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Windows 2000 Worm Wreaks Havoc
Companies running Windows 2000 computers are being urged to patch their computers as soon as possible to prevent the "Zotob" worm from infecting their computers. Another worm, likely a variant of the Zotob worm, wreaked havoc on the computers of several news organizations just days after Microsoft issued a patch for it.
CNN reported that its Windows 2000 computers, as well as the Windows 2000 systems of ABC News and The New York Times, were rendered useless late Tuesday by an Internet worm, which it identified as worm--rbot.ebq, and which most likely is a Zotob variant. The computers became unusable when they repeatedly shut down and re-booted, CNN says.
The Zotob worm takes advantage of the recently disclosed "plug and play" vulnerability in Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft issued a patch for the vulnerability August 9 (see "Microsoft Issues Six Security Patches for Windows" and Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-039.
Exploit code for the plug-and-play vulnerability began appearing on the Internet over the weekend. The SANS Institute says that, after finding a host, the worm connects to a control server to ask for instructions. It then scans network neighborhoods and tries to infect them. The security organization says the coverage of the Zotob worm is likely a result of CNN becoming infected, and does not indicate a widespread worm attack. It's likely an isolated event, SANS says.
Microsoft gives a "critical" rating to this vulnerability only for Windows 2000 systems. It rates an "important" rating on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems, because an attacker must have valid logon credentials. Computers running pre-Windows 2000 versions of the operating system are not affected.
Antivirus vendors, including F-Secure, McAfee, Sophos, Secunia, and Symantec, started protecting against Zotob soon after it surfaced.
Winternals Hooks Into MOM for Centralized Defragging of Windows Servers
Windows shops looking for a way to automate the defragmentation of the disk drives of multiple Windows servers from a central location may want to check out Defrag Manager 4.0, which was released earlier this week by Winternals Software. This centralized control of defrag activities is the result of a new Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 Management Pack developed by the Austin, Texas, company. Other new features include support for the X64 editions of Windows and certification on Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition. New reporting features have also been added that notify administrators about the success or failure of defragging activities and provides information on space analysis and disk and partition information; these reports can also be delivered via e-mail. Other enhancements should simplify the setup of offline defragging activities through in the product's Advanced Mode, which safely defragments all files, folders, and metadata regardless of Windows version, cluster size, or permission settings, the company says.
Hummingbird Delivers X64 Support Across Host Access Suite
Hummingbird last week unveiled its updated suite software PC-to-host for connecting Windows desktops with servers running Windows, Unix, and mainframe operating systems. Hummingbird Connectivity 2006 brings 64-bit support to new releases of several products, including Exceed, NFS Maestro, HostExplorer, and the Connectivity Secure Shell. With this release, the Toronto company claims it becomes the only host connectivity vendor to offer X64 support for its entire suite of connectivity software, which combines a PC X server, terminal emulation software, and PC-based network file system (NFS) software.
Microsoft Delivers Beta of New 'Acrylic' Graphics Capability
Microsoft this month released a new community technology preview of its "Acrylic" graphics software, which is a part of its Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) technology, the part of the upcoming Windows Vista release that was previously referred to as Avalon. Acrylic will blend vector-based and pixel-based design into one tool. Enhancements delivered with this release include support for alpha transparency in clipboard, support for XAML, and better pixel-painting performance, among other enhancements. To download the CTP of Acrylic, go to www.microsoft.com/products/expression.
PDC 2005 to Be Known as the Vista and Longhorn Server PDC?
It's getting close to September, and you know what that means. No, it's not time to go back to school (although that would certainly benefit some of us)--it's nearing time to go to Microsoft's Professional Developer's Conference (PCD), which this year is being held in Los Angeles the third week in September. PDC is expected to bring light to Microsoft's plans for Windows Vista, the next release of the operating system that used to go by the name "Longhorn." Whereas the PDC held two years ago in L.A. was referred to by Bill Gates as the "Longhorn PDC," we're hoping that PDC 2005 will be known as the "Vista and Longhorn Server PDC," but that will really be up to what Microsoft decides to release. For more information on the PDC, such as agenda and session info, go here). If you haven't already registered, that's too bad, because it's already sold out.
BNX Streamlines SSO Implementations with Authenticated Sign-On 5.5
a target="new" href="http://www.bnx.com">BNX Systems last week launched Authenticated Sign-On 5.5, a new release of its flagship solution that combines strong authentication with single sign-on capabilities for a range of platforms. Building adapters that connect host applications with Authenticated Sign-On should be easier as a result of the new Express Mode for the BNX Adapter Builder. BNX claims the new Express Mode, which utilizes wizards to create adapters for legacy, Web, and Windows applications without programming, will cut the time it previously took to connect applications to the Authenticated Sign-On system by 80 percent. This release also allows IT administrations to enable users to input their own application credentials during initial login, which will virtually eliminate the process of manually enrolling users into the system. Lastly, this release adds \new methods of authentication that bolster authentication devices that include tokens, fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, iris readers, smart card, and proximity devices. "The business benefits of BNX Authenticated Sign-On are proven. It helps organizations increase their security, meet regulatory compliance requirements, decrease help desk costs, and increase employee productivity," says Mike Harper, CEO of BNX. And that's no exaggeration: check out our case study on a BNX customer, "Biometrics and SSO Treat Password Disease at Prescription Solutions", which ran last week.
Silvon Boosts Graphing Capabilities with Stratum 4.1
a target="new" href="http://www.silvon.com">Silvon Software recently launched Stratum version 4.1, a new release of its business intelligence software for Windows, OS/400, servers and other platforms. With this release, Silvon has improved the performance dashboard capabilities of Stratum, particularly through its Web browser interface, the Stratum.Viewer. Silvon says the new capabilities enable users to quickly graph all rows and columns of data within an analytical view, in just a couple of mouse clicks. Alternatively, they can use the product's new graphic wizard to define a graph and display only the information they need to see. Users have a range of graph types with Stratum 4.1, including area, bar, bubble, and column graphs, "combinational" and doughnut graphs, line, pie, and point graphs, two spline and spline area graphs, and a variety of stacked graphs. Lastly, Stratum 4.1 adds support for Windows Server 2003.