zundel

Monday 15

Microsoft Server 8 deprecates Windows

Filed under: Computers — Tags: , — zundel @ pm

Windows Server 8: The Microsoft Server Fork

Maybe someone at Microsoft has paid attention to the various Linux servers they’ve had over the years. Or maybe they have looked over the shoulders of Linux sysadmins (explains the draft).

Digging through windows, and dialog boxes, and tabs is a damned slow and frustrating way to administer a system.

but the center-thrust of Windows Server administration was encouraged to be PowerShell-driven, rather than through the maze of administrative GUIs that have been the mainstay of Windows Server versions for nearly two decades.

Yup, a damned maze.

Linux sysadmins working at a command line with command completion, history, tech manuals, environmental variables, and sophisticated screen management (screen, wmii, i3) at our fingertips get at lot more done is less time with fewer errors.

I get frustrated every time I have to work on Windows (so I don’t).
I can’t just type a few quick queries. Check a few settings. Issue a few elegant one line commands. Then check with a few tests. And call it good.

I have today’s billing log at hand. Latest item: Read scheduler error report. Check settings. All the settings. (“grep — /etc/cron*” can tell you a lot.) Make modification. 8 minutes. Try that with Windows scheduler.

(Having spent most of the day working in the shell, I’m getting a bit frustrated typing the blog: I keep wanting to hit the tab key to complete the word I type.)

While seemingly radical for Microsoft, there is much pressure on operational efficiency, coupled to increasingly complex control options and infrastructure character of the operating system.

So what’s left? What’s Microsoft’s competitive advantage?
Windows Server was always for those that came to it a bit late or were a bit young and couldn’t type. Programmers (not cut & paste) have always hated that point and click shit in our working environment. (Can I get a shell for Tivo? Hmm, Android api… One day when I have a spare moment… February 2015?)

But if you have to type anyway (there is much fretting in basements across America) why would you use Windows? Unix, then Linux is designed for efficient typing. We’ve been perfecting it for forty years. And security.

It’s Official: The Windows Server GUI Is (Slowly) On the Way Out

(Sitting here waiting for that server’s cron to pop another error. Deliberately made only one change.)

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Tuesday 353

Windows critical vulnerability

Filed under: Security — Tags: , , , , , — zundel @ am

Highly critical zero day vulnerability in Windows discovered

Just when I had begun to think that Windows 7 didn’t suck.
My mistake in thinking gets corrected.
They still can’t write secure and reliable software.

If you value your time and security, stop using Microsoft software.

We thought the days of the Blue Screen of Death had passed. Hah.
Could we have a new and improved Windows that at least changes the color?

The bug is in Windows, not Safari.
It will crash the system.
And could allow serious security breaches.

Most of the internet runs on Linux.
The majority of business servers run Linux.
The computer in front of you can run Linux. Mine does.
Fast, secure, and easy to use.

Try these:
Kubuntu (lovely, capable, and easy desktop)
Debian (rock solid server and a nice desktop)
openSuSE (stable & up-to-date)

Saturday 98

Patch Tuesday Hell

Filed under: Computers, Security — Tags: — zundel @ am

Expect Windows machines to temporarily become useless next week.

Microsoft releases 64 fixes on April’s bumper Patch Tuesday

And with a supposed fix of the MHTML vulnerability, lickidy split, just like that, months later.

Thursday 54

Security Recipes – A.1 – Hardening Windows XP

Microsoft makes operating systems — for botnets, malware, and spam.
Especially Windows XP.

Nothing can make Windows XP adequately secure.
If you must use Windows, upgrade to Windows 7. It has better but still flawed security.

If you must use Windows XP, do not connect the computer to the internet.

If you connect Windows to the internet, you must update.
(more…)

Tuesday 52

This is your bank account on Windows

malware hazard

Read this:

Sold a Lemon in Internet Banking Krebs on Security

An online bank robbery in which computer crooks stole $63,000 from a Kansas car dealership illustrates the deftness with which cyber thieves are flouting the meager security measures protecting commercial accounts at many banks.

The controller didn’t know it at the time, but thieves had already compromised his Microsoft Windows PC with a copy of the ZeuS trojan, which allowed them to monitor his computer and log in to the company’s bank account using his machine.

(more…)

Saturday 49

Security Recipes – Introduction

Filed under: Security — Tags: , , , , , , , — zundel @ pm

Does the background rumble of geeks chortling at the screw-ups of HBGary make you consider doing something about the security of your computer?

But you won’t give up Windows ’til they pry it from your cold dead fingers?

There’s a lovely bit about that with Vincent D’Onofrio at the beginning of the first Men in Black movie. Go watch the video. (This is your bank account on Windows.) I can wait. You’ll come back in a better mood and better motivated.

We all laughed at that.
Except, this time, you’re the meat-puppet.

Malware hasn’t gotten that aggressive — yet.
But it’ll take your banking access, your email, and your identity.

Major banks have warned against using Windows to access your banking.

You have received embarrassing spam from your friends. You might have sent it.

Microsoft makes lovely operating systems — for botnets, malware, and spam.

Your computer could be taken over right now and sending out spam. Do you know that it isn’t?

Not much you can do about your bank’s security except choose a better bank.

But you can control your own computer.

Next:

  • Security Recipes – A.1 – Hardening Windows XP

Coming:

  • A.2 – Hardening Windows 7
  • B – Virtual Machines
  • C – Wubi
  • D – Dual boot
  • E – Encryption

Why? Just the latest.

Black net ops

Filed under: Computers, Security — Tags: , , , , , , — zundel @ pm

Fascinating reading.

Anonymous cracking and publishing the email of Aaron Barr, Greg Hoglund, and HBGary has turned up all sorts of useful information. And Ars has done a very god job analyzing it and reporting.
Nothing unknown or unsuspected, but useful confirmation.

Black ops: how HBGary wrote backdoors for the government

Why you don’t want to use Outlook, ever.

The target user would preview a specially crafted e-mail message in Outlook that took advantage of an Outlook preview pane vulnerability to execute a bit of code in the background. This code would install a kernel driver, one operating at the lowest and most trusted level of the operating system […].

When installed in a target machine, the rootkit could record every keystroke that a user typed, linking it up to a Web browser history. This made it easy to see usernames, passwords, and other data being entered into websites; all of this information could be silently “exfiltrated” right through even the pickiest personal firewall.

“This is ideal because it’s trivial to remotely seed C&C messages into any networked Windows host,” noted Hoglund, “even if the host in question has full Windows firewalling enabled.”

HBGary stockpiled and sold zero-day exploits. Nice people.
Most experts try to help the community fix security vulnerabilities. These guys were finding them and selling them.

These guys were not very good. Anonymous penetrated them easily. And often seem really juvenile, like they wanted to be James Bond. (Shades of Ollie North.) Yet they sold ready exploits to defense contractors working for the government. Defense procurement is as sophisticated as ever. But also, most systems are easily compromised.

If you need security, don’t use anything these guys mentioned.

Wednesday 334

Glass broken – Windows insecure, still

Filed under: Computers, Security — Tags: — zundel @ am

This gets redundant — and tedious.

Microsoft Windows operating systems, including the latest version Windows 7, have flaws that allow a program to run with more privileges and less security. The security within Windows doesn’t work. If a piece of malicious software gets on your computer, such as through the broken Microsoft Internet Explorer, that software can do anything, and without your knowledge, such as send spam or spread viruses.

Newly discovered Windows kernel flaw bypasses UAC

New Windows zero-day flaw bypasses UAC

Do not use Windows for anything that requires security, like email or banking.

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