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[ISN] Windows & .NET Magazine Security UPDATE--Wiping Old Hard Disks Clean--March 31, 2004
From: InfoSec News (isnc4i.org)
Date: Fri Apr 02 2004 - 06:23:03 CST
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* In Focus: Wiping Old Hard Disks Clean
* Security News and Features
- News: Scripting MBSA 1.2
- News: Windows 2003 AD Quotas
- News: Cryptcat and Netcat; Secure Your Domain for 100 Years
- News: Three Betas: XP SP2, LimitLogon, Mozilla 1.7
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==== In Focus: Wiping Old Hard Disks Clean ====
by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity dot net
A component that's typically changed during computer upgrades is the
hard disk. Users run out of space and need a larger disk, particularly
if their existing disks are somewhat old and therefore probably have
Swapping out disks or complete systems is common, but I wonder whether
you wipe clean your old disks before sending them off for recycling or
resale. If you do wipe the disks, are you sure that data can't be
recovered from them?
Some people might think that simply using Fdisk to destroy partitions
is a good enough technique for eliminating data. After all, if the
partitions are gone, who could recover the data, right? Wrong. Fdisk
changes only partition tables--it doesn't touch the other sectors on
the drive. So any data that users stored on those other sectors is
still there, which means that someone with a little knowledge could
recover that data.
Simson Garfinkel wrote the article "Hard Disk Risk" about a year ago
for CSO Magazine. In the article, Garfinkel talks about his adventures
in purchasing old hard drives at resale shops and the data that he
found on them. One drive was formerly used in an ATM machine and
contained a year's worth of transaction records; another drive had
more than 5000 credit card numbers; yet another had sensitive personal
information about an individual Only 10 percent of the drives
Garfinkel purchased were properly wiped of data.
To wipe a disk clean, you need to overwrite all sectors on a drive in
some fashion. Some disk-wiping tools can overwrite sectors numerous
times to better ensure that the magnetic flux (which is the means by
which data is recorded) is dramatically changed so that little if any
flux remains to be used toward data recovery. Or you might decide that
one overwrite process is enough for your needs.
Garfinkel raises an interesting question: If you give your old
hardware to resellers or other organizations, do you trust these
organizations to satisfactorily delete your data? You might consider
wiping your own drives before you release them from your control. To
get the job done, you might use Autoclave, LSoft Technologies'
ActiveKillDisk, Stellar Information Systems' Stellar Wipe Safe Data
Eraser, Heidi Computers' Eraser, or any number of other tools designed
to destroy disk-based data.
If you're interested in some facts as well as theory about how someone
might recover data from your old drives and how disk-wiping technology
can help prevent that from happening, be sure to read Peter Gutmann's
extensive article on the subject.
Last week, I requested feedback about this newsletter. I've received
numerous responses and want to thank those of you who did respond.
However, I'd like to hear from even more of you! If you're so
inclined, please email me your comments. If you missed last week's
editorial, you can read it at the URL below. In essence, I welcomed
any suggestions, comments, or critiques regarding this newsletter.
Send your response to mark at ntsecurity dot net, and please prefix
the subject line with "SECUPD" so that I can more easily identify
responses to this request.
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==== Security News and Features ====
Recent Security Vulnerabilities
If you subscribe to this newsletter, you also receive Security
Alerts, which inform you about recently discovered security
vulnerabilities. You can also find information about these discoveries
News: Scripting MBSA 1.2
Updated sample scripts are now available for the Microsoft Baseline
Security Analyzer (MBSA) 1.2. Microsoft published the updates on March
Feature: Windows 2003 AD Quotas
Windows Server 2003 has a new Active Directory (AD) quotas feature
that lets you monitor and limit the number of objects a security
principal (user, group, or computer) can create in a partition. This
feature is similar to the built-in quota that Windows 2000 and later
versions assign to authenticated users for creating computer objects
except that the new Windows 2003 quotas apply to all object types.
Robbie Allen explains the new feature in this article on our Web site.
News: Cryptcat and Netcat; Secure Your Domain for 100 Years
You've probably heard of Netcat, a flexible network utility that
can perform all sorts of functions. But have you heard of Cryptcat?
The tool has been around for almost 4 years, but plenty of people
don't know it exists. Network Solutions now lets you secure your
domain name for 100 years in advance for $999.
News: Three Betas: XP SP2, LimitLogon, Mozilla 1.7
Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) to public beta
last week. Along with the beta, the company established 11 newsgroups
in which users can discuss various aspects of the service pack. The
ieXbeta.com Web site reports that Microsoft is now accepting
applications for beta testers of an upcoming Windows Server 2003
Resource Kit tool, LimitLogon, which will let you limit the number of
allowed concurrent sessions per user in an Active Directory (AD)
domain. The tool requires Windows 2003 and Microsoft IIS 6.0. The
Mozilla Organization released the Mozilla 1.7 public beta. The new
version includes improved cookie controls, support for SMTP "MSN
Authentication" in the mail client, performance improvements, and
several other enhancements.
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FAQ: Can I Move Microsoft Exchange Server Systems Between
by John Savill, http://www.winnetmag.com/windowsnt20002003faq
A. No, even in a native Exchange Server 2003 organization, you can't
move servers between administrative groups. However, if you're running
Exchange in native mode, you can move mailboxes between administrative
groups. To work around the inability to move Exchange servers between
administrative groups, you can delete a server in one group and
recreate it from scratch in another by performing the following steps:
1. Remove all resources and mailboxes from the server you want to
move (in native mode, you can move the mailboxes to another server
temporarily or use Exmerge to export the mailboxes).
2. Remove the server from the administrative group (i.e., uninstall
3. Rebuild the server and select the new administrative group.
4. If Exchange is in native mode, move the mailboxes from the
temporary Exchange server back to the original server. If you used
Exmerge, import the mailboxes and relink them to the Active Directory
Featured Thread: pcAnywhere with ISA Server
(Four messages in this thread)
Yushi writes that a client has requested that Yushi set up
pcAnywhere on the client's server so that the client can remotely
administer a database. The server is running Small Business Server
(SBS) 2000 and Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server. Yushi
wants to know how to configure ISA Server to allow access to
pcAnywhere. Lend a hand or read the responses:
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