It’s Here! Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Get your keyboard fingers ready. Windows Server 2003 SP1 is now ready for download. Originally set to ship last year, this service pack promises far greater security for Windows 2003, which itself promised far greater security than Windows 2000—mainly because W2K3 had hardly any features turned on.

SP1 fixes plenty of bugs, boasts a new firewall, and blocks traffic during updates—this way the patches aren’t compromised before they are fully installed. Of course, I could make Windows 2003 even safer than that—by turning off all of its features!

Hooking Phishermen
There’s a new jerk in town, the kind of jerk that sends naive users e-mails about their eBay, bank or stock market account that needs updating. Thinking there’s a problem, these folks click on links, and fill out field after field with credit card and social security numbers, and anything else needed for a quick and successful identity theft. The real horror is that the people with the least money are the ones most likely to fall for these evil schemes.

Education is one solution, but you can’t teach everyone. The courts are another, and that’s where Microsoft is heading. The company filed 117 suits against unknown phishers, so called “John Doe” suits. Pursuing the suits allows Microsoft to go after the identities of the phishers. The company is hoping that at least some of the 117 culprits are big players and that catching them can put a dent in this problem.

The Feds Are Late -- and Dead Wrong
Seven years ago the U.S. government started studying the Internet to see if the Feds needed to do anything to keep everything on track. The study is finally done, and everything is apparently A-O.K.!

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Security is a minor issue, the 283-page report concludes, advising only modest tweaks to ward off hackers. Modest tweaks? Was this page written in 1998? The Internet is a limitless haven for hackers, criminals and terrorists. And if enough turned their anger towards the Net itself, our public backbone could be in peril.

In a move truly sensational in its very obviousness, the report suggests a few more domains to keep pace with the need for new Web addresses. Dang, wish I’d thought of that.

Holes in IE? No Way!
Tell me if you’ve heard this before. A security vendor has found major holes in Internet Explorer and Outlook that could let hackers install and run malicious code. This happens so often that journalists covering IE have macros that automatically spit out the same headline “Hole Discovered in IE, Users Exposed!”

This time eEye Security, which has found a host of holes, reported holes that could be used by hackers to attack other machines.

No word on when, or if, Microsoft will patch these problems, so check with your rep, patch vendor or Microsoft.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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