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

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


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.