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Tim Mullen

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WinXP SP2: stop moaning and get downloading

Opinion At long last, Service Pack 2 for XP has arrived. Like many in the security community, I'm excited about this, as it represents real, true progress for Microsoft and their commitment to security. This is not just a Service Pack - it really includes functionality, usability, and core changes in the underlying code extensive enough …
Tim Mullen, 12 Aug 2004
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E-voting terminals: gambling with data?

Opinion Making electronic voting terminals more like slot machines won't keep elections secure from tampering. Neither will using ATMs as a model improve the prospects for data integrity. There is a children's day care facility in my area called "The Pied Piper". Apparently, many people around here don't have a problem with that. …
Tim Mullen, 20 Jul 2004
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Internet Explorer. Quick, call security!

Opinion Most of you have heard of a reportedly widespread compromise of an unknown number of clients through an unpatched vulnerability in Internet Explorer. The clients were owned by visiting commercial websites that had previously been compromised by a yet undetermined method; the attackers dropping code onto those servers that …
Tim Mullen, 28 Jun 2004
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MS' anti-virus bounty success

Opinion When Microsoft first announced its "bounty" program late last year, many security experts condemned the initiative as a mere publicity stunt: a marketing tactic designed to distract gullible users from the "real issue" with Microsoft products. With a No Honor Among Thieves mindset, I predicted that the program would yield …
Tim Mullen, 19 May 2004
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Clueless user: ditch the victim mentality

Opinion Writing these columns gets tough sometimes. It can be quite a challenge to keep content current while trying to add value by driving home the basic concepts of security without sounding like a broken record. But it is clear to me that even today, with products like XP and Windows 2003, many people still live in a world of …
Tim Mullen, 28 Apr 2004
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Security: getting the facts about cybergeddon

When everyone in the security world has something to sell, it's harder than ever to get straight answers about genuine threats. A client called me a few weeks back cursing like Joe Pesci with Tourette's Syndrome. He had found himself defending against a maelstrom of security issues that had "become unmanageable", as he put it …
Tim Mullen, 16 Mar 2004
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‘The clueless users who refuse to upgrade’

Opinion Microsoft can end the scourge of e-mail viruses by ending its support for old software, and the clueless users who refuse to upgrade, writes SecurityFocus columnist Tim Mullen. Well here we go again. We are suffering through yet another email-borne virus (this one called Novarg) whose infection has reportedly trumped out all …
Tim Mullen, 3 Feb 2004
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Locking your door in 2004

Opinion I've never been a big believer in "New Year's Resolutions." I figure if you're going to resolve to do something (or not do something) waiting for a new year to is really just an excuse to procrastinate, writes SecurityFocus columnist Tim Mullen. But when I look back over the last year and consider some of the security issues we …
Tim Mullen, 13 Jan 2004
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Busting the Worm Writers

Opinion Microsoft deserves praise for offering a cash reward to catch people who criminally exploit their bugs, argues SecurityFocus columnist Tim Mullen. The Microsoft bounty is almost old news, but I could not let the subject slip by without throwing in my two cents worth. For the cave dwellers out there, let me summarize: Microsoft …
Tim Mullen, 25 Nov 2003
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All the stupid people. Where do they all come from?

Opinion Microsoft's best chance for regaining the revenue lost to security concerns isn't in eliminating bugs, writes SecurityFocus columnist Tim Mullen. Two years ago I wrote about how security would become critical to the success of Microsoft, and how the challenge of combining "simplicity and security" would represent the highest …
Tim Mullen, 3 Nov 2003
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CCIA Report is Bad Medicine

Opinion The proposed cure for the Internet's security woes might help Microsoft competitors, but it would only make our security problems worse, writes SecurityFocus columnist Tim Mullen. A recently published report from the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) claims that "Microsoft's monopoly of the desktop …
Tim Mullen, 14 Oct 2003
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Bruce Green of Death

