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7/29/2004
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SmartAdvice: Customer Education Key Part Of Anti-Phishing Protection

Educating customers to safeguard personal information helps prevent phishing thefts and builds loyalty, The Advisory Council says. Also, test to make sure systems are compatible with upcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2 release; and follow code-review practices to make sure your developers write secure code.

Question B: How should we prepare for the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2?

Our advice: This is a "back to basics" question of systems administration best practices. With Windows XP SP2 to be released this month, there's no time to lose. If you haven't done so already, then download and install SP2 Release Candidate 2 (RC2) on test systems immediately, even if you aren't currently using Windows XP. We recommend these priorities for testing:


Related Links

Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2

Evaluating Windows XP Service Pack 2 RC2

Justifying Replacement of Windows 98 PCs


  • Thoroughly test your publicly accessible and business-to-business extranet web sites from Internet Explorer (IE) with SP2. Even if you don't use Windows XP, many of your customers and business partners probably do, and they may upgrade quickly to get SP2's security improvements, including enhanced IE security. You don't want to be unpleasantly surprised by having some clever dynamic feature of your Web site stop working for your customers.


  • If you're using Windows XP, then thoroughly test your PC-based and client/server applications, both off-the-shelf and custom-developed. Although few programs are likely to be broken by the new security features in SP2, you don't want to be surprised by one of yours being among them.
  • Thoroughly test your intranet Web sites, for the same reasons as above.


  • Have your Windows system administrators review the administration changes in SP2, and plan the roll-out for as soon as practical after your testing of the final release is completed and any problems are resolved. There's no sense in tempting fate regarding the known security issues with Windows.

We strongly encourage companies that are still running obsolete versions of Windows--98, ME and NT 4.0--to plan the migration to Windows XP sooner rather than later. They're sitting ducks for security problems. Even those running Windows 2000 may now want to consider upgrading to XP, since Microsoft is unlikely to retrofit all the new security improvements back to Windows 2000.

-- Peter Schay

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