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1. In Focus: Phishing and Pharming
2. Security News and Features
- Recent Security Vulnerabilities
- Three Previous Microsoft Security Bulletins Re-released
- Setting Up Windows Server Update Services
3. Instant Poll
4. Security Toolkit
- Security Matters Blog
5. New and Improved
- Rugged and Encrypted Laptop
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==== 1. In Focus: Phishing and Pharming ====
by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net
You've undoubtedly heard of "phishing," luring users (typically through email messages) to phony Web sites that imitate legitimate Web sites to try to trick users into divulging private information such as logon IDs, passwords, and account numbers. Phishing can lead to unauthorized monetary charges against your merchant accounts, unauthorized use of your services, and more.
Tools such as CoreStreet's SpoofStick (at first URL below) and the Netcraft Toolbar (at second URL below) can help in some cases. Both tools are add-ons for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Mozilla Firefox that try to determine and display the real domain of the site you're visiting.
Recently, hackers are combining phishing with DNS poisoning or DNS hijacking--also known as "pharming." In a pharming attack, the attacker changes DNS records of the servers at an ISP or at the company that's the target of the attack or modifies a client system's HOSTS file or DNS settings. Obviously, protecting against such attacks means devising some method of establishing trust in DNS query results. The two tools I mentioned above don't help much against pharming.
I know of three ways to help prevent pharming attacks. The first method is for a company to use a service, such as one recently announced by MarkMonitor, to monitor the company's DNS servers for unauthorized changes. When unauthorized changes are detected, MarkMonitor alerts the company so that it can begin working to correct the situation.
A second method, which is also new, is to use Next Generation Security's (NGSEC's) AntiPharming tool, which works at the client level (rather than the server level) to prevent unauthorized changes to a system's HOSTS file and local DNS settings. It also listens on the system's network interfaces to capture DNS query responses and then doublechecks those responses against "three secure DNS servers." The tool comes with three DNS servers preconfigured, and you can modify those server addresses as you see fit. The tool is available free for personal use and requires a fee for commercial use.
Another new solution, Identity Cues from Green Armor Solutions, works at the Web site level. The first time a user logs on to an Identity Cues-protected Web site, the product generates colored visual cues that will then appear each time the user logs on to the site. A spoofed Web site won't be able to generate the same cues, so a user sent to a spoofed site will immediately know that he or she isn't visiting the legitimate Web site. Identity Cues is definitely a novel concept.
All three approaches sound like good ideas and would go a long way towards thwarting phishing and pharming. I suspect that there are other ways to help prevent pharming, but at this point I'm unaware of any other solutions. If you know of any, please send me an email message that fills me in on the details.
Calling All Windows IT Pro Innovators!
Have you developed a solution that uses Windows technology to solve a business problem in an innovative way? Enter your solution in the Windows IT Pro Innovators Contest! Grand-prize winners will receive a host of great prizes and a write-up in the November 2005 issue. Contest extended to July 1, 2005! To enter, click here:
==== Sponsor: Microsoft ====
Testing Your Security Configuration
Over a decade ago the Department of Defense (DoD) released a statement saying, "Hack your network, or the hackers will do it for you." Today, vulnerability-scanning hackers, Internet-traveling worms, and roving bots are common. This free white paper will discuss how to identify and fix vulnerabilities, discover and use vulnerability assessment tools, evaluate your security investment and more. Download your free copy now!
==== 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
Three Previous Microsoft Security Bulletins Re-released
Microsoft released ten security bulletins this month. Did you know the company also re-released three older security bulletins? Find out what they are and whether you need to load them in this story on our Web site.
Setting Up Windows Server Update Services
Patch management is a headache for security administrators at most organizations. Microsoft has developed an improved patch-management product, called Windows Server Updates Services. WSUS offers benefits for organizations of all sizes, thanks to its flexibility, advanced features, and ease of deployment. John Howie walks you through the process of installing and configuring WSUS for your organization, obtaining updates, and configuring clients to use WSUS to obtain updates.
==== Resources and Events ====
Anti-spam product not working?
Many email administrators are experiencing increased frustration with their current anti-spam products as they battle new and more dangerous email threats. In-house software, appliances and even some services may no longer work effectively, require too much IT staff time to update and maintain, or satisfy the needs of different users. In this free Web seminar, learn how you can search for a better way to protect your email systems and users.
Back By Popular Demand - SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in a City Near You
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. Attend and receive a 1-year membership to PASS and 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!
Token Authentication: Getting It Right
Perhaps you need tokens for management or mobile workers or your only applications that need token support are VPN, extranet access, or PC security. In this free Web seminar, join industry guru Randy Franklin Smith and learn how you can make a solid business case to management that justifies tokens. You'll also discover what the right combination of token devices and middleware can do. Plus - receive checklists of key evaluation and testing points for rollout time. Register now!
Recover Your Active Directory
Get answers to all your Active Directory recovery questions here! Join industry guru Darren Mar-Elia in this free Web Seminar and discover how to use native recovery tools and methods, how to implement a lag site to delay replication, limitations to native recovery approaches and more. Learn how you can develop an effective AD backup strategy - Register today!
The Essential Guide to Exchange Preventative Maintenance
Database health is the weakest link in most Microsoft Exchange Server environments. Download this Essential Guide now and find out how the ideal solution is an automated, end-to-end maintenance and management tool that provides a centralized view of the entire managed infrastructure. Get your free copy now!
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==== Hot Release ====
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==== 3. Instant Poll ====
Results of Previous Poll: How will you use WSUS in your enterprise?
The voting has closed in this Windows IT Pro Security Hot Topic nonscientific Instant Poll. Here are the results from the 32 votes.
- 56% As my patch management infrastructure
- 6% As a backup to SMS 2003 or other patch management infrastructure
- 0% As a reporting tool to check on compliance with patches
- 38% I won't be using WSUS
New Instant Poll: Does your network firewall provide stateful application-layer inspection in addition to the traditional stateful packet inspection?
Go to the Security Hot Topic and submit your vote for
==== 4. Security Toolkit ====
Security Matters Blog: Security Checklists and Scripts
by Mark Joseph Edwards, http://www.windowsitpro.com/securitymatters
If you're looking for security checklists and helper scripts for Windows platforms, there are several available from Corp-Sec, a nonprofit group of IT professionals. In addition to those resources, you can also find scripts that help with incident response, a list of security mailing lists that you might want to join, whitepapers, and more.
by John Savill, http://www.windowsitpro.com/windowsnt20002003faq
Q: What's port 445 used for in Windows 2000 and later versions?
Find the answer at
==== Announcements ====
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==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Renee Munshi, email@example.com
Rugged and Encrypted Laptop
Getac's MobileForce M220 ruggedized notebook computer is now available with Enova X-Wall 40-bit real-time cryptographic gateways. Once the encryption is activated, users and potential hackers must manually enter a 5-character alphanumeric preboot password to load the OS and view the contents of the drive. This password resides only in a Secret Key on the hard disk drive (not in the registry), making the drive seem unformatted if stolen and installed in another computer. The M220 with Enova X-Wall LX-40 security is designed for accounting and insurance audit, military, police, fire, homeland security, medical, and banking applications. It's priced at $3995 with significant volume and other discounts available. For more information, go to
Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If we print your submission, you'll get $100. We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length.
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