Hyperbole, Embellishment, and Systems Administration Blog

Feb 26, 2014
blog

How can you ensure that BYOD user devices are secure?

How can you ensure that BYOD user devices are secure? In all seriousness, you can’t. I sometimes wonder if the BYOD movement, apart from its sloganeering about “empowering users” is really saying “hey, lets devolve the cost of device management onto employees and hope for the best”....More
Feb 19, 2014
blog

Configure privileged accounts to expire

You should strongly consider enabling the Account Expires option when creating administrator accounts. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the primary one is to make sure that sensitive accounts don’t persist when no one needs them. If someone is still using an account that has expired or is about to, it’s fairly straightforward to modify the Account Expires option....More
Feb 14, 2014
blog

Security: Ingredient, not icing.

A recent survey by Trustwave https://www2.trustwave.com/2014-security-pressures-report.html found that 80% of IT Pros reported being pressured to deploy IT projects into production environments before they’d been able to resolve all security issues....More
Feb 11, 2014
blog

Form follows function

Form follows function is a principle of architecture. The idea is that the shape of an object is based on its function. That there’s a “best” shape for an object used for a particular task. That’s probably why things like hammers, shovels, and screwdrivers haven’t changed much in the last 80 or so years....More
Jan 13, 2014
blog

What’s happening with Network Access Protection?

The TechNet article tells the stark truth, NAP in Windows Server 2012 R2 is “deprecated”. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn303411.aspx. The technology designed to ensure that only healthy clients connected to protected internal network is now not going to be the focus of new features or development. Deprecated is a weird term. It might mean that it’s not available in the next iteration of Windows Server, or that it might be available in versions years from now....More
Jan 10, 2014
blog

Not Just XP, you need to migrate from Windows Server 2003 and 2003 R2

Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 reach the end of extended support on July 14 2015. By this stage everyone is aware that the Windows XP end of life is just around the corner. Even though people are aware of it, there are still many computers out there running the “soon to be unsuported” OS....More
Jan 6, 2014
blog

The more time you spend understanding the problem, the less time you’ll need to spend solving it.

I’ve often heard the joke that all there is to IT troubleshooting is doing a bit of diagnosis to develop a description of the problem, plugging the relevant terms into a search engine, and applying whatever solution turns up as the result of the search. While a search engine is a powerful solution finding tool, most IT pros will have exhausted a few other avenues before they type a query into Google....More
Dec 15, 2013
Commentary

Administrator accounts with passwords that don't expire 2

Some administrators configure their accounts so that their password never expires....More
Dec 9, 2013
blog

Perennial Problems with Website Passwords

Another week, another breech reported, and another round of changing password on a number of website across the internet....More
Dec 4, 2013
blog

A simple step to improve security: Fix permissions.

If you think about the most publicized data breaches in the last few years, specifically Manning and Snowden, you’ll realize that these weren’t perpetrated by nefarious hacker collectives such as Anonymous, but were instead perpetrated by insiders with political agendas....More
Dec 2, 2013
blog

Congruence Bias, Systems Administrators, and Troubleshooting

90% of Systems Administration is the art of troubleshooting. “Art” because most systems administrators I know practice troubleshooting through inspiration rather than deductive insight. It often isn’t a matter of assessing all possible evidence about a problem and then deducing the answer. Generally most systems administrators (and I’m guilty of this myself) jump to a conclusion about the cause of a problem based on some of the clues we see....More
Nov 26, 2013
blog

Thinking about Security: The truth about dishonesty

Dan Airley has done a great video on the impact of micro versus macro dishonesty. You can watch it here: http://vimeo.com/49462153 - the gist is that large number of people being dishonest in a minor way have a greater impact than a small number of people undertaking major dishonest actions. He tested 30,000 people. The results of the experiment found 12 “big” cheaters and 18,000 “small” cheaters. The impact of the big cheaters was around $150. The impact of the “small” cheaters was around $32,000....More
Nov 21, 2013
blog

Bitcoin mining malware

Malware is a business. Yes, there are malware authors out there who are just mucking about and doing it for the “lulz”, but today’s operating systems are sophisticated and coming up with the code to infect a computer is difficult and time consuming....More
Nov 10, 2013
blog

Why Not Surface-To-Go? 2

Windows To Go is an implementation of Windows 8/Windows 8.1 Enterprise edition that allows you to boot and run the OS off a special USB stick. You can install both desktop and metro apps and use it as a normal computer. When I’m training, I use it to boot the instructor computer out of the OS that has been deployed by the training company....More
Oct 30, 2013
blog

Ephemeral issues can trump technical and financial ones

Revelation and speculation about the access of intelligence services will hamper cloud adoption....More
Oct 21, 2013
blog

Surface RT 8.0 Recovery Image available

The Windows RT 8.0 recovery image is available for users who are experiencing problems upgrading to Windows RT 8.1...More
Oct 15, 2013
blog

An interpretation of the hoopla about Microsoft Security Essentials

MSE provides a baseline against which to compare other solutions. If you’re going to fork over money for a product, you want the product that you are going to fork over money for to be better than what you can get for free...More
Oct 10, 2013
blog

Vendor roadmaps are predictions not prophecy.

What vendors think the future is going to look like is their prediction. Just like the smartest science fiction writers were wildly inaccurate on what the future looked like, there’s no reason to assume that the accuracy of vendors is going to be much better....More
Sep 25, 2013
blog

Mobile Device Platform Lock-in is Ephemeral 1

I'm suspicious about the idea of lock in as I know a number of people that switch between mobile phone operating systems more quickly than they change hair styles....More
Sep 23, 2013
blog

Hypothesizing a Windows Intune backup client.

How do you ensure that data stored on BYO devices is getting backed up?...More
What's Hyperbole, Embellishment, and Systems Administration Blog?

IT pro Orin Thomas provides true tales, snafus, news, and urban legends for Microsoft Windows system administrators.

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Orin Thomas

Orin Thomas is a contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and a Windows Security MVP. He has authored or coauthored more than thirty books for Microsoft Press, founded the Melbourne System Center,...
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