Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Improving Windows Security

The article, titled “Five Ways to Get Vista’s Security Now,” discusses five options for getting the equivalent of Vista’s User Account Control (UAC) functionality on today’s Windows. UAC is one of the most widely touted new security features in Windows Vista because it eliminates the security hole that is created by needing to log in with an administrative-level user account (many applications won’t run properly without administrative permissions).

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Active Directory and VAS

The problem first presented itself as latency in responses from the domain controllers (DCs) to the Exchange servers and Outlook clients, resulting in slow responses in the Outlook client, delays in receiving new e-mail messages, etc. Upon closer inspection, we determined that the problem was excessive CPU utilization on the DCs. As we examined the DCs more closely, we then determined that traffic from the customer’s UNIX servers were driving up the CPU usage on the DCs.

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Mass Changes in Active Directory, Take 2

In the original article on how to make mass changes to Active Directory, we discussed the use of csvde to produce the original output from Active Directory, Log Parser to massage the information into LDIF format, and ldifde to import the changes back into Active Directory. Based on some additional testing of this procedure, I made some changes to that article, and I wanted to include additional information here.

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Josh Bates

It’s a really good CD, actually, and I’m particularly enjoying a couple of the tracks. He’s got a great voice, and the music and lyrics are good. So far, the title track (“Perfect Day”) is a favorite of mine, and I’m also enjoying “Alive” and “You Say Come.” “King of Glory” is another great song, and I believe that it’s a hit single on the charts right now.

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Listing Groups in Active Directory

There’s nothing really unusual or new about the commands we’ll use to perform this task, other than the little tidbit about how to search for specific types of groups; I disclosed that information while discussing how to enumerate membership in universal groups.

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Monitoring Event Logs with Log Parser

If you haven’t yet downloaded Log Parser 2.2 (the current version), you can get it from Microsoft’s download site.

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PowerPoint Zero-Day Exploit

The zero-day exploit takes advantage of a previous unknown vulnerability in PowerPoint to install a Trojan Horse application. The vulnerability affects PowerPoint 2000, 2002, and 2003 running on various flavors of Microsoft Windows; it is unclear at this time whether Macintosh versions of Office are affected. Based on what is known of exploit, it seems unlikely that Macs could be affected by the exploit, but that is not to say that the vulnerability doesn’t exist in the Mac versions of Office. (Keep in mind that a vulnerability isn’t the same as an exploit.)

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GPMC Scripts

These scripts are mostly VBScript, with a couple JScript, and are (by default) found in the Program Files\GPMC\Scripts folder. They are designed to be executed with the cscript.exe command-line script interpreter, and they all offer help via the /? parameter on the command line.

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Remotely Changing User Account Passwords

Rather than using WMIC to do this (which is most likely possible), we’ll pull in a couple of third-party freeware tools. First, we’ll use AdFind, by Joe Richards. We certainly could have used dsquery to provide the functionality we need, but this utility offers a bit more flexibility in the output options than dsquery. Next, we’ll team AdFind up with PsPasswd, part of PsTools suite by Sysinternals.

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Listing Services Running as a User Account

You might want to identify services running as a user account for any number of reasons, including any of the following:

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