Security UPDATE--How Security Ripple Effects Affect You--April 4, 2007


Email Discovery and Compliance

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IN FOCUS: How Security Ripple Effects Affect You


- Animated Cursors Being Used to Infiltrate Windows

- Kaspersky on Keyloggers

- SANS Launches Security Certification for Programmers

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities


- Security Matters Blog: Linux on the Desktop

- FAQ: Extracting Standalone Update Files

- From the Forum: Are XP Guest Logons Hack Attempts?

- Tell Us About the Products You Love!

- Share Your Security Tips

- Microsoft Learning Paths for Security: Securing Your Messaging Infrastructure


- Free Internet Security Product for Home Use




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=== IN FOCUS: How Security Ripple Effects Affect You


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

Like so many things, network security is subject to ripple effects such that one action (or lack of action) can cause a significant change elsewhere. One case in point is software development. When developers write less-than-secure code, that impact is far reaching. For the enterprise, at a minimum, it typically means a lot more work for administrators. Of course, the impact can be much more severe and reach nearly every corner of the enterprise--information could leak, systems could be hijacked, the corporate image could suffer, and the list goes on.

The obvious solution is to get programmers to write better code. A news story on our Web site, "SANS Launches Security Certification for Programmers" (you can link to it in the Security News and Features section below), discusses a new testing and certification program that could have a positive ripple effect. If you're a programmer, even as a hobby, be sure to read the story and click the links. You'll find some practice tests that might help you, and you'll find out how you can become certified.

Another case in point is inadequate system security resulting in malware infestation and spam. When companies don't protect their systems adequately, those systems are bound to become infiltrated by malware. Most blackhats these days don't develop and spread malware just to idle or destroy a few companies' data or systems. Today's malware has a wider range of purposes, one of which is to make money by sending spam. So when your company slacks off on security and becomes infected with malware, that could very well result in an increase in spam for people all over the world.

I read an interesting story last week at The Register (URL below) about systems inside the networks of very well-known companies sending spam. Obviously those companies aren't taking care of security as best they could. Among the guilty companies identified were HP, Oracle, and Best Buy.

The Register's story is based on data collected by Support Intelligence, a security monitoring solution provider. Support Intelligence operates a number of spam traps and analyzes the headers of email messages received by those traps. That header data includes the IP addresses of the mail servers used to transmit the message, and those addresses can be used to identify the operator of the network that uses the addresses.

Support Intelligence's blog says that the company is using its spam trap data to identify Fortune 1000 companies that have bots operating inside their networks. Support Intelligence goes on to say that it will continue publishing its findings "until corporate America is clean."

If Fortune 1000 companies clean up their networks, everyone will most likely receive far less spam, and that's a good thing. However the same holds true for any other company, and it's a real shame that companies have to be publicly embarrassed by news outlets such as The Register and companies such as Support Intelligence before they'll do what they should already be doing. That holds especially true for companies such as Oracle and HP, both of which would like us to think of them as pinnacles of best practice and leaders in various areas of security.

If you're interested in this particular spam monitoring trend, keep an eye on the Support Intelligence blog, at the URL below.



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Animated Cursors Being Used to Infiltrate Windows

Microsoft issued an advisory about exploits that take advantage of a flaw in the way animated cursor (.ani) files are handled in Windows. The company followed the advisory with a patch (a week ahead of the regularly scheduled monthly Microsoft patches) for the vulnerability.

Kaspersky on Keyloggers

Kaspersky Lab released the first of a two-part report about keyloggers, which pose a considerable threat when they go undetected.

SANS Launches Security Certification for Programmers

SANS Institute launched the Software Security Institute, a certification program designed to help assess software developers' ability to write secure code.

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

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SECURITY MATTERS BLOG: Linux on the Desktop

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

Dell said it will soon start offering Linux on desktop and notebook systems. My recent experience with Linux on Dell notebooks has been interesting.

FAQ: Extracting Standalone Update Files

by John Savill,

Q: How can I extract the files from a Windows Vista Microsoft Update Standalone Package (MSU)?

Find the answer at

FROM THE FORUM: Are XP Guest Logons Hack Attempts?

A forum participant writes, "I'm no newbie to using event viewer, and typically it's an important tool for my daily assessment of what's going on with my \[Windows\] XP computer. I realize \[that\] occasionally XP will use the system account to log on and do routine maintenance. But have any of you ever seen XP cite instances of 'guest' logging in and out, especially when the 'guest' account is disabled?" Join the discussion at


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MICROSOFT LEARNING PATHS FOR SECURITY: Securing Your Messaging Infrastructure

These resources provide guidance on securing your messaging infrastructure, including best practices for message hygiene technologies and configuration strategies. You'll also get an in-depth look at the Microsoft Forefront line of business security products, which help protect application servers such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.



by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Free Internet Security Product for Home Use

eEye Digital Security announced the release of its latest version of Blink Personal Internet Security with Anti-virus and is offering a free one-year subscription for personal or home office use in the United States and Canada. Blink Personal has multiple antivirus engines, detects and removes spyware and adware, guards against phishing and identity theft, has system and application firewalls, prevents intrusion and protects against remote attacks, detects missing patches for applications and OSs, and detects configuration settings that lower system security. eEye says the offer is for a limited time, for one installation per customer. To download Blink Personal, go to



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