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Windows NT Security Systems March 2, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in Archives, Security, Technologies.
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Windows NT Security Systems

The starting point for strong Internet security is the operating system of any machine connected to it. Fortunately for the organizations using IIS 4.0, strong levels of security were built into the core of Windows NT in order to meet and exceed certifiable security standards, i.e. the C2 security guidelines required by the U.S. Department of Defense’s evaluation criteria. Windows NT security contrasts sharply with the thin and weak security layers that are bolted on to the top of some other operating systems.

Compliance with the C2 security standard was originally only required for government organizations. However, many commercial organizations are demanding the same level of security, and they recognize the value that such standards offer. The main requirements for C2 compliance are:

  • User identification and authentication. Before gaining access to the systems, a user must prove their identity. This is typically done by providing a user-id / password combination, for example by entering the details via a keyboard or by the presentation of a device such as a smart card which stores such information.
  • Discretionary access control. Each object within the system, for example files, printers and processes, must have an owner—who can grant or restrict access to the resources at various degrees of granularity.
  • Auditing Capabilities. The system must provide the ability to log all user actions and object access, and include enough information to identify the user that performed any operation. Such information must only be accessible by system administrators.
  • Safe Object reuse. The system must guarantee that any discarded or deleted object cannot be accessed, either accidentally or deliberately, by other entities.
  • System integrity. The system must protect resources belonging to one entity, from being interfered with by another entity.

The C2 guidelines are applicable to standalone systems, and are specified in the document Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC). Fortunately, to make life simpler, this is often referred to as the Orange Book, thanks to the color of its cover. Other specifications that expand on the Orange Book include the Red Book for networking, and the Blue Book for subsystems.

Obtaining C2 certification is a long and complex task, and Microsoft are pushing hard for complete certification. Windows NT has passed the Orange Book certification process (for a standalone PC, not connected to a network) and is on the DOD’s official list of evaluated products. At the time of writing, Windows NT 4.0 is undergoing Red and Blue book evaluations.

Read More…Windows NT Security Systems

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: All Apps Comes Of Age March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: All Apps Comes Of Age

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If you’re familiar with Windows Phone, you know that this system presents a dual view user experience, with a primary screen called the Start screen that is filled with pinned tiles and a secondary screen called All Apps that lists every single app installed on the device. In the Windows 8 Developer Preview, however, only the Start screen was readily available. To get to All Apps, curiously, you needed to instantiate a search.

Guess what just got a lot easier?

In the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft has fixed All Apps, making it much easier to access and, as important, making it even more useful than the similar feature in Windows Phone.

To access All Apps from the Start screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the new App Bar and then tap the All Apps button. (With the keyboard, you can tap WINKEY + Z. Or, with a mouse, just right-click the Start screen.)

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The new All Apps interface, shown below, includes a few improvements, too.

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First, as you install new applications, the All Apps screen will segregate each of the app’s various executables into groups so that they’re together. As you can see above, there are groups for internal items (Windows Accessories) as well as applications that were installe separately by the user (Microsoft Office).

Also, the presentation is denser than it was in the Developer Preview, providing more apps onscreen at once.

Microsoft tells me, however, that one more change is coming. What’s missing, currently, is a way to easily get back to where you just were. So between the Consumer Preview an RTM, Microsoft will add an App Bar to the interface with a button to go back.

Note that you can still search for apps as before, and that’s true whether you’re in the Start screen or the All Apps view. To start a search, simply start typing any letter.

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Microsoft, Paul Thurrott, Software, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts

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With the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft has completely overhauled the system of keyboard shortcuts that utilize the ubiquitous Windows Key, and as you’ll soon discover, virtually ever letter in the alphabet is now assigned to some function. This change is in keeping with the company’s desire to make Windows 8 highly usable not just by beginners with touchscreen-based devices, but also by more experienced users on traditional PCs.

Here’s the complete list of Windows Key keyboard shortcuts in Windows 8. Unless otherwise noted, each is attained by tapping and holding down the Windows Key on your keyboard while striking another character…….

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Windows 8 App Previews March 1, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in BlogoSphere, Paul Thurrott.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Windows 8 App Previews

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There’s been some confusion about the apps that are included with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Many of these apps resemble Metro-style versions of apps that Microsoft currently includes in Windows Live Essentials, and that’s not a coincidence, as they too "complete" the Windows 8 experience. But they’re included only to provide testers with this more complete experience. They’re not part of Windows. Rather, most of these apps will ship with Windows 8 on most new PCs, and will be available separately, and for free, from the Windows Store.

So what’s an App Preview? According to Microsoft, its own internal apps developers began work on these apps at about the same time that external developers received the Developer Preview code at BUILD. And with the underlying Windows 8 platform only complete for about two months, these apps are not as far along as is the OS. So they’re branded as App Previews to differentiate them from the underlying system, which is more robust and mature.

To be clear, not all of the apps included with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview are App Previews. For example, the two included games, Pinball FX2 and Solitaire, are not. I think the naming here is telling, though, and not just for the fact that each app is incomplete.

In any event, here’s a quick rundown of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview App Previews…….

Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO formats February 29, 2012

Posted by John Ruby in *New Products, Beta, Downloads Links, Microsoft, Software, Uncategorized, Windows 8.
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Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO formats

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO images

420965_10150603174698721_20528438720_9242330_625369686_n[1]

Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO files (.iso) are provided as an alternative to using Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup. If you are on a PC running Windows and want to install the consumer preview on another partition, another PC, or a virtual machine, we recommend you download Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup and use the built-in tools for converting an ISO image into installation media, such as a DVD or USB bootable flash drive. You can find additional information, including a list of supported upgrades, in the FAQ.

Note before you download: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is prerelease software that may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. If you decide to go back to your previous operating system, you’ll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC.



ISO images

An ISO image must be converted into installation media stored on a DVD or a USB flash drive. Instructions are provided on this page. Developer tools are available for download from Windows Dev Center.

English
64-bit (x64) Download (3.3 GB) Sha 1 hash — 1288519C5035BCAC83CBFA23A33038CCF5522749
32-bit (x86) Download (2.5 GB) Sha 1 hash — E91ED665B01A46F4344C36D9D88C8BF78E9A1B39
Product Key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J