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Top Posts of 2008

Because it’s the holiday season, when my creativity and free time are both at their lowest, I’m going to take a method from the television world (the clip show) and do a “best of” post. These are the top TechScrawl posts of 2008 based on visitor count and reader feedback.

1) VMWare ESX / Microsoft Hyper-V Comparison – This is by far my most popular post to date. Written in August (before the release of Hyper-V Server standalone) it gives a good feature summary of these two releases. It also got me quoted in the Sept. edition of Computer Business Review magazine.

2) BackTrack 3 Tips – A fairly short post with 3 networking related tweaks, it nonetheless got a ton of hits, owing to the popularity of this security distro. Look for more BackTrack related posts in the future.

3) Simple SOHO IDS with Snort & a DIY Network TAP – One of my first posts after starting this blog in April, it discussed Snort placement in the network and constructing your own network tap.

4) Analyzing Windows Crash Dumps in 3 Easy Steps – Getting started with crash dump analyzing can be difficult. While it can be much more complex than the description in this post, I simplified it down to 3 steps that will be adequate for most troubleshooters.

5) Top 10 IT Security Tasks To Complete Before You Die – A post from early December, but still very popular, partly due to TechScrawl’s recent inclusion in the Security Bloggers Network.

See you in 2009.

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Random Tech-Bits: 19 Dec 2008

Friday Link Round-Up:

Ethical Hacking Course Launched in UK – “students will be taught how to run denial-of-service attacks…tricks of social engineering…as well as how to create viruses“.  I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing, I guess the info is already out there anyway, so why not?

What Your Computer Does While You Wait – Great post delving into internal architecture and component interaction.

Personal Branding Tips To Avoid Getting Fired – Non-technical but timely article. Tip #9: write a blog, check.

U.S. Unprepared For Cyber-Attack – “The war game simulated a dramatic surge in computer attacks… revealed flaws in leadership, planning, communications and other issues.”

Secure Data Transmission Within Windows Networks – Interesting encryption solution from Unisys facilitating secure data sharing between “communities of interest” in Active Directory based networks. Designed to meet DoD security challenges, but  should see some private sector use.

Case Study: Suspicious Network Traffic

In this post I describe a recent investigation of suspicious network traffic on an organization’s network. Although the traffic ended up not being malicious, the hope is that the basic investigation methodologies described may be helpful to those in similar situations. The tools used include Wireshark network monitor, select Sysinternals utilities, and those built into the Windows OS.

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Review: “Schneier on Security”, for IT Professionals

Allow me to get this out of the way first, I’m not a book reviewer, as I’m sure will be evident from reading this post. However I do work in IT, and I do deal with security issues, which makes me one of the potential target audiences for Bruce Schneier’s latest book. If you don’t know who Schneier is, this description from his website sums it up well:

Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a security guru… best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic“. He is also the Chief Security Technology Officer of the BT Group.

I received a copy of Schneier on Security several weeks ago, and have read with interest since then his opinions on security. The book is a collection of previously published blog posts and print & newsletter articles written by Bruce over the past few years, so if you’ve been a regular reader of his work this may be nothing new for you.

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Top 10 IT Security Tasks To Complete Before You Die

top10A popular subject in recent books and articles has been the “top x things to do before you die” topic. In that vein, I’ve put together the “Top 10 IT Security Tasks To Complete Before You Die” (you may not want to wait that long though).

1. Have a Security Program

This can be the most difficult one to implement simply because of the planning required, but it can have the biggest long term payoff. The program should include regular contact with users to educate about current threats, social engineering tactics, etc. It should address security policies and procedures, threat escalation and incident response. The program should also include a DR plan. There are many other considerations that need to be taken into account, but the bottom line is that not having a formal security program is a huge mistake.

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Snort IDS & BASE on Server Core 2008

I’ve used the Snort Intrusion Detection System for about two years, and while I’m far from an expert and my experience with other IDS platforms is limited, I believe Snort to be one of the best solutions out there, especially for the price (free). There is definitely a learning curve associated with it, but Snort is highly configurable and its extensibility means it can be suited to fit the needs of almost any environment.

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Random Tech-Bits: Friday Link Roundup – Nov 14

Interesting IT & InfoSec related links this week:

30 Skills Every IT Person Should Have – InfoWorld Article. This is one of the better lists like this I’ve come across.

Security Vulnerabilities in SOHO Routers – Very interesting paper discussing a number of the weaknesses found in SOHO routers.

Breaking WEP & WPA – Paper covering the recent WPA TKIP attack.

Roughly 25% of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable – Article covers a recent study showing many DNS servers still vulnerable to cache poisoning attacks.