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IN FOCUS: More About OS Haste; BATV


- Security Vendor Claims Microsoft Is Shutting Out Competition

- Microsoft Closes Acquisition and Offers Whale of a Deal

- Sam Spade on the Spam Case - Recent Security Vulnerabilities


- Security Matters Blog: Firefox Now Available

- FAQ: Iterating a DC's Sites

- Take the Windows IT Pro Salary Survey

- "Securing Access at the Application Layer: Keeping Remote and Mobile Users Fully Functional" On-Demand Web Seminar

- Share Your Security Tips


- Authenticate Your OWA Users

- Tell Us About a Hot Product




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=== IN FOCUS: More About OS Haste; BATV


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

I received another reader perspective on OS release frequency that I'll share with you this week, then I'll briefly share some information about Bounce Address Tag Validation that I think will interest you.

The reader pointed out that many companies upgrade OSs at the same time they upgrade hardware. The reasons he cited for doing so are that sometimes it's more cost-effective to buy the OS through an OEM (typically along with the new hardware) and that many companies lack the centralized management required to upgrade OSs on old hardware in an efficient manner. A shorter OS release cycle doesn't matter that much to companies who synchronize hardware and OS upgrades.

His points make good sense, especially given that Windows Vista will require more powerful hardware than many people have available in their network environments. So some companies that want to take full advantage of Vista will no doubt upgrade to new hardware and Vista at the same time.

Last week, I learned about a new email technology called Bounce Address Tag Validation (BATV), which is designed to prevent SMTP bounce abuse. Spammers sometimes use SMTP bounce to deliver email messages to their targets. To do so, a spammer addresses a message to any fake address and sets the From address to the real intended recipient. Then the spammer sends the email message to a third-party mail server. That mail server sees that the message isn't destined for a known user at a known domain hosted by the mail server and bounces the message back to the From address, thereby unwittingly delivering the spam message for the spammer.

Malicious attackers also abuse SMTP bouncing, but they send a huge volume of email so that the victim mail server or its network bandwidth is overwhelmed.

BATV is designed to prevent these attacks. It uses a specially encoded From address that can be authenticated. Because a mail header, which includes the From field, is sent before the message body, a mail server can authenticate a message from its header before accepting or rejecting the bulk of the message. Screening out bad messages effectively reduces the load on a mail server and the overall network bandwidth.

Another great advantage of BATV is that because each mail server would perform its own From address encoding, BATV can be implemented on a per-server basis without any restrictive dependencies, such as third-party databases, peer-to-peer data sharing, or recurring service access fees.

BATV is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) draft proposal that began in late 2004. You can read the proposal, which of course includes the technical specifications, at the IETF Web site at the URL below. If you're interested in the technology, check with your mail server software provider to see if it supports BATV.

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Examine the threats of allowing unwanted or offensive content into your network and learn about the technologies and methodologies to defend against inappropriate content, spyware, IM, and P2P.



Security Vendor Claims Microsoft Is Shutting Out Competition

Security solution provider Agnitum claims that Microsoft's kernel patch protection will shut out competing products unless competitors resort to hacker tactics.

Microsoft Closes Acquisition and Offers Whale of a Deal

Microsoft closed its acquisition of Whale Communications, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary. Microsoft is offering a significant discount on the newly acquired Whale security products.

Sam Spade on the Spam Case

Whether you're investigating a possible phishing scam or determining whether the email clogging your corporate mailboxes is legitimate or spam, you can turn to the classic Sam Spade tool. Jeff Fellinge gives an overview in this article on our Web site.

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

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SECURITY MATTERS BLOG: Firefox Now Available

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

Mozilla Foundation released an update to Firefox. The new version corrects a dozen security vulnerabilities, seven of which are critical. Some of the problems include privilege escalation, JavaScript engine vulnerabilities, and possible code execution.

FAQ: Iterating a DC's Sites

by John Savill,

Q: How can I determine which sites a domain controller (DC) covers?

Find the answer at


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"Securing Access at the Application Layer: Keeping Remote and Mobile Users Fully Functional" on-demand Web seminar, with speakers Randy Franklin Smith and Judah Aspler. Register at


Share your security-related tips, comments, or problems and solutions in the Windows IT Security print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions to If we print your submission, you'll get $100. We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length.



by Renee Munshi,

Authenticate Your OWA Users

VASCO Data Security International has launched DIGIPASS easy pack, an authentication solution that works with Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA). With DIGIPASS easy pack, users log on to their Web mail account by entering a PIN and a one-time password generated by the provided DIGIPASS GO 3 device. DIGIPASS easy pack is designed to be affordable and easy to manage for small to midsized businesses (SMBs). It contains 10 DIGIPASS GO 3 devices and the most recent version of VASCO's VACMAN Middleware software and includes a year of maintenance support. You can also purchase additional DIGIPASS GO 3 devices. For more information, go to

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