August 2004 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to Erik Schroeder of Wausau, Wisconsin, whose correct answer to the August Reader Challenge wins first prize, a copy of Windows Server Undocumented Solutions: Beyond the Knowledge Base, by Serdar Yegulalp (McGraw-Hill Publishing). Second prize goes to Gregory Bryan of London, England, who wins a copy of my book, Home Networking for Dummies, Second Edition (Wiley Publishing). Visit http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=43511 to read the answer to the August Reader Challenge.

September 2004 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to challenge@windowsitpro.com by September 30, 2004. You must include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win).

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=43835 on October 1, 2004.

The September 2004 Challenge:

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) does more than plug security holes; it also adds a number of new security features. One of the more welcome features is a better firewall. Test your knowledge of security functions with this month's challenge.

Question 1
True or False: You can mix the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standards on the same network.

Question 2
What function does a firewall's ability to support stateful inspection provide? (Provide a brief, summary explanation.)

Question 3
True or False: If the computers on your network are connected to a router and the router has a firewall, the computers are protected. If the computers are connected to a hub or switch, which is, in turn, connected to the router, the computers aren't protected and you must install a software firewall on each computer.

Answers to the September 2004 Challenge:

Question 1
True, you can mix WEP and WPA on a network, as long as you update the firmware of your access points (APs) to support WPA (or purchase new APs). Features unique to WPA are ignored by WEP-enabled NICs. This feature lets you accomplish the switch-over to WPA gradually.

Question 2
Stateful inspection is the ability to look at the content of a data packet in addition to examining the header. For example, if a data packet identifies itself as containing HTTP but carries malicious code (not HTTP), the firewall will block the transmission. Without stateful inspection, a firewall only checks the type of transmission and doesn't check the content to make sure it matches its advertised data type.

Question 3
False. The router's firewall blocks suspicious transmissions right at the firewall (the gateway to the Internet) and prevents any data packet from traveling past the firewall to any connected device.