Stories by Roger A. Grimes

IT's 9 biggest security threats

Hacking has evolved from one-person crime of opportunity to an open market of sophisticated malware backed by crime syndicates and money launders

HoneyPoint: Honeypot for Windows, Linux or Mac

After over 10 years of active participation in the honeypot community, I was surprised not to have heard of MicroSolved's HoneyPoint Security Server before I started planning this roundup. HoneyPoint runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, and offers some useful features -- such as "defensive fuzzing" and the ability to track alert status -- that KFSensor and Honeyd don't. But HoneyPoint is neither as easy and complete as KFSensor, nor as flexible and scalable as Honeyd.

An expert guide to Windows 7 security

Windows 7 has been warmly received and swiftly adopted by businesses, with the result that many IT admins are now struggling with the platform's new security features. In addition to changes to User Account Control, BitLocker, and other features inherited from Windows Vista, Windows 7 introduces a slew of new security capabilities that businesses will want to take advantage of.

Finding gold in your log files

Considering how much valuable information is available in log files, you'd think more companies would pay attention to them. Workstations, servers, firewalls, appliances, and other computer devices generate reams of event logs every day, and despite mountains of evidence showing their practical, cost-saving uses, logs often go ignored. A good log management system can help significantly with security, application troubleshooting, compliance, and systems management. If that's the case -- and it is -- why do logs and log management sometimes still get a bad rap?

The ultimate guide to Windows 7 security

Windows 7 has been warmly received and swiftly adopted by businesses, with the result that many IT admins are now struggling with the platform's new security features. In addition to changes to User Account Control, BitLocker, and other features inherited from Windows Vista, Windows 7 introduces a slew of security capabilities that businesses will want to take advantage of.

Application whitelisting in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Microsoft's AppLocker, the application control feature included in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, is an improvement on the Software Restriction Policies (SRP) introduced with Windows XP Professional. AppLocker allows application execution rules and exceptions to them to be defined based on file attributes such as path, publisher, product name, file name, file version, and so on. Policies can then be assigned to computers, users, security groups, and organizational units through Active Directory.

Application whitelisting review: CoreTrace Bouncer

CoreTrace's Bouncer 5 is application control and more. Bouncer is the only product in InfoWorld's review that successfully protected against buffer overflows. It also offers unique write protection of whitelisted files and does a nice job of handling updates to controlled applications.

Application whitelisting review: Bit9 Parity Suite

As many product vendors can readily tell you, this reviewer is the ultimate computer security cynic and a tough writer to please. I'm unsparingly critical of overhyped products. Although I've evaluated a number of excellent products over the years, I've never given a perfect 10 in any scorecard category -- until now. Bit9 Parity is one of the few computer security products that, if deployed in your Windows environment, will radically and immediately reduce your enterprise's level of security risk. It's not perfect, and it did not score a perfect 10 in every field -- but it earned the highest score this reviewer has ever given.

Application whitelisting review: McAfee Application Control

McAfee Application Control 5.0 (due out Dec. 15) is the result of McAfee's acquisition of Solidcore and the integration of Solidcore S3 Control with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO). McAfee Application Control rivals SignaCert for the broadest client support among all the products in InfoWorld's review. It also boasts write protection and ownership protection of whitelisted files, good reporting and alerting, and no significant cons.

Application whitelisting review: SignaCert Enterprise Trust Services

SignaCert was one of the first whitelisting products available, and it now boasts more than 1 billion predefined file signatures as part of its Global Trust Repository service. It also offers file authenticity ratings, wide platform support, extensibility through XML, and excellent documentation. SignaCert's significant weakness is that it does not natively block file executions -- the only product in InfoWorld's review that does not include this ability as a standard feature.

Application whitelisting review: Lumension Application Control

Lumension Application Control is a strong whitelisting solution with broad file coverage, excellent reporting, and a complete set of Windows file definitions that can be used to spot potentially troublesome changes to system files. Its one noteworthy shortcoming is the inability to create whitelisting rules based on the digital signatures of application publishers.

How secure is Safari?

Apple's Safari, released for the Windows platform in June 2007, is the second newest browser on Windows, behind Google's Chrome. (Naturally, Apple's browser also runs on OS X, and on iPhone and iPod Touch devices in a mobile edition.) Safari leads the pack in anti-phishing filtering and pop-up blocking, but it also has many security weaknesses.