Trusted Systems suite controls network access

Trusted Systems Services Inc. is trying to take the edge off managing access control lists in Windows 2000 with the latest edition of its management tool.

With SuperCACLS 3.0, a suite of four command-line utilities, users can manage ACLs on registry keys as well as files and directories.

ACLs are a foundation of Windows security. They control access rights to everything on the operating system. ACLs are made up of units of security information called access control entries that have three parts: user identification, a list of rights, and an indicator of whether a right is granted or denied.

Managing ACLs is necessary for maintaining security on system resources but sometimes is an evil task. Win 2000 offers a graphical user interface (GUI) tool for managing ACLs, but it doesn't offer the fine-tuned controls of SuperCACLS, Trusted Systems says. Also, two command-line utilities in the Win 2000 Resource Kit don't have the features found in the Trusted Systems tools.

"The SuperCACLS tools are small, fast and powerful," says Glenn Baker, vice president of Maddux Baker Associates, a systems integrator in Freemont, Calif. "There is not a lot of extra stuff, they just do what I want. With the Windows 2000 GUI interface, it takes a lot more time and a lot more clicks."

For example, Baker says SuperCACLS lets him run one command to change an entire batch of ACLs. He also says he has more fine-tuned controls, such as a "privilege override," which lets him take ownership of ACLs and then return them to their original owner. That process is impossible with native NT and Win 2000 tools.

SuperCACLS consists of four utilities: PRACL, for listing all current ACLs or creating a batch file that can be used as a backup; REACL, for replacing ACLs individually or throughout an entire directory or Registry tree; MODACL, for modifying, removing or adding individual ACLs while leaving others intact; and TAKEOWN, which lets administrators take ownership of ACLs.

It also has features such as preview, which lets users see the effects of their changes before they are actually applied. The software also has a full-privilege mode that ensures administrators are not locked out of any ACLs based on end users' rights.

"You can use SuperCACLS to set up your system and automate tasks that can be awkward or cause trouble later," says Steve Sutton, president of Trusted Systems.

SuperCACLS installs on a single workstation and can manage ACLs remotely without having to install additional software on other machines.

The software is currently available and pricing starts at US$250 for three servers and 10 workstations.

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