A few weeks ago, Microsoft quietly posted an excellent white paper on locking down Windows 2000 Server. You'll find it at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/TechNet/security/prodtech/windows/windows2000/staysecure/default.asp
If this is evidence of the change in thought and methodology from the Microsoft development group due to their enhanced security focus movement that was launched recently, maybe Microsoft has finally figured out a few things about security.
This guide introduces you to the Microsoft security frame of mind and the concepts of risk assessment. It even gives a good overview of what security should be as well as points out what areas are and are not covered in their guide.
From a reasonable introduction it gets right to the issues by discussing the management of security using group policies, securing servers based on their network role, securely managing patches, using auditing and intrusion detection and responding to security breaches (a.k.a. incidents).
Even if you don't read the entire document, be sure to look at the appendixes and job aids. In those final pages you'll discover some useful information condensed into an easy to access and use format. The end materials include a detail of the security settings for all system files when the baseline policy is used, the settings for default services when the baseline policy is used, a threat and vulnerability assessment questionnaire, a collection of common security blunders, a table of attack methods and countermeasures and an incident response checklist.
About the author
James Michael Stewart is a researcher and writer for Lanwrights, Inc.
This was first published in April 2002