Collecting and tracking asset and inventory information about all of the Windows devices on your network can be tedious. This info can include all of the software components installed, including serial numbers, all of the Windows updates installed and even warranty information for Dell and HP devices. WhatsConnected 3.0 can do that for you with new asset management capabilities that include Windows services and workstation inventories.

Join Jason Williams, the WhatsUp Guru, as he shares best practices for mapping and discovering servers and workstations in a live webinar this Wednesday, February 9th at 10 a.m. EST. Register today!

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There’s some interesting news going on regarding a warning that Microsoft gave on Friday (7/16/10) about hackers exploiting a critical unpatched Windows vulnerability.

I read on Networkworld.com that “hackers have been exploiting a bug in Windows ‘shortcut’ files, the placeholders typically dropped on the desktop or into the Start menu to represent links to actual files or programs.”

Also in the article, Dave Forstrom, one of the directors in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group, said:

In the wild, this vulnerability has been found operating in conjunction with the Stuxnet malware.”

If you’re unfamiliar with Stuxnet, it’s a “clan of malware that includes a Trojan horse that downloads further attack code, including a rootkit that hides evidence of the attack.”

Siemens, according to this Computerworld article, sees this virus as “new and highly sophisticated“, and in the same article there’s a disturbing quote from a large utility IT professional:

This has all the hallmarks of weaponized software, probably for espionage,” said Jake Brodsky, who asked that his company not be identified because he was not authorized to speak on its behalf.

In the end, I think that Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos, is right on when he perfectly summed up the virus with one word. He simply called the threat “nasty“.

WS_FTP Professional 12.2 has just been listed as “Windows 7 Compatible” for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 on Microsoft’s official compatibility site.

Official posting on Microsoft’s “Windows 7 Compatibility Central”:
http://tinyurl.com/yguobxo

This means that professionals and IT departments now have a certified compatible and full featured FTP client to use with Microsoft’s most recent operating system.

Ipswitch is a Microsoft Certified Partner and used both the Microsoft Windows 7 “Cookbook” and early access to pre-release operating system software to qualify WS_FTP Professional under both the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows 7.  WS_FTP Home, derived from the same code base as WS_FTP Professional, also supports Microsoft Windows 7.

Configuration change management sounds like a Nice-to-Have not a Need-To-Have right?

Not to Microsoft’s Bing employees, especially after last night.

Microsoft’s nascent search engine went down last night from roughly 9:30pm to 10:00pm. I noticed the outage because I thought I’d try to plan an upcoming vacation using Google’s competitor around that time. Somehow I was signed up to receive “Bing Travel Deals” emails every day and had ignored or deleted them up until last night. Ironic, right?

Naturally, upon seeing the error message, the first site I checked was Twitter (another service notorious for prolonged outages) to see if anyone else had noticed. Of course many, many people had. What could have caused Bing’s crash I wondered? I felt a pang of sympathy for the tech giant. This, the same week Windows 7 was lambasted all over the web for its Black Screen of Death.

It wasn’t long before the Bing team blogged about their misfortune and explained the reason behind the apparent crash. “The cause of the outage was a configuration change during some internal testing that had unfortunate and unintended consequences,” the team wrote.

Ha! I thought. I had just had a conversation that day with a WhatsUp Gold sales engineer about our WhatsConfigured Plug-in. He was telling me about an evaluator who had shrugged off the need to automate network device configuration file backup, restore, storage, and change management processes. He and his team could just continue to do this manually he argued.

human-error1And while this evaluator is right – he and his team can just continue to update their configs manually – he is leaving room for human error.

I feel pretty confident assuming Microsoft will not be leaving configuration changes open to human error again. Because they know first hand that even if its done correctly 99.9% of the time, there is still that .01% chance that something completely avoidable could go terribly wrong. And I ask, Why take unnecessary chances?

Take a minute to check out WhatsUp Gold’s WhatsConfigured. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

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