Don’t get worms…

Viruses and worms are getting smarted and more complex. Some of the latest virus attacks involve new, combination viruses that are a mix of a virus and a worm. Typically these will infect a machine through either email attachments or malicious code downloaded from a web site. Not only can your computer be infected with a virus, which causes problems by using your computer to send out masses of email, but also keystroke logger utilities may be installed which monitor which keys are pressed when you are connected to secure web sites – including banking web sites, and the results reported back to the software originator.


Naturally these can cause serious problems not only by causing system instability and unnecessary Internet traffic, but also by stealing confidential information. Be very careful of any attachments you receive in email messages, and also take care of any web sites you visit. If you receive a suspicious looking email asking you to click on a link in the email in order to reset passwords, or download files, it is recommended you don’t click on the link but rather, manually type the shown address into a web browser if you feel this is a valid email. Some email messages can show one address on the screen but the link itself points to a different site – often hovering over the link in the email will show the address it is actually pointing to.


Security of your computer system is going to become more and more of an issue over the following months & years as hackers get smarter, more organised and use both technology and ignorance to gain more money and power. Security starts with the person sitting at the keyboard (you and me) and ends with us too. The rest comes down to proper system configuration that provides both a secure and useable environment.


What can you do? Well – that will be the subject of another posting soon, when I get time (it’s a BIG list).


Stay tuned…


 

Access control revisited

After playing with the fingerprint scanner for a while I’ve found it’s OK for keeping track of web site logins, but it’s no good for REAL network security – controlling who can log into the domain, and maintaining complex password (read PASSPHRASE) policies with 2-factor authentication.


So I’m looking at a few devices – tokens from RSA, Secure Computing and the like. I want something that can be used on the network, for VPN access, OWA and terminal services login.


Suggestions, experiences, ones to keep away from? Any feedback is good at this point.

Out of the mouths of babes…

Took the family to KFC for dinner tonight (Vivienne had that desire for some junk food again!).


Bought a family pack of 12 pieces and passed them around for consumption. As Brittany bit into her second piece she exclaimed in a loud excited voice “This one’s got chicken in it!!” .


Don’t know what she expected to find in there :) What did the first one have in it?

The deck is available…

Forgot to let you know – the slide deck from last weeks SBS group meeting is available from www.sbsuser.net/meetings.htm. The presentation was about SBS SP1. Feel free to use the deck as you wish for your own meetings – Vlad Mazek is using a varient of it for his group meeting in Florida shortly. Way to go Vlad!


Next month – rootkits, plus of course some updates on SBS SP1. We’re meeting on June 20th at HP again. Thanks for the pizza and fizzy (great pizza too – I think from the Australian Pizza House on West Terrace – brilliant). Stay tuned for the “official announcement”.

May Adelaide SBS users group get together

We’re meeting again on Monday May 23rd. HP are hosting us again (148 Frome Street, Adelaide). Thanks Stacey for arranging this, and to George for agreeing to look after us for the evening.


The meeting will kick off at 6:30pm but get there early so you’re not locked out. If you are stuck outside please call 0413 180 088 and ask to be let in (this mobile will only be turned on on the night).


At the moment I’m considering presenting either SBS SP1 in more detail (if it’s released by then) or else rootkits – which I learned about in Singapore and more since getting home. They are freaky, scary things that we really need to know about, plus security best practices in general.


If SBS SP1 is the topic then rootkits will most likely be the June focus. In fact, why not help make this the best presentation ever by providing your own feedback, experiences and best practices. Please use the feedback option below to let me know your favourite hints & tips, URL links etc. The presentation deck will be made available on the user group website (www.sbsusers.net) for all to access.


If you’re planning on attending the May meeting please RSVP to info@sbsusers.net.


 

What happened to the MVP summit entries?

OK OK so perhaps I appear to have mislead you about my summit blogs. Firstly, I had MAJOR Internet connection problems whilst in Singapore – I think mostly because the conference venue and hotel were full of us MVP geeks hammering the Internet connection. I ended up deciding to just unplug myself for a few days and take in the event itself rather than try to stay hooked into the rest of the world at the same time.


So – sorry. The other reasons I found it hard to update things here are the days were rather full on so by the time I got back to my hotel room I was rather stuffed, plus most of what was covered in the conference is protected by NDA so I can’t talk about it.


Still, one thing I can relay is how great it was to be able to spend time with other MVPs, and learn they are also real people. Some of them (Steve Hudson) can drink more than their fair share and still stay excited about their favourite product (Word), or Graham (a Kiwi) became rather “huggy” after a few drinks. Not that it was all drinking mind you – that was just the final night (Wednesday) which was at a brewery.


Sean O’Driscol  gave a great presentation on the first morning and even referred to us SBS-MVPs as “viral” – probably because of the way we’re manage to be just about everywhere. I wonder if he realises how right he really is ;)


We had a fantastic and very scary presentation about rootkits – what they are, what they’re not, a demonstration and advice on how to avoid getting them in the first place. This was probably the best presentation I saw and by far had the most impact on me. I’ve continued to keep in touch with the presenter (Mike) and we’re working on getting him out to Australia from Seattle sometime to present to those with a false sense of security.


All in all the summit was great and well worth my time, and money, to attend. The flight home was rough – overnight and I didn’t sleep at all. But I survived and am back at work – didn’t even get sick, which a number of other attendees from Australia did suffer from.


So – if you attended please feel free to post your comments here (taking into account the Microsoft imposed NDA) and I look forward to the next MVP get together in Redmond, Seattle in late September.


Over and out


PS. I did keep using the VoIP phone to call home and it worked a treat – definitely will stay in my travel pack for further use.