Archive for the ‘network security’ Category

Is Cyberwarfare a Real Threat?

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

There’s one incredibly simple solution for protecting things like equipment in power plants … just make sure that vital devices don’t have a connection to the internet and that the people who have access to them have been thoroughly vetted.

Suggestions that the dangers of computer warfare have been overdone don’t stand up to the emerging realities

The video is a generator tearing itself apart after a cyberattack. Happily, it’s a simulated one set up by the US Department of Home Security in 2007 – but it shows the sort of things that cyberwar, and in particular the Stuxnet worm, the first one known to be attacking machinery in this way, is aiming to do.


Windows firewall – Overhead or additional protection?

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Come to think of it, I usually avoid Windows firewall too …

Too many times the value of built-in firewalls may be overlooked. In this TechRepublic blog post, IT pro Rick Vanover explains pros and cons of using firewalls in the operating system.


In the course of administering servers, I’ve generally preferred to use firewalls via an appliance to dictate traffic patterns at the network level. Using firewalls, namely Windows firewall, that comes built-in with operating systems, I have generally preferred not to use. So much so, that I have committed to memory the command on modern Windows systems to disable the firewall service for all profiles:


Need a Serial Switch with IP Address Filtering?

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Typically, a serial switch is used to provide remote access to command functions on network equipment such as servers, routers and firewalls. Remote access is an important capability for any network administrator, in that it allows problems at far-away installation sites to be addressed and solved without physically traveling to the site. Many modern network applications would be economically unfeasible without a serial switch and the ability to access command functions on remote devices that a serial switch provides.

Yet even so, as important as a serial switch is, it would be practically useless without proper security measures in place to protect sensitive command functions from unauthorized users.


Microsoft Out Of Band Security Update Released

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Yet another Windows security patch …

Microsoft as expected has just released an out of band security update for the Windows operating system that fixes a critical security vulnerable. The vulnerability affects all Microsoft operating systems that have been released in the past years, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and the Windows Server product line.


Adobe / Microsoft to team up on Vulnerability Sharing

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

This sounds helpful … but too bad it won’t actually happen until 2012.

Microsoft has announced that it’s to extend it’s Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) to include vulnerability sharing information from Adobe.

The programme, launched in October 2008 allows sharing of information about security vulnerabilities with security software vendors.  So far 65 companies have signed up to the scheme.


A Massachusetts privacy law is stalking your network

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Yikes! This is news to me, and something that most IT people should probably be aware of …

While provisioning yet another server or fielding a call from Sales for a password reset, you get the call. “Why didn’t you tell us about those Massachusetts files?” There’s no panic, because you haven’t the faintest idea what the caller is talking about. Yours is a Florida company. There’s not even a field sales office in Massachusetts.

What comes next is more disconcerting. “This is over my head. Expect a call from Legal.”

You check your inbox. Had you missed a broadcast about a class action lawsuit?


Vendor inaction leads researcher to disclose Safari, IE flaw

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

This sounds like a serious vulnerability … and since credit information can be involved, probably something to take care of ASAP.

If you use the autocomplete features in Safari, certain versions of IE, Firefox, or Chrome, you could be making yourself vulnerable to identity theft and other attacks, according to one security researcher scheduled to speak at the Black Hat conference next week. White Hat Security CTO Jeremiah Grossman says that the four major browsers have critical weaknesses that have yet to be addressed by their respective companies, and could expose users’ passwords, e-mail addresses, and more to attackers.


Microsoft Security Essentials Beta Downloads

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

This sounds pretty useful … if you can get the download to work!

Microsoft today announced the availability of the new Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Beta, the next big version of the well acclaimed Windows security software. The beta was announced over at the Windows Team Blog with a link to Microsoft Connect to download the 32-bit or 64-bit edition of the application.

A problem with the downloads exists at the moment. Most users can only download the programs partially, even if they try different browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.


Network admins must beware of Stuxnet: A SCADA System worm

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

This sounds like a particularly nasty bit of malware to be on the lookout for …

Sometimes with mind-numbing frequency, patches and security advisories from Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple compete for an ever-increasing amount of attention from administrators. Little wonder then, that most will have greeted with a mild yawn the latest announcement of another zero day attack — this one named the “Stuxnet Attack.” Just as I was about to file this latest message under “Priority – To Be Reviewed,” the sender’s name jarred me to attention: Managing Automation.


Uninstall Kaspersky URL Advisor From Firefox

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Here’s a neat trick for Firefox users …

Security companies these days often add extensions, plug-ins and add-ons to web browsers. The two big dogs Norton and Kaspersky do that for instance. Kaspersky adds the add-on Kaspersky URL Advisor to the Firefox web browser upon installation. As usual, those add-ons can be disabled but not uninstalled in the browser. The Uninstall button is grayed out in Firefox.

We have criticized the behavior in the past, that Firefox allows installations of add-ons, and plug-ins by the way, without the user’s consent. It probably would not be to difficulty to display a notification if a program tries to install an add-on to give the user the choice to allow or disallow the installation.