Security Web Digest: XP SP2 To Tighten Default Security ... and More

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2003-10-31 Print this article Print

  • U.S. House working on anti-spam bill
  • Bugs in Symantec PC activation code
  • Sun, Symantec announce new IDS models
  • Security spending driving the military-aerospace sector
  • Windows

    Microsoft said this week that it plans to switch off its Windows Messenger service and activate Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) by default on Windows XP. Windows Messenger--not to be confused with the companys MSN Messenger instant messaging service--is used to exchange data between computers. Windows XP Service Pack 2 is due in the first half of 2004.


    The U.S. House of Representatives could vote as early as next week on a bill to outlaw spam, congressional aides said on Thursday. The Senate passed an anti-spam measure by a vote of 97-0 last week, but similar legislation in the House has been stalled at the committee level. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce and Judiciary committees introduced an anti-spam bill earlier this year, but many rank-and-file members support a tougher bill introduced by New Mexico Republican Rep. Heather Wilson.

    Intellectual Property

    Some of the 1.2 million customers that have installed Symantecs latest Norton PC security products have been unable to use the software because of new antipiracy technology, the company confirmed Thursday. A few consumers have informed Symantec that the U.S. and British versions of Norton Antivirus 2004, Norton Internet Security 2004, Norton Antispam 2004 and Norton SystemWorks 2004 mistakenly asks for a product activation code every time a PC is rebooted. Eventually, the software informs the consumers that they have reached the activation limit and the software will cease to function.


    Symantec and Sun on Wednesday announced enhanced editions of Suns iForce Intrusion Detection Appliance that run a hardened edition of Suns Solaris OS x86 Platform Edition and are based on Suns Fire V60x server. Now available in seven models, the device relies on ManHunt 3.0 to protect against both known and unknown (so-called zero-day) attacks, defend against denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, and detect protocol anomalies.

    New marine security initiatives created in the wake of the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have begun to spill over to the electronics sector where spending from the Department of Homeland Security is helping to drive technological advances. Ample evidence of this effect was on display this week at the 2nd annual Maritime Security Expo & Conference USA. The rising tide of concern is manifesting itself as big business for traditional military-aerospace combines like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Unisys and Raytheon. But its also floating hundreds of smaller concerns eager to ride the new wave of innovation who are tapping into new PC and Internet technologies as well as communications technologies like WiFi, cellular packet communications and other RF transmission schemes.

    Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

    He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

    For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

    In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

    Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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