Opinion We spend money, increase administration, and take away functionality. Is it any wonder that security people are so misunderstood, asks SecurityFocus columnist Tim Mullen. A friend of mine from Japan has been in the States about ten years now. Though her English vocabulary is better than many native speakers I know, she still …
Tim Mullen, 23 Sep 2003
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Adding Security to MCSE

Opinion Shiftless third-party prep courses have made MCSE certification less valuable. Is Microsoft's new security cert doomed to the same fate, asks Tim Mullen, SecurityFocus columnist. When you and I consider the word "traffic," images of data packets and protocol streams inevitably spring to mind. However, the everyday users that we …
Tim Mullen, 9 Jun 2003
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'Relax, It Was a Honeypot'

Opinion A security company cleverly tricks hackers into compromising one of its distribution sites. Really. Jim Fiebig once said that no one should be allowed to play the violin until they have mastered it. It is a humorous paradox, and for those who have been in the proximity of a fledgling violinist, one with merit. As clever as …
Tim Mullen, 19 May 2003
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Windows Server 2003 – Secure by Default

Opinion With Windows Server 2003, Microsoft has finally produced an operating system that isn't begging to be hacked on the first boot, writes SecurityFocus columnist Tim Mullen. One of the biggest criticisms of Windows 2000 was its "everything on" default installation state. For a consumer operating system, it made sense: people …
Tim Mullen, 28 Apr 2003
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Out of the Slammer

Opinion With the Slammer worm network security becomes literally a matter of life and death. Where do we go from here, asks Tim Mullen? Three hundred and seventy-six bytes. That's all there was to "Slammer," 376 bytes. When you think about it, it's amazing that a piece of code could have wreaked such havoc on the Internet and caused …
Tim Mullen, 3 Feb 2003
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Why I should have the right to kill a malicious process on your machine

Opinion SecurityFocus logo Opinion A lot has happened since my Right to Defend column in SecurityFocus Onlinr last July, and the subsequent presentation I made at the Blackhat Security Briefings in Las Vegas. The idea has withstood a lot of criticism. To refresh, I believe you should have the right to neutralize a worm process …
Tim Mullen, 14 Jan 2003
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Charney an ominous MS pick

At the Blackhat Security Briefings in New Orleans last week my standard opening question in conversation was, "So, what do you think about Scott Charney?" For the most part, the standard response was, "Who's that?" If you have not heard yet, Microsoft has announced that Mr. Charney, previously a security and cybercrime …
Tim Mullen, 12 Feb 2002
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Microsoft's crucial new hire

Bill Gates' recent company-wide memo outlining Microsoft's vision for Trustworthy Computing has generated lots of attention, both good and bad. To some, it is more Microsoft rhetoric wrapped inside a public relations campaign designed to postpone accountability for producing secure products until they can get .NET out the …
Tim Mullen, 22 Jan 2002
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‘Win-XP hole’ misrepresented by FBI, press, Gibson

Everyone from the FBI to the LA Times has something scary to say about the new XP vulnerability. Here's why they all have it wrong. The creation of marketing niches from Microsoft technologies is a model of perpetual motion. Redmond develops the products, and we get paid to implement, install, configure, customize, upgrade, …
Tim Mullen, 31 Dec 2001
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Microsoft's Trick or Treat

In the gothic novel of public opinion, Microsoft is a veritable "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." The general business community regards Microsoft as a prominent and respected corporation with a substantial product line which has literally changed the face of modern-day computing. It's stock is on the rise (presumably in reaction to …
Tim Mullen, 30 Oct 2001
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Can IIS flourish post-Gartner?

As the cashier at my local Safeway handed over the receipt for my groceries, she smiled and said "Thank you! You saved six dollars with your card!" Though I said "Thank you" back, I was really thinking "Yeah... Saved six bucks, and it only cost me $175." Gartner Research, in their recommendation for corporations to dump IIS, …
Tim Mullen, 9 Oct 2001

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