Home > Articles > Security > Software Security

This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Background Security

The term background makes it sound as if these are less important, when in fact some are just as, if not more, important than the built-in features offered within specific areas.

Certainly preventing IIS from ever being installed at a domain level through group policy is a good way of completely eliminating IIS as a threat.

Controlling IIS Through Group Policy

Windows Server 2000 included an extensive range of group policies that can be used and applied to the users and computers within domains, and can control everything from basic password and user parameters to the specific configuration of certain elements of the operating system.

Windows Server 2003 has quite considerably increased the number of elements and areas that can be configured through the policy system. You can still configure user account and auditing settings through the group policy system, which you can use to help control the authentication and access to your site.

Also introduced in the new version is the ability to prevent users from installing IIS, or applications that required IIS, on Windows Server 2003 machines. You can use this to control IIS installations at the departmental or location/branch office level. You can also use it to protect other servers within your network on which you don't want IIS enabled—for example, a file or database server.

Existing IIS Installations

Unfortunately, the policy doesn't stop or otherwise disable existing IIS installations, only new ones. However, if you set up the policy, apply it to the servers and then remove IIS; it will stop new installations from occurring.

The policy is within Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Internet Information Services, Prevent IIS installation. There are only three settings:

  • Enabled—Installation is prevented.

  • Disabled—Machines within the domain tree are specifically allowed to install IIS.

  • Not Configured—The usual propagation rules apply.

Command Line Tool Access

Previous versions of IIS allowed command-line tools to be executed by Web applications. Sometimes this was needed for the sake of convenience; other times, it was a requirement of the application. In IIS 6, it's impossible, even as an Administrator, to execute command-line tools. This not only eliminates the ability to run most of the command line administration tools, but also prevents some viruses and worms from running and propagating.

Timeouts and Limits

Some exploits in IIS have used the long timeouts and often large limits. For example, when running a denial of service attack, the excessively long timeouts make it easy to saturate the server with a relatively small number of clients.

Also, applications served by IIS could cause performance problems and security issues by overflowing the memory and CPU with requests if there were a problem with the application or supporting libraries in some way.

The new worker process model helps alleviate this slightly by building in protection in the form of renewable processes for servicing user requests. But the limits have also been lowered so that IIS is more likely to identify an issue with an application or system before it really does start to cause problems.

Updates and Patches

One reason that the Code Red and NIMDA worms spread quite quickly and voraciously was because of an unknown exploit in IIS. Microsoft was quick to react when the worms started to spread by releasing a patch within a few days that stopped the worms dead in their tracks. In fact, an earlier patch to the operating system had already addressed one of the known exploits.

Unfortunately, not everybody had applied the patch, and even when the new patch had been released, not everybody listened—either because they didn't care, didn't think the patch or the problem applied to them, or just assumed that because they had a firewall, the problem didn't matter. Of course, the worms used an exploit that bypassed firewalls because to the firewalls it looked like standard traffic.

The bottom line is that you should keep up-to-date with the various patches and fixes that Microsoft makes available. Microsoft has made a solemn pledge with the release of Windows Server 2003 to respond to potential security threats and exploits used in the past as quickly as possible.

In addition to the 'hotfixes' released when a problem occurs and the regular service packs, just as with Windows 2000, Microsoft will also be pumping out regular updates and fixes using the Windows Update Service—the automatic system built in Windows XP and made available through Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3.

You can configure the automatic updates through the System control panel. At an individual server level, you can control how and when these updates are applied by setting the various preferences here. You can see an example of the configuration in Figure 3.10.

If you are running an array of servers and want to control the patches and updates applied to them all without doing so individually, use the Software Update Server (SUS), which provides a local copy of the Windows update service and patches. The settings for the different systems can be applied through group policies so that you can automatically install patches on some servers, whereas others require your intervention.

SUS also caches the information, so you won't download the update multiple times and you get the opportunity to individually approve patches before they get published to the clients.

Wider SUS Use

SUS downloads all the updates for your chosen platforms that you can use to keep all your workstations and servers up-to-date. Caching the updates, even in a relatively small office, can prevent you from wasting your bandwidth.

Figure 3.10Figure 3.10 Setting update intervals and automatic installation preferences.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020