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Security UPDATE--IE 7.0 and Windows Vista Bring More Secure Communications--November 2, 2005

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1. In Focus: IE 7.0 and Windows Vista Bring More Secure Communications

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- Problems with Microsoft's October Security Updates

- Voice over IP Security Taking Shape

3. Security Toolkit

- Security Matters Blog


- Security Forum Featured Thread

4. New and Improved

- Endpoint Compliance Without Client Software


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==== 1. In Focus: IE 7.0 and Windows Vista Bring More Secure Communications

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

Microsoft's IEBlog is published by the development team that works on Internet Explorer (IE). As such, the blog contains interesting information about what we might see in future versions of the browser.

On October 22, the IE development team published an article that outlines a few changes Microsoft is making with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). Current versions of IE support SSL 2.0, SSL 3.0, and TLS 1.0, all of which can be enabled or disabled (select Internet Options from the Tools menu, go to the Advanced tab, and scroll down to the Security section). In IE 6.0, SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0 are enabled and TLS 1.0 is disabled--at least that's the configuration in my default installations. However, SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 are much more secure than SSL 2.0; therefore, Microsoft has decided that in IE 7.0, SSL 2.0 will be disabled by default and SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 will be enabled by default. Many Web sites use SSL 2.0, so the changes in IE might cause connection problems for users unless sites begin offering SSL 3.0 before IE 7.0 enters widespread use.

Another major change is the way certificates will be handled. IE 7.0 will initially block access to sites whose certificates weren't issued by a trusted root or whose certificates have expired or been revoked. Under the first two conditions, the browser will offer the user the option of connecting anyway but not if the certificate has been revoked. In addition, the browser won't show nonsecure content on sites whose pages use both secure and nonsecure content unless the user explicitly unblocks the nonsecure content.

Windows Vista will also bring changes to secure communications. With Vista, we'll finally see the use of 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to secure HTTP traffic. Vista will also use the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OSCP) for speedier certificate status checking and will implement some extensions to TLS that are outlined in Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 3546.

Web site administrators need to be aware of these upcoming features in IE and Vista and take the necessary steps towards compatibility. Otherwise you're bound to run into problems in the future, particularly with certificates used on systems that host virtual domains, due to server name parsing and other issues.

You can learn more about these issues in IEBlog. You can also read a long list of comments and concerns from the blog's readers and post your own comments. If you want to learn more about the cryptography in Windows Vista, a video of an interview with Tomas Palmer and Tolga Acar (cryptography program managers at Microsoft) is available at MSDN.

If you're interested in information about Outlook Express (which incidentally has been renamed Windows Mail) in Windows Vista, be sure to read Windows Mail developer Bryan Starbuck's blog for plenty of insight regarding antispam features and more. You can also watch another video interview at MSDN with the developers and testers of Windows Mail in which they discuss the new mail client.


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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

Problems with Microsoft's October Security Updates

Earlier this month, Microsoft published Security Bulletins MS05-050 and MS05-051 as part of its regular monthly security patch release schedule. In some instances, systems might still be vulnerable after installing a patch or administrators might find that various important services don't start. Find out more in this news article on our Web site.

Voice over IP Security Taking Shape

The Voice over IP Security Alliance (VOIPSA) released its security framework, which the alliance hopes will help the industry identify and mitigate potential threats to VoIP technology.


==== Resources and Events ====

What Does It Mean to Be Compliant?

We've all heard about legal and regulatory requirements, but there are other types of compliance that might also affect you--specifically email compliance. In this free Web seminar, you'll get insights into compliance and policy issues that you need to know about, as well as suggestions on what to look for when implementing your compliance strategy, and more. Register today!

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Exploit the Opportunities of a Wireless Fleet

With the endless array of mobile and wireless devices and applications, it's hard to decide what you can do with the devices beyond providing mobile email access. It's even tougher to know how to keep it all secure. Join industry guru Randy Franklin Smith in this free Web seminar and discover what you should do to leverage your mobile and wireless infrastructure, how to pick devices that are right for you, and more!


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

Security Matters Blog: Martin Roesch on Snort's Past, Present, and Future

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

Ever wonder how the intrusion detection and prevention system Snort got started and where it might be going in the future? Snort creator Martin Roesch tells you all about it in an 18-minute audio interview.


by John Savill,

Q: How can I determine the logged-on user's distinguished name (DN)?

Find the answer at

Security Forum Featured Thread: Allow POP Email but Not Internet Access

A forum participant has several clients with Windows 2000 boxes that need to get POP email on TCP ports 110 and 25. The users aren't supposed to have Internet access, but the machines need to get automatic antivirus software updates via the Internet. Join the discussion at


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

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Endpoint Compliance Without Client Software

ENDFORCE announced version 2.5 of its ENDFORCE Enterprise endpoint security policy enforcement solution. ENDFORCE Enterprise now includes a clientless Web agent that assesses unmanaged endpoints. Businesses can direct unmanaged endpoint users to a Web site where their system downloads an ActiveX component and undergoes a one-time assessment before gaining access to the network. Version 2.5 also gives companies the ability to send alerts to individuals and third-party monitoring systems, such as HP OpenView, based on compliance state changes and enforcement actions. For more information, go to

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