In the wake of recent widespread worm attacks on the Internet, Microsoft is considering taking an unprecedented step: making automatic download and installation of security updates the default option for Windows and perhaps Microsoft Office. But first, experts say, Microsoft needs to improve the quality of both its patches and the Windows Update system that delivers them.
Despite problems with current patches, many people could be better off with automatic updates as the default (users currently must enable them). A Windows Update download to repair the RPC (remote procedure call) flaw that the Blaster worm exploited had been available nearly a month before Blaster showed up in mid-August, and Blaster didn't affect Windows XP, NT, 2000, and 2003 Server users who installed the patch. But those who don't accept updates probably didn't know about the patch until too late.
Trusecure Corporation's self-styled Surgeon-General Russ Cooper--an advisor to corporate clients on Windows security, and a longtime moderator of the NTBugtraq security forum--says businesses don't need to apply every patch Microsoft puts out but recommends that users without specialized security expertise apply all patches as soon as possible. "The vast majority of users don't want to be asked about updates and would love to see it all done for them without their ever being aware," Cooper adds.
Whether they are automated by default or not, updates definitely won't be mandatory, says Greg Sullivan, Windows client division lead product manager. In the meantime, Microsoft's Protect Your PC program has been running full-page newspaper ads and a Web site to urge users to install updates and use firewalls and antivirus software.
Microsoft is also considering strengthening Windows' anemic built-in Internet Connection Firewall and enabling it by default in future Windows versions and service packs. Even without the anti-Blaster RPC patch installed, Windows XP users who managed to locate ICF buried deep within their system's network settings and then enable it were safe from Blaster, though not from the in-box-clogging Sobig worm that followed.
"Since ICF doesn't stop outbound connections, it has no way of preventing things like Sobig," explains Cooper, noting that some free firewall programs, such as Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm, do police outbound data. However, while beefing up ICF could look like unfair competition to Zone Labs and other third-party firewall makers, Cooper deems the risk well worth taking: "Microsoft could make big points with consumers by giving them a really decent firewall and taking the heat from the Department of Justice." Microsoft's Patch Policy Pickle via www.wmlah.com
When you run the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) tool in Windows Server 2003, planning mode may not write data to the log accurately for security zones or for privacy. The tool may report both hardened and softened settings without distinguishing between the two.
Microsoft has won a patent for an instant messaging feature that notifies users when the person they are communicating with is typing a message.
The patent encompasses a feature that's not only on Microsoft's IM products but also on those of its rivals America Online and Yahoo. The patent was granted on Tuesday.
Patent No. 6,631,412 could serve as a weapon in Microsoft's battle for IM market share. Microsoft is investing heavily in IM as a springboard for selling communication software to businesses. Later this year, Microsoft plans to launch Live Communications Server, a software product that will initially offer IM for the enterprise and then expand into Internet voice calling and video services.
The software giant currently offers MSN Messenger as a free download off the Web, as well as Windows Messenger, the IM client for its XP operating system. Both services have amassed millions of users.
Having a patent can be a powerful tool, but only if it can be proven in a court that its owner has bulletproof claims to the invention, according to legal experts. Companies that challenge a patent have to prove the patent owner was not the first one on record for the invention.
"This means that if someone tries to invalidate the Microsoft patent, they would try to find examples of instant messaging that predated the filing date," said Carl Oppedahl, an intellectual property attorney at Oppedahl, Larson & Frisco in Colorado.
A Microsoft representative declined to comment on the patent. Both AOL and Yahoo representatives declined comment as well.
Microsoft is not the first company to pursue a patent over IM. In December 2002, AOL subsidiary ICQ won a patent that claimed rights as the inventor of IM. AOL has not flexed its muscle on the patent, and competitive IM services remain active.
The rush to patent elements of IM underscores the application's popularity and potential. IM has become widely used by millions of Web users who exchange text messages with each other in real time. Some of the most popular IM services--AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and MSN--have added features, such as video conferencing, animated emoticons and mobile access. Cnet
The MoU was signed in the presence of Malik bin Sulaiman al Maamari, Minister of Transport and Communications. Microsoft will design, install and commission an exchange to host and deliver e-mails to GSMs. The exchange will be designed with an initial capacity to cater to 500,000 subscribers, but is increasable to one million subscribers in future. This service will allow Omantel GSM subscribers to access their e-mails via GSM devices and makes it easy for the customers to log into the Internet wherever they are.
