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Security UPDATE--In Focus: Keeping Private Information Private--April 6, 2005

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1. In Focus: Keeping Private Information Private

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- New Alliance Automates Attack Mitigation

- Bug Hunting for Mozilla Pays

- Attack Shield Worm Suppression

3. Security Toolkit

- Security Matters Blog


- Security Forum Featured Thread

4. New and Improved

- Isolating Internet Activity


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==== 1. In Focus: Keeping Private Information Private ====

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

You might have read the somewhat recent news stories about people's private information being either stolen or leaked from four different entities. One incident involved consumer data collector ChoicePoint, which somehow managed to divulge the personal information of more than 140,000 people. It took the company quite some time to determine how many people's data was actually leaked.

Another incident involved LexisNexis. Intruders managed to break in to the company's computer systems, where they gained access to roughly 32,000 people's private information. Intruders also broke in to the computer systems of Chico State University (California) and gained access to the private information of nearly 60,000 people. And a laptop went missing from the University of California, Berkeley. As you might suspect, the laptop contained private information--of more than 96,000 people.

These stories boggle the mind. In the first three incidents, the computers were accessed through the Internet. Crucial systems that, if breached, would affect thousands or even millions of people should under no circumstances be accessible via the Internet. There are other ways to provide necessary access to the information without adding the gigantic risk of a global open network. The Internet serves a fantastic and incredibly useful purpose. However, I don't think part of that purpose should include connecting every computing device on the planet. Intrusion incidents seem to make that notion very clear.

The incident at Berkeley points out a different problem that has a simple solution. Don't keep sensitive information, such as the private information of more than 96,000 people, on a system that can be stolen by anybody capable of lifting a few pounds of weight. Even though the stolen laptop was supposedly in a "secure" area, it went missing. This incident points out the need for people to consider exactly what they keep on mobile computers, why they think they need to keep the data on such devices, and the worst-case scenarios of the computer and data being lost.

People could argue that even a regular large server could be stolen. That's true. But someone is much more conspicuous walking out of a secure area with a big heavy computer box. On the contrary, anybody can hide a laptop in a briefcase or backpack or under a jacket. In addition, regular computers and rack-mounted systems can be bolted into place such that they can't easily be taken or their covers removed to gain access to their internal devices, such as hard drives.


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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

New Alliance Automates Attack Mitigation

A new alliance of network service providers, hosting companies, and educational institutions have joined together to automate attack mitigation. The Fingerprint Sharing Alliance, developed by Arbor Networks, is based on the company's Peakflow SP solution and lets alliance members share attack-fingerprint information to more quickly thwart attacks.

Bug Hunting for Mozilla Pays

Mozilla Foundation's Bug Bounty Program pays researchers to find security problems in Mozilla software. This week, the company awarded $2500 to German bug hunter Michael Krax.

Attack Shield Worm Suppression

Sana Security's Attack Shield Worm Suppression (WS) is a software- only solution to protect workstations from worms that spread via buffer-overflow attacks. The software operates only when an exploit makes a system call. So although it prevents exploits from using a buffer overflow for actions such as privilege escalation and file- system access, it won't protect against buffer overflows that cause a crash by corrupting memory. Read the rest of Adam Carheden's mini- review on our Web site.


==== Resources and Events ====

Meet the Risks of Instant Messaging Head On in This Free Web Seminar

Don't overlook IM in your compliance planning. Attend this free Web seminar and learn how to minimize IM's authentication and auditability risks and prevent security dangers. You'll also receive a list of the top requirements to consider when choosing a secure IM solution. Sign up now!

Get Ready for SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in a City Near You

Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database computing environment. Receive a 1-year membership to PASS and 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!

Windows Connections 2005 Conference

April 17-20, 2005, Hyatt Regency, San Francisco. Microsoft and Windows experts present over 40 in-depth sessions with real-world solutions you can take back and apply today. Don't miss Mark Minasi's entertaining and insightful keynote presentation on "The State of Windows" and your chance to win a 7-night Caribbean cruise! 800-505- 1201.

Overcoming "The Fiefdom Syndrome": How to Conquer the Turf Battles That Undermine Companies

Can your organization benefit by overcoming turf battles? Don't miss this opportunity to hear Robert J. Herbold, former COO of Microsoft and author of "The Fiefdom Syndrome," and Jim Davis, Senior VP, SAS. Join Business Finance in welcoming these thought leaders on Tuesday, April 19th at 11:00 a.m. EST. Register here:

Keeping Critical Applications Running in a Distributed Environment

Get up to speed fast with solid tactics you can use to fix problems you're likely to encounter as your network grows in geographic distribution and complexity, learn how to keep your network's critical applications running, and discover the best approaches for planning for future needs. Don't miss this exclusive opportunity--register now!


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

Security Matters Blog

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

RookitRevealer Is Now a Moving Target

RookitRevealer is a new tool from Sysinternals that can help sniff out rootkits. Rootkit designers quickly started creating ways to hide their rootkits from RootkitRevealer, so last week, Sysinternals released a new version that uses random executable names to make the tool a moving target.


by John Savill,

Q: How can I move users between forests?

Find the answer at

Security Forum Featured Thread: File Permissions on an Archive Server

A forum participant has a Windows NT archive server on which files and folders are created, moved, and deleted regularly. He would like all the root folders on the server to automatically be created with read only permission for regular users, but he'd like the files and folders below the root folders to have full permission for regular users. Join the discussion at


==== Announcements ====

(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

Check Out the New Windows IT Security Newsletter!

Security Administrator is now Windows IT Security. We've expanded our content to include even more fundamentals on building and maintaining a secure enterprise. Each issue also features product coverage of the best security tools available and expert advice on the best way to implement various security components. Plus, paid subscribers get online access to our entire security article database! Click here to try a sample issue today:


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

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Isolating Internet Activity

GreenBorder Technologies announced the availability of GreenBorder, software that transparently isolates Internet activity performed through Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Outlook from the desktop OS, user files, and the enterprise network. GreenBorder protects against damage, theft, and hijacking by Internet-delivered malicious code that uses HTTP or SMTP to break into the desktop. When users log off, GreenBorder automatically flushes the remnants of any Internet activity, including code, files, and cookies. GreenBorder Professional Edition has a desktop agent and a management server that provides centralized configuration, deployment, and reporting. GreenBorder Personal Edition will be available free for download beginning this month. For more information, go to

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 Windows IT Security 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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