VMware still ships Easter Eggs in vSphere!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 08.06.2014 at 13:29

It is not a new thing from VMware to ship Easter Eggs in their products. Numerous versions of vSphere shipped with those. While that may have been cute in 1995, we live in a very different, very connected world where this doesn’t pass muster.


How cute.

Surely, in this post-Snowden world VMware wouldn’t have left Easter eggs in their Enterprise Class, Enterprise Cost vSphere 5.5. I mean, come on, the Pong Easter Egg has been publicly noted and the world is more sensitive about security than ever before. VMware got rid of this right?


This still exists in vSphere 5.5 (!!!) and who know what other surprises are in there and what they haven’t disclosed in their security audits. So much for Enterprise Class. This is more like Fisher Price class.

This post was adapted from a piece originally written by: Jeff Woolsey, Principal Group Program Manager, Windows Server Virtualization.

Barracuda Web Application Firewall, Cloud Edition: Now on Windows Azure

by Shijaz Abdulla on 16.01.2014 at 18:30


Barracuda Networks offers a fully scalable security solution running in Windows Azure to protect services from different types of attacks. For any projects requiring extra security Barracuda Web Application Firewall can be used for Security-as-a-Service option.

The Barracuda Web Application Firewall, Cloud Edition is the first integrated, fully scalable security solution on Windows Azure. With predefined security templates and load balancing built in, companies of all sizes can enjoy total application security with no need to learn, configure, and manage complex technology. Download the Barracuda WAF on Azure whitepaper to learn more on why application firewalls makes sense in Azure.

  • Comprehensive protection against inbound attacks – including zero-day exploits and the OWASP Top 10
  • Advanced Outbound data loss prevention (DLP) to ensure confidential data stays that way
  • Automatic security updates and virtual patching through Energize Updates to stay ahead of new and evolving threats.

Microsoft Virtual Academy: Free Training

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.11.2011 at 09:19


Cloud Computing! It’s one of the biggest opportunities for IT Professionals in recent years.  But wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple, effective way to get the skills and training you need to take advantage of this opportunity, and also get the recognition and rewards that you deserve?

This is where Microsoft can help give your career a boost.

Visit the Microsoft Virtual Academy training portal now and register to receive free and easy access to training for IT Professionals who want to get ahead in cloud computing. This content was developed by leading experts in the field, and the modules ensure that you acquire the essential skills and gain credibility as a cloud computing specialist in your organization.

MVA courses include:

  • Introduction to SCVMM, Architecture & Setup
  • Creating VMs,Template & Resources in VMM
  • Managing Windows Azure
  • SQL Azure Security
  • Identity & Access
  • Data Security and Cryptography


Microsoft shuts down spam network, reduces worldwide spam by 39%

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.03.2011 at 10:56

Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), working together with the US Federal law enforcement units has brought down Rustock, the world’s largest email spam network.

Rustock, a botnet, that controlled around 2 million zombie machines worldwide, was sending out up to 30 million spam email messages each day into cyberspace.

no-spamRustock was taken down piece by piece – the master controllers (botnet controllers that sent out commands to compromized ‘zombie’ machines) were identified. Microsoft, working together with the US Marshall Service, seized some of these machines in the US for analysis and collaborated with the Netherlands police to disable some of the controllers outside the US.

Microsoft then worked with service providers to black hole IP addresses that were being used to control the botnet, and with the Chinese CN-CERT to block registration of domains that could be used for these purposes.

Microsoft provides the best anti-spam solution available in the market today, and also provides a variety of best-in-class unified threat management, rights management, secure remote access and anti-malware solutions. For more information, check out the Forefront website, or speak to your Microsoft representative.

Further reading:

WikiLeaks crisis: Why is BitLocker important?

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.12.2010 at 20:25

I read with interest news articles on MSNBC and Yahoo about Bank of America’s shares falling on WikiLeaks fears.

[A spokesman for the Bank of America] said that the bank was aware that Wikileaks claimed to have the computer hard drive of a Bank of America executive more than a year ago. "Aside from the claims themselves we have no evidence that supports this assertion," he said.

In an October 9, 2009 interview, Assange told Computerworld that WikiLeaks had obtained five gigabytes of data from a Bank of America executive’s hard drive.

"Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it," Assange told Computerworld.

Why is Windows 7 BitLocker important? BitLocker Drive Encryption is a full disk encryption feature included with the Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Microsoft’s Windows Vista and Windows 7. It is designed to protect data by providing encryption for entire volumes.

If a hard disk protected by BitLocker is lost or stolen, there is NO way for the data to be retrieved by an unauthorized person.

For more information on how BitLocker can help you organization protect its information assets, please speak to your Microsoft representative or a Microsoft partner.

TMG or UAG? Which one do I need?

by Shijaz Abdulla on 30.06.2010 at 15:20

Of late, I have seen that a lot of customers and even partners are confused between the capabilities of Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) and Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG).

The most important difference is that TMG is an “inbound AND outbound” access gateway that includes a network level firewall with stateful packet inspection & application filtering, forward and reverse web proxy, VPN server (for users and site-to-site). TMG is more focused on keeping the bad guys out and to a certain extent, allowing good guys in. On the other hand, UAG is an “inbound-only” secure remote access gateway that enables you to allow "the good guys” in more securely.

