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Security UPDATE--Copying Files Securely Between Systems--October 12, 2005

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1. In Focus: Copying Files Securely Between Systems

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- Microsoft Releases 9 Security Bulletins in October

- Microsoft Announces New Products and New Consortium

- Microsoft Brings Antimalware Tech to Corporations

- Symantec to Acquire BindView

- 10 Network Security Assessment Tools You Can't Live Without

3. Security Toolkit

- Security Matters Blog


- Security Forum Featured Thread

4. New and Improved

- Freeze Workstation Configurations


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==== 1. In Focus: Copying Files Securely Between Systems

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

If you need to copy files from one system to another over an unprotected network, you can do it in a few ways. For example, you can employ the RRAS component that comes with Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Server to establish a VPN that uses PPTP; you can use Microsoft IIS and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections along with a custom Web interface; or you can use Secure Shell (SSH). There are other ways to accomplish this task, but these are probably the most common solutions.

If you're interested in setting up RRAS and PPTP, you can find instructions in the Microsoft article "Step-by-Step Guide for Setting Up a PPTP-based Site-to-Site VPN Connection in a Test Lab" (URL below). This is a good solution, especially if you want to use the VPN for other tasks.

Using IIS and SSL is simple enough, but it does require you to design a Web interface that meets your needs. For example, designing for downloading files is easy enough, but you'll need a script or ActiveX control for uploading files. This method also requires that you expose the IIS system to some extent, which you might not want to do.

The third method, using an SSH server, might be a better solution. SSH servers provide encrypted transports between clients and servers by using a variety of encryption methods, including Triple DES (3DES), Blowfish, CAST (named after its developers Carlisle Adams and Stafford Tavares), Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), and possibly others, depending on the software you use. Another benefit is that SSH can use public keys instead of passwords to authenticate a session. Plus, SSH servers offer cross-platform support--versions are available for just about every popular OS, including Linux and BSD, as well as Sun Microsystems and Apple platforms.

By using SSH, you can not only copy files securely, you can also open a secure Telnet session (using a special shell client) to a remote server, which might come in handy for remote administration. In addition, you can tunnel unencrypted services over SSH connections. For example, by using port forwarding, you can run SQL traffic, POP3 traffic, and many other types of service traffic over SSH connections.

Several commercial and open-source SSH servers are available for Windows. If you want a robust commercial solution, check out the products at SSH Communications Security (at the first URL below) or AttachmateWRQ (at the second URL below). If you want an open-source solution, consider OpenSSH for Windows (at the third URL below) or freeSSHd (at the fourth URL below). Both open-source solutions can run as a system service; freeSSHd offers a simple GUI interface, OpenSSH doesn't.

If you run Windows 2003, a step-by-step tutorial is available to help you install OpenSSH for Windows. "Installing OpenSSH for Windows 2003 Server - How to get it working," by Steve Pillinger, senior computer officer at the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham in England, describes how to set up user accounts, assign user rights, set file permissions, and configure authentication.

If you run Win2K Server, you can use Beau Monday's step-by-step guide, "Configuring OpenSSH (Win32) for Public Key Authentication." His guide is equally detailed and includes information about how to configure PuTTY, which is an open-source SSH command-line client for Windows platforms. The PuTTY package also includes a PuTTY Secure Copy (PSCP) client. If you use Monday's guide, take note that his link to OpenSSH for Windows is broken. The project has relocated to SourceForge, and you can find it by using the second URL below.

I've used the PuTTY PSCP client quite a bit, and even though it's a good tool, I prefer a GUI because it saves me a whole lot of typing. With a GUI, you can copy files using simple drag-and-drop techniques, and you can typically navigate directories in a treeview similar to that of Windows Explorer. As an alternative to PuTTY, you might consider WinSCP (at the URL below) for file-copying tasks. WinSCP supports both Secure Copy (SCP) and Secure FTP (SFTP).


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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 Releases 9 Security Bulletins in October

Microsoft released nine security bulletins yesterday. Eight of them relate to patches for Windows and one relates to a patch for Windows and Microsoft Exchange Server. Of the nine, Microsoft considers at least one to be critical.

Microsoft Announces New Products and New Consortium

After acquiring antivirus, antispyware, and antispam solution makers, Microsoft has finally announced its new antimalware product plans along with a new security consortium.

Microsoft Brings Antimalware Tech to Corporations

As promised, Microsoft will soon introduce a beta version of its antispyware and antivirus tools for managed corporate networks, giving enterprises the tools they need to remove malware on client PCs and file servers.

Symantec to Acquire BindView

Further strengthening its position in the security market space, Symantec announced a deal to acquire BindView. The acquisition, which is expected to close in first quarter 2006, better positions Symantec to offer end-to-end security solutions for policy compliance and vulnerability management.

10 Network Security Assessment Tools You Can't Live Without

Jerry Cochran describes his favorite penetration-testing tools, including Nmap and SNMPWalk, and encourages you to use them on your network--before the hackers do. After you read this article, tell us your network security assessment story and win a Windows IT Pro T-shirt. Just click in the Interact! box on the article Web page.


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

Security Matters Blog: Nematodes: Worms That Help Your Networks

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

Would you unleash a worm on your networks if that worm was designed to protect the networks instead of infiltrate them? Dave Aitel thinks you would, and that was the subject of his presentation at the latest Hack in the Box conference in Malaysia. Read more about it in this blog entry.


by John Savill,

Q: Can I change the type of logging that Active Directory (AD) uses?

Find the answer at

Security Forum Featured Thread: How to Automate Setting ACLs on Folders

Drew is trying to verify folder security on his file servers. He's running into many inconsistencies with folder permissions and wants to know if there's a script he can run to adjust the permissions. For example, all his users have a home directory on one of his file servers. He wants to set the ACL on each home directory folder to allow the user, administrators, and System account to have full control. Join the discussion at:


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

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Freeze Workstation Configurations

Faronics Technologies announces the official release of Deep Freeze 5.5 Standard, Professional, and Enterprise editions. Deep Freeze protects original computer configurations. No matter what changes a user makes to a workstation, when he or she restarts the system, Deep Freeze eradicates all the changes and resets the computer to its original state. Deep Freeze 5.5's new features include enhanced compatibility when deployed as part of a master image, the ability to specify login information for executing custom scripts during scheduled maintenance periods, and enhanced password security. For more information, go to

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