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Will PatchGuard Stifle Security Innovation?

Will PatchGuard Stifle Security Innovation?
Will PatchGuard Stifle Security Innovation?

Forwarded from: Security UPDATE 


How Effective is Your Antivirus? 

Automated Patch Management: High ROI. Free WP 

Reducing the Cost of IT Compliance: Streamlining the IT Compliance Life 

=== CONTENTS ==================================================
IN FOCUS: Will PatchGuard Stifle Security Innovation?

   - End of Life Near for Firefox 1.5.x
   - Webroot Launches New Product, Gains New CEO
   - Reader-to-Reader: Use Cmdlets to Monitor Your Security Event Logs
   - Recent Security Vulnerabilities

   - Security Matters Blog: File Recovery Caveats
   - FAQ: Getting the Username, Computer Name, and Domain
   - From the Forum: Copying Log File Data
   - Know Your IT Security Contest

   - Record RDP Traffic
   - Wanted: Your Reviews of Products 




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=== IN FOCUS: Will PatchGuard Stifle Security Innovation? =====   by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net

You've probably heard of PatchGuard, Microsoft's new kernel technology 
for 64-bit systems that will make its debut in Windows Vista. 
PatchGuard works to help protect access to the kernel, or rather, as 
Microsoft states it, PatchGuard makes the kernel completely off-limits 
to any modifications. The limitation includes third-party modifications 
designed to better protect Windows. 

While the new technology will be welcomed by some people, others 
(particularly a few companies that make security solutions) think it 
goes too far. Symantec and McAfee have both complained loudly about 
PatchGuard. These companies say they're worried that Microsoft will 
systematically shut them out of certain sectors of the security 
software market. Some of the companies' products rely on the ability to 
patch the kernel, which doesn't provide the level of functionality 
needed by their products. 

Other companies, such as Authentium, have worked diligently to find 
ways of interacting with PatchGuard that have resulted not only in 
security solutions but have introduced a new level of functionality. 
For example, the company's VirtualATM SDK can change Windows from a 
multiprocessing platform into a single-processing platform. That sounds 
completely counter to the purpose of a multithreaded OS, right? Well it 
is, and for good reason. 

If you can force Windows to only run one process at a time, all sorts 
of malware (such as key loggers, sniffers, and Trojan horses) have 
absolutely no way to do their work. If their process won't execute, 
they're rendered completely ineffective. So VirtualATM becomes 
immensely attractive as a tool to use for applications such as those 
related to financial transactions or sensitive information input of any 
type. VirtualATM, as obvious as the approach is, is truly innovative 
and appears to hold incredible value. For more information, go to: 

Authentium is a Microsoft partner, so Microsoft is well aware of what 
Authentium is doing with VirtualATM. Whether Microsoft changes 
PatchGuard to prevent SDKs such as VirtualATM from working remains to 
be seen. 

Does PatchGuard go too far, stifling security-industry competition and 
innovation? PatchGuard does seem to give Microsoft an advantage in the 
security market space. Hopefully, Microsoft won't wield PatchGuard as a 
sword against competition. This would thwart innovation, and typically 
the best approach to security is a multivendor solution rather than a 
single-vendor solution. If Microsoft were to take too much control over 
the security market, it might find itself rapidly giving up ground to 
other platforms, such as Solaris, Linux, and BSD, that have a healthy 
variety of security solution choices. 

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=== SECURITY NEWS AND FEATURES ================================
End of Life Near for Firefox 1.5.x
   Now that Firefox 2.0 is available, Mozilla said it will cease 
updates of Firefox 1.5.x as of April 24, 2007. 

Webroot Launches New Product, Gains New CEO
   Webroot Software launched Spy Sweeper with AntiVirus for consumers 
and announced that board member Peter Watkins will become the company's 

Reader-to-Reader: Use Cmdlets to Monitor Your Security Event Logs
   Many people use a command-line utility named LogParser to 
investigate logs produced by Windows products. An alternative exists 
for interrogating Windows event logs: the Get-Event-Log cmdlet in 
Windows PowerShell. Learn about this solution in this reader-written 
article on our Web site. 

Recent Security Vulnerabilities
   If you subscribe to this newsletter, you also receive Security 
Alerts, which inform you about recently discovered security 
vulnerabilities. You can also find information about these 
discoveries at 

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=== GIVE AND TAKE =============================================
SECURITY MATTERS BLOG: File Recovery Caveats 
by Mark Joseph Edwards, 

Once in a blue moon, someone will delete a file that shouldn't be 
deleted. Even if you don't have a backup of that file, you might think 
you can "undelete" the file by using specialized tools. Some files 
can't be undeleted though. Learn more in this blog article. 

FAQ: Getting the Username, Computer Name, and Domain
by John Savill, 

Q: How can I use a script to quickly get the current username, computer 
name, and domain? 

Find the answer at 

FROM THE FORUM: Copying Log File Data
   A forum participant formerly used xp_cmdshell to copy data from a 
log file but turned that off for security reasons. Is there another, 
more secure way to accomplish the task? 

   Share your security-related tips, comments, or solutions in 1000 
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or write about a security article you've read or a Webcast you've 
viewed. Submit your entry between now and December 13. We'll select the 
13 best entries, and the winners will receive a Zune media player--
plus, we'll publish the winning entries in the Windows IT Security 
newsletter. Email your contributions to 
   Prizes are courtesy of Microsoft Learning Paths for Security: 

=== PRODUCTS ================================================== by Renee Munshi, 

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   According to TSFactory, its RecordTS product is the first RDP 
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TSFactory's manufacturing and marketing partner, CNS Software, at 

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