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Steve Lamb's Blog
how to articles
Become a Security Insider! Join the most exciting security community in the World!
I'm the lead Technical Security Advisor for Microsoft's ITPro community in the UK. My role involves evangelising the our security technologies(most of which are built into Windows) to help ITPros deliver real world business benefits - reducing costs by enabling businesses to do more with less risk. Every...
17 Jan 2005
How to deal with risk?
Following on from my Effective Security Means Doing More with Less Risk post we need to consider how to deal with risk. The options are quite simple. Ignore it and hope the bad thing won't happen. Accept it as being manageable. Take steps to mitigate it thereby reducing the risk to a manageable level...
27 Mar 2007
How to dramatically reduce your system's Attack Surface - Use Security Configuration Wizard
SCW is an abbreviation for Security Configuration Wizard which is a means of turning off the features of Windows Server that aren't required by YOUR applications. SCW takes the guess work out of which services you can turn off, which network ports can be disabled, how much backward compatibility can...
31 Jan 2006
How to set up "Presenter View" in Powerpoint
Earlier this afternoon I helped a friend (Tony) with a couple of Microsoft Outlook problems (mainly due to the immense size of his .pst file!) when I happened to show him a couple tricks of the trade. Tony has used Microsoft Powerpoint to present to audiences all over the place for years hence I was...
4 Jun 2007
How to fix the problem of: Since enabling WPA my wireless client can't connect
I recently helped a friend of mine to implement Wireless Protected Access (WPA) at his home. I made the classic mistake of telling him that it would only take a couple of minutes to set up. Enabling WPA on his wireless router was really easy - particularly so as he as the same device as I use at home...
2 Sep 2005
How to find your way around London - here's a free journey planner for bus train tube and boat
Anyone who's visited London is likely to have used many of the available transport options including the tube (underground), bus, train (over land) and possibly the river taxis too. If you visit as a tourist then you may have time to amble around and try the various alternatives - those of you on business...
2 Dec 2005
Teaching Security to Developers
Thanks to everyone @ VBUG Birmingham last night for making me so welcome. I was greated with lots of Halloooween pumpkins - one of which was carved with a semi-colon in it rather than a face - a C# joke apparently! I delved into how Malware gets onto machines, how it works and how to avoid it....
1 Nov 2005
How to uninstall Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1
If you’ve tried installing IE8 Beta 2 onto a machine that already had IE8 Beta 1 on it then you’ll have seen the following message: Install Windows Internet Explorer 8 A previous build of Internet Explorer 8 is already installed on your computer. You must remove it before installing the latest version...
1 Sep 2008
How we at Microsoft Secure our own infrastructure
Ever wondered how we secure our own infrastructure? The ITShowCase website provides IT Professionals with the low down on how we develop, deploy and manage our enterprise technology solutions. The site contains both business decision maker suitable content and highly technical implementation detail....
13 Dec 2004
Add security requirements to your functional spec and acceptance testing as the result will be more secure code and less risk
Matthew Fisher has written written an interesting article for the Industry Insider's blog which is hosted on TechNet. We're getting quite a few submissions from people like Matt who have best practise advise for you based on their practical experience. If you have something you'd like to share then browse...
20 May 2005
Ever wondered why SSL works for some sites and not others? Welcome to the Microsoft Root Certification Programme!
If you're not a crypto geek then don't be scared - read on! If this makes as much sense as boiling icecream then please let me know and I'll explain it in simpler terms - just hit the "comment" button. When you visit a website via HTTPS you're viewing HTTP content over Secure Socket Layer (SSL). This...
25 Aug 2006
Business Agility drives us to open frontiers whilst remaining secure
Anyone who's worked as an IT Professional is likely to have faced the challenge of the need to open up access to information to third parties including customers, partners and suppliers WHILST maintaining an acceptable level of information security. Your Information Security Policy SHOULD state what...
30 Mar 2006
How to minimise the pain of patching by embracing automation
Dave Sayers has written an article that takes a look at the automated patching mechanisms provided by Microsoft. Browse here to view the article for yourself. Dave looks at MBSA, SMS and WSUS in clear concise terms.
31 Mar 2006
What Virtual Private Networking software would I recommend for Windows and how to set it up?
I was recently asked this very question and I responded with "Windows Server 2008/2003/2000 and Windows Vista/XP" provide excellent built-in Virtual Private Networking features that are standards compliant and assuming they are correctly configured can be highly secure too. There's no additional license...
7 Aug 2008
Get Safe Online's back on the road in the UK
Get Safe Online is an ongoing government initiative that's supported by commercial organisations including Microsoft - I've written about our engagements several times over the last two years. This November the team will be back on the road as they have done for the previous couple of years. The aim...
5 Oct 2007
How to get PHP to work on Windows Server 2007's IIS 7 in just six and a half minutes!
Dave Northey has posted a screencast on TechNet Edge showing how to configure IIS 7 to host PHP - there's another good one on Channel9 by Dunnry . Our aim is for Windows Server 2008's IIS 7 to be the preferred platform for hosting PHP and to that end the development team have architected the new web...
3 Jan 2008
MSN Desktop Search is now complete and available for free download
I'm sure I'm not alone in getting frustrated that I can find what I'm looking for so quickly on the Internet and yet until recently it took forever to find information by keyword search on my local PC! The finished code for MSN Search Toolbar is now available for download via this link . In addition...
17 May 2005
Dell's built-in Smartcard Reader - I didn't know it was there
I'm a muppet! I've been using a Dell 820 laptop (other machines are available) as my main machine for six months and yet hadn't realised that it had a built-in smartcard reader. I've been using a PCMCIA smartcard reader instead. While I helped James debug his machine sleep problem he asked me "what's...
9 Aug 2007
Why is Outlook performing terribly on my laptop today?
Thanks to a conversation moments ago with Eileen I now know the answer! I rebuilt my production laptop yesterday and as I was in meetings much of the day I didn't get to access the corporate network for very long at all on it - I didn't have wireless access during the meetings as we have to connect...
11 Mar 2008
Free 40 minute webcast explaining how PKI works in plain English - this will enable you to understand how to secure messages, files and network traffic
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) was once touted as the answer to all security evils. Of course there's no such “Silver Bullet” as effective security requires people, processes and technology to work in union based on a meaningful security policy. When implemented in the appropriate manner PKI can...
27 Feb 2006
Where should you start when considering Information Security?
Ron's comment asking "if it's all about risk why do we call it Information Risk Management" has certainly made me think... It's all very well for "security thinkers" to tell you all about all kinds of weird and wonderful threats to your information and "security vendors" to tell you that their "UberAntiDoodarThreatNeutraliser...
11 Aug 2006
How to segment your network via IPSec to isolate untrusted machines and limit the spread of worms
A series of seven papers covering all aspects of IPsec are now available for free download from our website. Microsoft recently deployed IPsec internally to isolate our network domains and prevent traffic from automatically passing between boundaries. IPsec is much easier to implement than many people...
3 May 2005
Tweaking the file level security of the operating system is a bad idea!
Over the last week I've two people who are suffering pain due to corporate laptop builds that have been "secured" - meaning that an untold number of access controls have been changed and parts of the operating system have been removed to "enhance the security" of the system. A complete nightmare. The...
7 Apr 2008
Facebook apps are coming to a website near you
28 Jan 2008
How to make Vista look even cooler - here are some of the best third party add ons
Thanks to David Overton and James Senior for sharing the following... If you want to see what people are doing out there to make our OS look even better, look at these: (without modifying the OS) 3d cube based virtual desktop Rotation based Flip 3D Alternative to flip-3d (switcher) Changing the screen...
29 Mar 2007
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