The Omantel Mobility Services (OMS) project will provide Omantel customers with mobile access to their Microsoft Exchange 2003 messaging on a variety of GSM and other networks. Utilising the mobile hand set, customers will now be able to access their inbox, calendar, and contacts from their corporate servers running Exchange 2003 from anywhere, at anytime.
In addition, it will allow businesses to establish a domain name with personalised Microsoft e-mail addresses, accessible through a wide range of devices such as handheld devices and mobile phones, and bringing the benefits of next generation connectivity technology to the Sultanate.
Initially, OMS will have capabilities for more than 500,000 users, growing to upwards of two million. Offering the familiar and easy to use Microsoft Outlook will give users the easiest possible interface to maximise their potential to benefit from increased connectivity. Users will be able to access contacts and calendar information wherever they are, and using any web enabled device, as well as viewing Microsoft Word and Excel documents.
Read whole article: Microsoft deal for e-mails by GSM
By integrating Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com Research Services for Microsoft Office System will provide Microsoft Office System users with convenient and seamless access to Amazon.com from within Microsoft productivity applications via the Research Task Pane. Users will be able to access Amazon.com information and make purchases without launching a browser or leaving their document, e-mail message or presentation. For example, a customer reading a bibliography in a Word document could easily click on a book title and purchase it from within the Research Task Pane without having to leave the Word document. Alternatively, a user will be able to add a footnote, bibliography entry and even cover art for books without needing to manually enter the information into a document.
The Research Task Pane, a feature in the Microsoft Office 2003 Edition desktop applications (Word, Excel, the Outlook® messaging and collaboration client, the PowerPoint® presentation graphics program and Access) and in Microsoft Office System products OneNote (TM) note-taking program, Publisher and Visio® drawing and diagramming software, uses industry-standard XML to enable users to retrieve and navigate relevant internal or external Web-based information, all from within Office programs.
This guide provides information about the Microsoft Windows System Resource Manager Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 Service Pack 1, including monitoring scenarios, deployment steps, operations tasks, and reference content. Download
This guide provides information about the Microsoft® Windows File Replication Service Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 SP1, including monitoring scenarios, deployment steps, operations tasks, and reference content. Download
MOM 2000 Connector Framework (MCF) Market BulletinThe MOM Connector Framework (MCF) is a web service-based framework for connecting MOM and any 3rd party management platform and enabling full bidirectional alert forwarding and synchronization. Download
Microsoft® Operations Manager (MOM) 2004 delivers enterprise-class operations management for medium and large enterprises by providing comprehensive event management, proactive monitoring and alerting, reporting and trend analysis, and system and application specific knowledge to improve the manageability of Windows® environments.• Microsoft Operations Manager 2004 delivers dramatic improvements in ease of deployment and use. The addition of new tools to help track and resolve problems more easily helps increase operational efficiency for managing Windows environments.• Through the extensive product support knowledge base included in the form of Management Packs, Microsoft Operations Manager reduces the day-to-day support costs and increases service availability associated with running applications and services in a Windows-based IT infrastructure. Download
Web Services Management With Microsoft Operations ManagerThis white paper discusses how Microsoft manages Web Service today, the Next Generation of Web Services Management (MOM 2004), and how DSI “bakes” Management into Web Services. Download
Download Microsoft Visual FoxPro 8.0 Service Pack 1 (SP1), which provides the latest updates to Visual FoxPro 8.0. SP1 combines various enhancements and stability improvements into one integrated package. The download contains all the documentation for these updates. For installation instructions and more details on SP1, consult the Service Pack 1 readme.
DFSUtil.exe enables administrators to query and troubleshoot the Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) from the command prompt. It can be used to perform maintenance of a DFS root and to clean up metadata left behind when domain-based DFS roots are orphaned or abandoned.
- How to install the Batch Conversion Wizard.
- How to use the Batch Conversion Wizard.
- How advanced users can view the Batch Conversion Wizard macro code.
Read how to here
Nice Windows 2003 Certificate Services article
Implementing Certificate Services in Windows 2000 (included in Standard, Advanced, and DataCenter editions) provided the ability to manage Public Key Infrastructure; however, several limitations affected its acceptance on a wider scale. Improvements introduced in the Certificate Services available in Windows 2003 (also offered on the same three server platforms -- Standard, Enterprise, and DataCenter) elevated Public Key Infrastructure to the level of a truly corporate, easily manageable, and scalable solution.