Windows IT Library UPDATE--the monthly report from Windows IT Library, your free online technical reference. http://www.WindowsITlibrary.com
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* WINDOWS NT TROUBLESHOOTING
Learn all the tweaks, tips, and administration shortcuts necessary to keep a Windows NT environment trouble-free. This reference contains detailed solutions and preventive techniques for the most common NT hotspots.
* WINDOWS 2000 AUTHENTICATION
This chapter looks at the most important OS security service--authentication--and how Windows 2000 implements it. Learn about the Win2K authentication architecture and the nuts and bolts of the Kerberos authentication protocol, such as how it compares with Windows NT LAN Manager (NTLM) and how it can be used as a single sign-on (SSO) solution between different OSs.
* ESSENTIAL ASP.NET WITH EXAMPLES IN C#
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* OPTIMIZING WINDOWS NT
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* ATTACKING YOUR OWN NT NETWORKS
This tip is excerpted from Mark Joseph Edward's "Internet Security with Windows NT" (29th Street Press, 1998).
Windows NT shares can be vulnerable to attack. Let me point out a few tidbits that may help you strengthen the security of your shared objects.
First, remember that NT creates several default file shares upon installation; two of the most prevalent are C$ and D$, which give the Administrator group access to C:\ and D:\. Although other default shares are established during NT installation, these two are attacked most often. Remember to rename these shares to something obscure.
As a general rule, NT requires a user name and password to access shares, but there are several important exceptions. NT does not require a password if the Everyone group has access and the Guest account is enabled with a blank password. Therefore, it is always wise to disable the Guest account unless using it is absolutely necessary. In that case, pick an incredibly hard-to-guess password.
Writing programs that attack shares is pretty easy. In fact, all that's needed is the machine name, IP address, and the share name, which are easy to obtain with the NBTStat command. With a little luck, NBTStat might provide an actual user name as well. Such a program includes a small loop that reads a text-based dictionary file one line at a time and pipes the words into a command such as net use x: \\MACHINE_NAME\SHARE_NAME dictionary_word /USER:username
It's not hard, but it is rather slow.
Other dangerous shares under Windows NT include the registry share. The registry is not exactly a share in the true sense of the word because it can't be unshared, but it does allow access from machines across a network. NT uses the native Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) mechanism to access the registry on the remote computer. Until recently, this registry share was, by default, made available with read permission to Everyone after a fresh installation of Windows NT. Because most programs store sensitive information in the registry (including NT's own user security database, SAM), the presence of this share creates a great security threat.
Microsoft finally realized that blindly sharing the registry is not a good idea and released SP2 for NT 3.51 to make it possible to disable network access to the registry. Simply create the following key; only the users listed in the ACL for this key can access the registry remotely. The key on NT 4.0 is
When information about the registry share vulnerabilities spread in the NT community, some sources started recommending removing the Everyone group's access from the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key without propagating permissions through the entire tree. On the surface, this method works well, but remember, a malicious programmer could still use the Windows NT API to grab any subkey within the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.
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