I need TMG if:

  • I need an inbound and outbound access gateway
  • I need a state-of-the-art firewall with stateful packet inspection and application filtering capabilities to protect my network
  • I need built-in IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) on that firewall
  • I need a secure forward proxy for users on my network to access the internet
  • I need to be able to do web filtering based on individual URLs or URL categories (like Politics, Sports, Pornography, etc)
  • I need to be able to monitor my user’s web activity and firewall logging.
  • I need to be able to block unproductive websites and services (like IM, P2P, video sharing, etc)
  • I need to protect my users from web-based threats (web antivirus, web antimalware, block malicious websites)
  • I need Forward HTTPS inspection to protect users against web threats that are hidden inside HTTPS
  • I need to publish (reverse proxy) services to the internet (like web servers, email servers, webmail, extranet, intranet and internet portals, etc)
  • I need SSL bridging to protect my publish servers against threats embedded inside SSL
  • I need zero day protection from vulnerabilities that do not have a patch released yet (NIS)
  • I need site-to-site VPN
  • I need a VPN server for my users in addition to all the above

I need UAG if:

  • I need an ‘inbound only’ access gateway
  • I need to enable my users to securely access internal resources remotely (while they are outside the company network)
  • I need to enable Secure VPN access for users when they are outside my network
  • I need to quickly and easily enable DirectAccess for my Windows 7 users
  • I need to ensure only healthy and secure remote machines can access information/services/applications in my network with appropriate user authentication
  • I need to be able to define which applications or services these users can access and granularly define the security policies that will govern access to these services remotely
  • I need to ensure that these users can access these applications regardless of whether they are web-based, terminal services, RemoteApp or Citrix without having to establish VPN connection.
  • I need to give my users the ability to access these applications from a mobile device, or a non-Windows client such as a Mac or a Linux machine.
  • I need to provide a web-based interface that the user can login remotely and execute these applications from this portal without connecting VPN, provided his machine is healthy.
  • I need to provide a web-based interface that the user can login remotely and establish a secure SSTP VPN session or access file servers from the portal without connecting VPN, provided his machine passes the health requirements of my organization.
  • I need to be able to easily define the security/machine health policies for machines that are attempting to access these applications.
  • I have smaller remote sites where I have small numbers of users with no site-to-site VPN and just an internet connection. I need to provide them secure access to my applications over the internet.

As you can see, each product is specialized to deliver very focused capabilities. Hence it is quite possible that some organizations need both solutions while others need only one. For many smaller organizations which need a one-product solution to protect their network and provide reasonably secure remote access, TMG would be the answer. However, for designs that focus purely on inbound access, UAG needs to be considered. If an organization has separate TMG/ISA Server arrays – one for inbound access and another for outbound access – the solution is simple – use a UAG array instead for inbound access and continue using TMG for the outbound array.

Photocopy machines: A security risk!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 24.05.2010 at 14:34

So you have state-of-the-art security software and hardware rolled out in your environment, a great security and privacy policy adhered to in your organization and you have taken every step to protect your organization’s data and the privacy of your employees and customers? Think again.

What about copier machines? Did you know that almost all copier machines have a hard drive built into it? Yes? No? Watch this interesting video to learn more.

Key go-do’s:

  • Find out how many copier machines in your organization have a built-in hardware or other data storage.
  • Figure out how to clear the images saved on that hard drive
  • Document a process for discarding/repurposing used copier machines – just as you would discard computers. Make sure wiping the hard drive is on the list.
  • Make sure data on the hard drives is wiped before these machines leave your premises for repairs and maintenance.

Virtualizing Forefront Threat Management Gateway

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.05.2010 at 16:56

I thought I’d share this great video by Jim Harrison on considerations to make when planning to run Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) (or ISA Server, for that matter) on a virtualized environment.

Get Microsoft Silverlight  

In this video, he discusses:

  • Performance, security and management considerations
  • Why it’s not recommended to place TMG on the parent, and how to configure the parent partition
  • High Availability with TMG in a virtual environment
  • Configuration changes for internet-facing hosts.

Also read Jim’s whitepaper on security considerations for virtualized ISA/TMG deployments.

82.6% of PC threats in the UAE are Malware: Microsoft report

by Shijaz Abdulla on 10.05.2010 at 17:25

United_Arab_Emirates As per the latest report published by Microsoft, based on feedback from the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT). The MSRT is usually executed as part of Windows Update and currently has a user base of 500+ million computers worldwide running Windows.

The UAE were one of the countries included in the report.

However, the number of computers infected with malware in the UAE is lower than the worldwide average with only 5.8 infected computers for every 1000 computers in the country.

According to the analysis, the UAE is ‘dominated’ by malware, which accounts for 82.6% of all threats detected on infected computers. The most common category of malware in the country was found to be worms (23%) which have the ability to spread via mapped drives with missing or weak passwords or by using USB flash drives.



“Don’t use Firefox”, says German government

by Shijaz Abdulla on 24.03.2010 at 01:05

The German Federal Office for Information Security has recommended that users stop using Mozilla Firefox, less than 2 months after it also recommended not using Internet Explorer in January.

This recommendation from the German authorities came after a confirmed vulnerability was detected in Firefox.

What do I gather? If every government starts telling users to stop using every browser each time a vulnerability is discovered, I wont be surprised if one day they tell citizens to stop using the internet altogether! 🙂

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