Microsoft Releases Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
This week, Microsoft publicly released Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), providing Windows Server 2003 users with some significant security enhancements and reliability and performance improvements.
Microsoft has taken its time to deliver this Service Pack; it comes almost two years after the initial release of Windows Server 2003.
"With Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, our development team took the time to treat the root cause of many security issues, not just the symptoms. This service pack is very significant and should help address certain classes of exploits," said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft. "Service Pack 1 is a major component of our overall strategy to help keep customers as secure as possible. I encourage all of our Windows Server 2003 customers to deploy Service Pack 1."
Windows Server 2003 SP1 provides new functionality to address known security vulnerabilities including:
- Security Configuration Wizard (SCW). This makes it easier to reduce the attack surface area. SCW gathers information about specific server roles, and then automates blocking all services and ports not needed to perform those roles.
- Windows Firewall. First released with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Firewall serves as a host (software) firewall around each client and server computer on a customer's network.
- Post-Setup Security Updates (PSSU). PSSU blocks all inbound connections to the server after installation of SP1 until Windows Update has delivered the latest security updates to the new computer.
Other Service Pack 1 features that offer customers a more robust security defense include Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Metabase Auditing, which allows administrators to identify potential malicious users should the store become corrupted, stronger defaults and privilege reduction on services to establish a minimum security threshold for applications, and the addition of Network Access Quarantine Control components to allow administrators to isolate out-of-date virtual private networking (VPN) assets.
According to Microsoft, you can expect to see an increase in overall reliability and performance with the enhancements in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. Internal testing at Microsoft shows you can expect increased performance and reliability up to 50 percent, depending upon workload, after deploying Windows Server 2003 SP1.
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