins prefer to generate a random password for each system. Other admins do want to know what the passwords are in case they need them for whatever reason. In either case, there are plenty of ways to change passwords across the board.

If you have Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) you could use a simple, one-line installer program code such as

Execute %SYS32%\net.exe user administrator

in which is the actual password. Another solution is to use a script, probably written in Visual Basic (VB). Several sample scripts are available on the Internet.

If you have relatively few systems and can readily create a list of those systems, you could try using the script posted at Spoogenet, at the first URL below. Or try the script posted at, at the second URL below. Or use Chwinpw (at the third URL below), a command-line tool from ITeF!x that can be integrated into a batch file or script.

If you have Active Directory (AD), you can use AD objects and a script to gain access to a list of all computers. Such a script can also be used to change the local Administrator password for all your computers. Check out the sample script posted at, at the URL below. It's short, simple, and relatively easy to understand if you're familiar with VB or other programming languages.

If you don't want to use a script and prefer a regular desktop application to do the work for you, there are probably a large number of choices, especially for enterprise networks. But if you manage a relatively small network and want a solution that doesn't carry an enterprise-class price, you could try Hyena from AMTSoftware International at the first URL below, which starts at $199. Or you might try DC PasswordChanger (DCPC), at the second URL below, which is free from Danish Company.\{4D40EC77-0788-48E7-9FB6-B81A51F70CD2\}.html

If none of these solutions fit your needs, you can scour the Internet for something different. Try using your favorite search engine to look for phrases such as "change admin passwords," "change local admin passwords," "admin passwords" + "Active directory," and you'll find numerous discussions in which people have shared their insights.

But before you do that, you might want to check the Windows IT Pro Magazine Web site to see what we've published about this topic. Use our search engine with the above phrases. The link below will take you directly to the search results for the phrase "change local administrator passwords.""


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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

Microsoft Restructures Security Solutions Competency

Microsoft made changes to its Microsoft Partner Program to include third-party validation of security credentials for Security Solutions Competency compliance. The company also added two new specializations to the program.

HP Boosts OpenView with Federated Identities

HP announced that it will buy Trustgenix, maker of identity federation solutions. Terms of the acquisition weren't announced, however HP said it will integrate Trustgenix federated identity solutions into its OpenView management software.

Sunbelt Shines New Light into Kerio Personal Firewall

Kerio Personal Firewall was scheduled for mothballs on December 31. Then Sunbelt Software stepped in to buy the solution from Kerio Technologies. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.


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Web Seminar--Plan and Implement Highly Available Exchange Systems

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Microsoft Exchange & Windows Connections 2006

April 9-12, 2006, Orlando, Florida. Microsoft and Windows IT Pro magazine team up to produce the essential conference for systems administrators and IT managers in Windows and Exchange technology. Register by January 9 and receive one FREE hotel night at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort. Call 800-438-6720 for details.

Web Seminar--Get the Tools, Tips, and Training That You Need to Avoid a Messaging Meltdown When an Outage Strikes

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

Security Matters Blog: Chain Reactions of Bad Advice

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

One person creates a script to help secure Windows. Another person thinks it's a replacement for personal firewalls. Then another person agrees with him and a chain reaction of very bad advice ensues. Read all about it in this blog article.


by John Savill,

Q: How can I check the health of my Group Policy Objects (GPOs) in Windows Server 2003?

Find the answer at

Security Forum: Antivirus Solutions

A forum participant runs a network that consists of the main site plus eight remote sites. All the remote locations connect to the main site via T1 circuits and route through the main site's network out to the Internet for Web and email. The company doesn't have an in-house email server. The forum participant wonders whether anyone can recommend an antivirus solution to protect the entire enterprise, which includes about 107 employees. Join the discussion at:


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

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Intrusion Detection for 100Mbps Networks

Arxceo announced a new addition to its line of network security appliances, Ally ip100, which provides antireconnaissance and anomaly- and behavior-based attack detection and prevention for 100Mbps networks. It's designed for perimeter protection and enterprise 100BaseT segments, such as 802.11a/b/g wireless networks or T1/DS1 remote offices. Ally ip100 runs on embedded Linux 2.6.11 and provides a Web-based interface for administrative tasks. Pop-up alerts are provided via SNMP and a Windows-based client application. Ally ip100's retail price is $895. For more information, go to

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