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1. In Focus: New Reports on UTM and IPS Solutions
2. Security News and Features
- Recent Security Vulnerabilities
- Microsoft Updates Bulletins MS05-052 and MS05-038
- Support for Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000 to Change Soon
- Windows Live Safety Center
3. Security Toolkit
- Security Matters Blog
- Security Forum Featured Thread
4. New and Improved
- UTM Tool Gets 2 Antivirus Engines
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==== 1. In Focus: New Reports on UTM and IPS Solutions
by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net
The NSS Group, which I've written about before, analyzes hardware-based security solutions and produces in-depth reports that cover the products' performance and capabilities. The group uses specialized equipment in a controlled environment for its analysis and has reviewed high-performance Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPSs), Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs), and application firewalls. You can find previous articles about the group's reports at our Web site.
Recently, The NSS Group released two new reports: Unified Threat Management (UTM) and IPS Group Test (Edition 3). The UTM report is the group's first report on products in this category. It looks at unified security solutions that include firewall, VPN, IDS/IPS, antivirus, antispam, URL filtering, and content filtering components. Of the six vendors that agreed to take part in the tests, two had products that weren't ready in time and two others had products that failed the group's stringent testing. The end result was that only two products passed the overall UTM tests: Fortinet FortiGate-3600 and Internet Security Systems (ISS) Proventia M50.
IPS Group Test (Edition 3) is The NSS Group's third report on IPSs. The group reported that products in this classification have improved since last year in terms of performance, stating that "whereas last year we were seeing top speeds of 1-2Gbps, this year we are starting to see devices that can go well beyond that limit and which are looking over-engineered for Gigabit environments." Even so, four of the twelve products submitted by vendors for testing failed the overall tests, leaving eight products to receive an NSS Approved rating. Those products are Cisco IPS-4255 5.0(3), Cisco IPS-4240 5.0(3), Intoto IntruPro 3.0, Juniper Networks IDP 600F 3.1, NFR Sentivist Smart Sensor 100C, Radware DefensePro-3000 2.43, Symantec SNS 7160 220.127.116.11, and Westline Athena Aegis IPS 510L 2.1.
The NSS Group also said that because product performance has improved significantly, the group will begin testing multigigabit Ethernet IPSs. Ten companies are signed up for the tests, which begin this month. That report should be interesting to those of you who must deal with super-high-speed networks.
The NSS Group's reports reveal a lot about the performance characteristics of particular products (which of course is a huge aid in buying decisions) and about how to test such products. For example, the group uses specialized hardware and software from Spirent Communications to generate and measure high volumes of network traffic. The group also uses tools that might be common in your own environments, such as Cisco Systems Catalyst switches. And you might be interested to know that the group uses Tcpreplay (at the first URL below) and Tomahawk (at the second URL below), both of which are open-source tools that you can easily obtain.
Tcpreplay lets you replay previously captured traffic and modify packets. Tomahawk also lets you replay network traffic and generates large volumes of traffic for stress testing. You could use both tools to test the effectiveness of your particular IPS or IDS.
Overall, I think you'll find the new reports very interesting and valuable, particularly if you're evaluating new high-end security solutions. You can read the full reports online (at the URL below) and purchase copies in PDF format or as printed and bound reports.
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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 Updates Bulletin MS05-052
On November 2, Microsoft published a revision of its security bulletin MS05-052--Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (896688), alerting people that problems related to the patch have been addressed. The bulletin, which was originally issued October 11, was revised because a ActiveX controls didn't always load as expected after customers installed the original patch.
Support for Exchange 5.5 and Exchange 2000 to Change Soon
Extended support for Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 and mainstream support for Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server are available through December 31. You can purchase an extended support agreement for Exchange 2000 in the first 90 days of 2006.
Windows Live Safety Center
Microsoft's Windows Live initiative will offer a Safety Center, where you can go to clean unwanted software off your system and have system performance evaluated. The Safety Center, currently in beta, works with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 and requires Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 or MSN 9.0. http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/48346
==== Resources and Events ====
Get Ready for the SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe--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 one-year membership to PASS and one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now.
Are You Really Prepared for Disaster Recovery?
Join industry guru Liam Colvin in this free Web seminar and get the tips you need to validate your disaster recovery data. You'll learn if your backup and restore data is worth staking your career on, what type of geo-clustering is right for you, which response to use in crisis situations, and more!
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If your organization is considering or has already begun migrating your operating system to Windows XP, this Web seminar is for you. Sign up for this free event and you'll learn how to efficiently migrate your applications into the Windows Installer (.msi) format, how to prepare them for error-free deployment, what steps you need to follow to package your applications quickly and correctly, and more!
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Inaccurate information about software usage causes many organizations to either overspend and buy licenses they don't use, or underspend and deny some end users access to the software they need. Attend this free Web seminar and get a 5-step plan for quickly implementing a license management program today!
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, suggestions on what to look for when implementing your compliance strategy, and more. Register today!
Deploy VoIP and FoIP Technologies
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the future of telecommunications, and many companies are already enjoying the benefits of using VoIP networks to significantly reduce telephone and facsimile costs. Join industry expert David Chernicoff for this free, on-demand Web seminar to learn the ins and outs of boardless fax in IP environments, tips for rolling out fax and integrating fax with telephony technologies, and more.
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==== 3. Security Toolkit ====
Security Matters Blog: A Clear Case of Sony Taking DRM Too Far
by Mark Joseph Edwards, http://www.windowsitpro.com/securitymatters
You bought the new Sony BMG music CD-ROM and now you own it--sort of. If you want to play it on your computer, you must use Sony's audio player, which attempts to enforce Digital Rights Management (DRM), so you install the audio player. Little do you know that you just installed what amounts to a type of rootkit. Only this rootkit isn't designed to give others full access to your system--it's designed to prevent you from having full access to your system. Read more about it in this blog entry on our Web site.
by John Savill, http://www.windowsitpro.com/windowsnt20002003faq
Q: How can I check whether a user account has certain user properties flags set?
Find the answer at
Security Forum Featured Thread: Blocking IM
A forum participant is looking for the IP addresses for the popular IM services (AOL Instant Messenger--AIM, ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger) so that he can create blocking rules for these addresses in his firewall. Join the discussion at:
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==== 4. New and Improved ====
by Renee Munshi, [email protected]
UTM Tool Gets 2 Antivirus Engines
Astaro released version 6.1 of its Astaro Security Gateway software, a Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution. The new version uses two virus scanning engines--Kaspersky and ClamAV--and adds improved spam controls. The software provides email virus, spam, and phishing protection; Web spyware and virus protection and content filtering; and firewall, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), and VPN technology in one package. Astaro also announced the Astaro Security Gateway 425 appliance, which includes the new software and a hardware acceleration card to improve virus scanning performance. Pricing starts at $330 for the software and $695 for the appliance. For more information, go to
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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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