October 7, 2004 - If
you're trying to keep abreast of what activity your peers are
up against, DShield
is a good source of instant graphical information. DShield aggregates
the data from fire wall logs from around the world. Millions
of records are gathered every day and the data is condensed and
presented in several different formats. There is a map that shows,
by continent, the most attacked ports. There is also a ticker
showing the port activity and whether it is increasing or decreasing.
One of the more interesting banners shows
the current "Top Attacker" as well as the current favorite
port to attack. However, if you have a problem and your IP is
being shown as an attacker, you get a nice big red warning. That
banner is shown below.
September 30, 2004 - This is the first wi-tegrity security news update
this month. Why? Because the only issues in the news regarding
computers were either Microsoft Service Pack 2 problems or the
jpeg virus. Service pack 2 turned out not to be the complete
cure for your computer ills. It also is not a total flop as some
"computer experts " would have you believe. (A "computer
expert" is someone who knows a little bit more about computers
than the reporter writing the story). At wi-tegriy we upgraded
our only XP machine to SP2. No problems except , maybe, some
minor perceived performance hits. Once again, if you are using
a company computer, ask the IT department before attempting any
As for the jpeg virus. If early reports are to be believed
it is real. The latest virus May come through a phishing email.
It will then replicate through your email address list and then,
using it's own email server, send copies to everyone on your
address list. It also opens up a back door (port 81) to allow
anyone access to your machine. Good luck on this one.
Apple computer does not sponsor this site,
although an offer would be entertained. Apple also does not control
Walter Mossberg, the technology columnist.
Mr Mossberg recently wrote a review of the latest version of
the iMac. It is both practical and functional. If you want a
solid, virus-proof computer check out the iMac. Mr. Mossberg
also debunks the myth that Macintosh systems are more expensive
than Windows based PCs.
August 24, 2004 -
One supposes you can file this under "It was inevitable"
or under "What took you so long". Inexpensive cameras
for computers have been around for a while. wi-tegrity editors
remember examining the possibilities ten years ago. There have
been reports of a Peeping Tom virus that will activate a camera
attached to your computer and record images without your knowledge.
It also seeks out PayPal passwords and other information. Our
advice? Cover your camera when not in use and keep your antivirus
software up to date.
August 16, 2004 - Vacations
and other obligations have gotten in the way of the news updates.
The only big stories were the Google ipo and Microsoft's release of SP2 for XP. Since
I don't have any qualifications to comment on Google, I won't.
But there are some thoughts on XP SP2.
Some wi-tegrity clients use XP and wi-tegrity
even has an XP based system somewhere around the office. However,
the official wi-tegrity recommendation, based on previous upgrade
nightmares, is to wait a few weeks and read up on the results
of other XP users before installing it yourself. As for
large offices planning an automated upgrade - test it on a few
dozen systems before releasing it to the general office population.
There haven't been enough installations in the field to really
judge how well this release will work. Or to paraphrase a young
niece, "Scary release, you go first!"
Microsoft has added some nice features.
Details of these features can be found on the microsoft web site.
Listed below are opinions based on a few years experience in
the IT security field.
Security Center - A system user can now
find all the security settings in one place. This is an improvement
for any operating system. It makes it easier to debug a problem
a user may be having if you can see, on one screen, what is and
is not allowed. A misconfigured system can confuse event the
best of diagnosticians if you can't find all the settings for
what is allowed and what it blocked.
Firewall - I have a prejudice against calling
security software on a computer or server a firewall. Firewalls
are specialized network appliances that block dangerous traffic
from entering your network. Security software on your computer
is a last ditch effort to notify you that there is an immediate
threat. When that happens the war is probably lost. Sort of like
a centurion knocking on the emperor's chamber door to announce
that the Vandals and Visigoths are waiting in the palace lobby.
Don't disable this service on XP, but don't depend on it. Have
a real firewall (even a simple one from Linksys or Belkin) to block most of the potentially
harmful traffic before it reaches your computer. If you do receive
an alert - act on it immediately.
Pop-up Blocker - The group most frustrated
by pop-up blockers will probably be the developers of internal
corporate web sites. Over a year ago when Google put out their
with a pop-up blocking feature, there was at least one company
in Massachusetts that saw their internal communications hobbled
when employees were enabling this feature and missing out on
"special" announcements. If you will be enabling pop-up
blocking on a company wide basis, make sure to mention it to
corporate communications. The wi-tegrity staff is glad to see
pop-up blocking being added. Safari, the Apple browser, has had
this feature since its first release.
If you are a Windows XP user, you will
upgrade eventually and in the long run you will be a little safer
against known threats. Let's see what new ones are found.
July 31, 2004 - All
kidding aside regarding Microsoft, it's time to check to make
sure that you have the latest patches and updates for your systems.
The latest warning from CERT regarding Internet Explorer needs your
attention - even if it means working over the weekend. You might
want to consider dropping down to the bottom of this page and
reviewing the alternatives to Internet Explorer.