Sunbelt IT Security Recap for the week of August 14

Homeland Security: Fix Your Windows

In a rare alert, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has urged Windows users to plug a potential worm hole in the Microsoft operating system. The agency, which also runs the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), sent out a news release on Wednesday recommending that people apply Microsoft's MS06-040 patch as quickly as possible. The software maker released the "critical" fix Tuesday as part of its monthly patch cycle.

The flaw addressed in MS06-040 is the only one among the updates that could let an anonymous attacker remotely commandeer a Windows PC without any user interaction. There will soon be worms that'll exploit this MS06-040 vulnerability, so be quick to fix! It's all over the press, but ZDNet has a good write up here.

Our friends at eEye created a free scanner that you can run on your network and quickly check which machines are vulnerable: It's called the Retina MS06-040 NetApi32 Scanner and is here.

IT Pro: My Nine Biggest Professional Blunders

We've all had at least one or two embarrassing moments on the job, whether they involved inadvertently wreaking havoc on a system, making a social gaffe, or mishandling a project. IT pro Becky Roberts decided to come clean and share her worst career moments --along with the lessons she took away from each experience.

Mark Russinovich Teaches Very Last Public Windows Course

By now, many of you have heard about Microsoft's acquisition of Sysinternals and Winternals and that Mark Russinovich has joined Microsoft as in the Platforms and Services Divison. Mark will be teaching his last public Windows OS internals and advanced troubleshooting class with David Solomon on September 18-22 in San Francisco. (David will continue to offer the class through his company, see www.solsem.com). For details or to register, click here.

Aberdeen Messaging Security Survey Invite

If you are into messaging security and want some free, fresh research, spend 10 minutes and fill out this survey. All responses are kept anonymous and the report strictly contains averages and statistics based on the results. To show their appreciation to anyone taking the time to fill out the survey, AberdeenGroup will send all survey participants a final copy of the report which they normally sell for $399. Here is the description of the survey:

AberdeenGroup is conducting a study to explore the successful methods used by best-in-class organizations to secure email, instant messenger, and web based communication while revealing the impact messaging security has on productivity and operational costs. Specific technologies will include inbound and outbound message and content inspection and control, anti-spam and phishing detection and protection, encryption, and messaging compliance monitoring and enforcement solutions. The solutions that will be examined will include appliances, software (server and desktop), messaging server, custom developed and ASP offerings based on both commercial and open source technologies. Take the survey here.

Windows Vista Upgrade Paths

WinITPro created a nifty little table that clarifies what Microsoft released about the available upgrade paths to the various versions of Vista. Any other versions of current OSs, including Windows 2000 and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, can't be upgraded and will require a clean installation.

Step-by-Step Guide: Blocking Peer-to-Peer Applications

Although millions of people use peer-to-peer applications, don't for a moment think these apps are above suspicion. They pose some very serious threats to your organization's security. Learn more about these threats and ways to block peer-to-peer applications in this guide, here.

In-depth Guide: Server Consolidation Via Virtualization

In this special report, industry experts offer advice on why, when and how to use virtualization technologies to consolidate server workloads. At the new SearchServerVirtualization site here.

Windows Update Bug Brings Computers To Crawl With Scan

Windows experts said a bug in Microsoft Update causes computers to slow down considerably when scanning the system. Microsoft is looking into the problem. Find out more in this article at SearchWinIT here.

Redmond Comes Out With VoIP Hub

Did you know that MS is working on a single real-time communications and collaboration platform that includes a software-based voice infrastructure aimed at replacing IP-based voice hardware? Yup! They are going after those IP phones on your desk.

This Tuesday, Microsoft added yet another piece to the IP-based backend it is creating when it announced that its voice recognition technology would be folded into its forthcoming VoIP hub. The whole story is at Network World, and worth checking out, here.

Standardizing Management Modeling Language

Network World also came out this week with a an interesting piece of news about Microsoft taking a first step toward standardizing a management modeling language. This week Microsoft said it was working with a bunch of partners to create a standard modeling language designed to help corporations better manage their infrastructure.

Redmond and partners released the draft spec of the Service Modeling Language (SML) which is supported by system management heavies like HP, IBM, BEA, BMC, Cicso, Dell, EMS, Intel, Sun and is based on Redmond's System Definition Model. If you run a large environment, this is worth reading, here.

Linux Cannibalizing Unix

According to IDC, in the US government enterprise server market, Unix is losing share to Linux. Unix used to be really strong in that segment, but it's losing steam, being eaten alive by Linux which will rise from 11.6% in 2004 to 15.2% by 2009. Poor old Unix will drop from 34.8% to 30.1%.

Microsoft Readies VM Manager Beta

Microsoft's foray into virtual machine management came closer to reality with the release of the first beta for its Virtual Machine Manager. Link here.