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[ISN] Security UPDATE -- More Flexible Security Control in IIS 7.0 -- October 5, 2005
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1. In Focus: More Flexible Security Control in IIS 7.0
2. Security News and Features
- Recent Security Vulnerabilities
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- Symantec to Acquire WholeSecurity
3. Security Toolkit
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- A Security Partner
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==== 1. In Focus: More Flexible Security Control in IIS 7.0
by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net
At the recent Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC 2005),
IIS Program Manager Chris Adams talked about upcoming features of IIS
7.0, some of which are security related.
IIS 7.0 is built on the IIS 6.0 platform, which is far more secure than
previous versions of IIS. Adams said that IIS developers learned over
time, particularly because of worms such as Code Red and Nimda, how to
improve the Web server's security. Adams said that no security
vulnerabilities have been discovered in what he calls the "IIS critical
core" since the release of IIS 6.0. Therefore IIS 6.0 serves as a good
base to build on.
IIS 7.0 brings new security features such as delegation of authority,
which is a significant improvement. This means that people can perform
delegated tasks without having administrator-level authority. So for
example, in the course of developing a new Web page, a Web developer
might want to use a new file extension type. Traditionally, an
administrator would need to add that type to the server. But the new
delegation features let an administrator delegate that authority to the
developer. This capability will improve security administration and
If you've spent a lot of time developing secure applications that run
on IIS 6.0, you won't have to spend much time moving them to IIS 7.0.
Adams said Microsoft has made sure that IIS 7.0 will support "legacy
Unlike Windows XP, which includes IIS 5.1, and Windows Server 2003,
which includes IIS 6.0, Windows Vista and Longhorn Server will ship
with IIS 7.0. The different IIS versions on XP and Windows 2003 posed
some developmental and security problems; Microsoft is aiming to avoid
those problems in the new Windows client and server OSs.
With previous versions of IIS, developers typically used Internet
Server API (ISAPI) and Common Gateway Interface (CGI) to develop custom
functionality. But IIS 7.0 will be more modular, which brings at least
two benefits: Administrators will be able to deploy IIS 7.0 with only
the modules that they require, and developers will be able to replace
functionality that they might not like. For example, if you want to use
an authentication method other than connecting to the SAM database, you
can write a replacement for IIS 7.0's authentication module. The
ability to replace this module means that developers can not only
create their own means of authenticating users but developers can also
more easily integrate support for other OSs such as Linux, BSD, and Mac
IIS 7.0 also has a new UI that exposes more of the central
configuration (metabase) properties, possibly including some security
properties. In previous versions, administrators had to modify some
aspects of the metabase by using command-line tools or by manually
editing configuration files with Notepad or the Microsoft MetaEdit
That's a brief summary of what you can expect. Development tools and
additional information for IIS 7.0 should be available on Microsoft
Developer Network (MSDN) by the end of the year. In addition, Paul
Thurrott will provide a more extensive review of IIS 7.0 on our Web
site sometime in the near future.
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==== 2. 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
Latest Office Updates Improve Outlook Security
Microsoft released Office 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and junk email
filter updates for Office Outlook 2003. Together they can help protect
against phishing attacks. Read more about the updates in this news
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==== 3. Security Toolkit ====
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