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Can I Trust You, Mr. Wizard?

Navigating a wizard is easy. Knowing what's going on in the background, especially with a new, undocumented operating system like Windows XP is another matter. What's most troubling about the Network Connection Wizard is that when you do choose to use a VPN or even the Advanced Connection options, you get dialog boxes that look like the one shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5-Network Connection Wizard User Permissions dialog box.

Notice the wording at the top of the dialog box as well. It says "You can specify the users that can connect to your computer". There isn't any drill down here in the User Permissions dialog box to say what in-bound users will be able to see, do, have rights to change, delete, edit, copy, or redefine. It's very DOS-like in the level of trust it assumes people working through the Advanced Connections have for each other's data—which was assumed total trust. It's uncomfortable to see Microsoft create through its Advanced Connections options what is in effect a peer-to-peer network that has no real levels of Kerberos or authentication. One could argue that account specifics could be managed through the User Accounts utilities, yet the connections themselves are wide open and do not have sufficient authentication on them.

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