Select Page

Speedtest: The new Speedtest beta seems to work like a charm, looks wicked cool, and you can share the results. Link here.

WiFi help: Setting up more Wireless Access Points and need to test signal strength on a “g” network with a Pocket PC or Laptop? Try NetStumbler, here.

Vmware tool: Russian Veeam Software developed an app to monitor the performance and resource usage of all the virtual machines running on VMware SV or WS. Free version for personal use. Link here.

New Exchange list: Microsoft just put up their Exchange 2007 Beta Wiki. They called it… “ExchangeNinjas”. I guess we should be flattered.  Link here

Top Ten Active Directory Tips: The inner workings of Active Directory can get so complex, it can drive an admin crazy. Not to fear, though. No one is more adept at the technical side of AD than expert, Gary Olsen. Here we have gathered Gary’s ten best tips from the past year, as rated by SearchWinIT readers. Link here. (free registration required). 

FAQ: Exchange Server Non-delivery Reports:  Exchange Server non-delivery reports (NDRs) indicate e-mail delivery issues due to non-existent, inactive or expired accounts, misspelled e-mail addresses, poor spam filter configuration, and other causes. Get tips on enabling and disabling NDRs, and learn how to decipher and troubleshoot NDR messages in this collection of expert advice. Link here. (free registration required)

VMware Users Worry About VM Sprawl: Server virtualization makes it easy as pie to deploy a new system — maybe a little bit too easy, say industry observers. Can you ever have too much of a good thing? Server virtualization fans are wildly enthusiastic, but even some true believers are worried about how quickly scads of virtual machines (VMs) are being added to corporate IT environments. “We love VMware,” said Tom Dugan, director of technical services at Recovery Networks, an outsourced business continuity provider in Philadelphia. Even so, he’s worried about managing an ever-increasing sprawl of VMs. More here.

SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Hurdles: Before upgrading to SQL Server 2005, consider this collection of potential migration hurdles and pitfalls, from parameters that may cause blocking to default settings that are no longer supported in the new DBMS. Link here

Gartner: Top 5 Steps to Dramatically Limit Data Loss
Public exposure of private data is becoming a regular occurrence, but the majority of these incidents can be prevented if companies implement the proper security best practices, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner analysts have identified the top 5 steps to prevent data loss and information leaks. The top 5 steps to prevent data loss and information leaks are the following:

  1. Deploy Content Monitoring and Filtering (CMF). A CMF solution monitors all outbound network traffic and generates alerts regarding (or sometimes blocks) activity based on inspecting the data in network sessions. CMF tools monitor common channels, including e-mail, IM, FTP, HTTP and Web mail (interpreting the HTTP for specific Web mail services) and look for policy violations based on a variety of techniques. (Sunbelt Messaging Ninja will have a content filtering plug-in before the end of the year)
  2. Encrypt Backup Tapes and (Possibly) Mass Storage. Gartner analysts highly doubt that many of the reported lost backup tapes containing consumer records eventually result in fraud. However, because there is no way to know for sure, companies have to assume exposure anyway. Encryption can ensure that the data will still be safe.
  3. Secure Workstations, Restrict Home Computers and Lock Portable Storage. Workstations and laptops can be a major source of loss, especially when a poorly configured or out-of-date enterprise or home computer is compromised by a virus or worm, and by losing portable storage media, such as a Universal Serial Bus (USB) drive or CD-ROM. “There’s really no excuse for not keeping an enterprise system up-to-date with the latest patches, a personal firewall, antivirus and anti-spyware software,” Mr. Mogull said. “These precautions alone will prevent the vast majority of commonly encountered Internet attacks.”
  4. Encrypt Laptops. If organizations give employees portable computers, employees will store sensitive data on it. Policies don’t matter: Users will always use the tools they acquire, and sensitive data will always end up in unexpected places.
  5. Deploy Database Activity Monitoring. Most organizations struggle to secure existing databases that are rarely designed with effective security controls. While companies eventually need to encrypt some of the data in their databases, database activity monitoring is a powerful security control that’s easier to implement and more viable than encryption for many types of data.

Preventing Users from Disabling a Screen Saver
(This is a really useful tip I ran into from Randy Franklin Smith’s newsletter from the UltimateWindowsSecurity site).

Q: How can I prevent my users from disabling the password-protected screensaver that I configure when setting up new systems?

A: If your computers and user accounts are part of an Active Directory (AD) domain, you can use one Group Policy Object (GPO) to deploy a policy to all your users that prevents them from disabling the screen saver. If you don’t use AD, you’ll need to configure the setting in the local GPO of each computer.

Whether editing a GPO in AD or a computer’s local GPO, maneuver to the User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesControl PanelDisplay folder in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Group Policy Object Editor and enable the “Hide Screen Saver tab” policy. Now when users open the Display applet in Control Panel, the Screen Saver tab just won’t be there for them to access. Note that the Display folder also contains other policies that enable you to configure the screen saver itself as well as its timeout value and other parameters.

This Security Q&A originally appeared in the Windows IT Security newsletter’s Access Denied column.  You can subscribe here.