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MBSA 2.0 Posted to the Web

The 2.0 version of Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA), the free tool for scanning the security of networks at small and medium organizations and recommending improvements, is available on the Web this month.

Microsoft promised a July delivery back at TechEd 2005 in early June as the company launched Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and other elements of Microsoft's patching infrastructure.

At a base level, MBSA searches for common security misconfigurations and missing security updates. New features in the 2.0 version include severity ratings, local and remote scans for Office XP and Office 2003 security updates, added guidance for locating updates and necessary actions, improved help content, and support for detection of updates on 64-bit Windows and Windows XP Embedded.

MBSA 2.0 also includes Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) ID information, to make it easier for users to research any flaws that MBSA identifies in the network.

Users of WSUS will need to upgrade to MBSA 2.0 for compatibility.

In addition to Office XP and Office 2003, MBSA 2.0 scans for missing security updates in Windows 2000 SP4 and later Windows operating systems and components; Exchange Server 2000 and later; and SQL Server 2000 SP4 and later.

Configuration vulnerabilities the tool searches for include whether the Windows Firewall is enabled, whether Automatic Updates are enabled, whether strong passwords are enforced; and whether unsecured Guest accounts are enabled.

Localized MBSA releases are available in English, German, Japanese and French.

In the near future, Microsoft plans to extend MBSA with two resources. A Visio 2003 Connector will allow administrators to view the results of an MBSA scan in a Visio network diagram. Microsoft also plans to provide documentation for scripting with MBSA 2.0, including sample roll-up scripts.

Click here to see Microsoft's description of MBSA 2.0, including download information.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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