Information Search and Analysis Skills

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1.0 SYNOPSIS

The research was carried on one of Microsoft Windows operating systems which is Windows 2000. The various factors such as security, reliability and easy to use interface were discussed. In Windows 2000 security is more improved as compared to previous versions, point-to-point Tunnel protocol (PPTP) and layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP as alternative security for Virtual Private Network (VPN)). Windows 2000 security has significant benefits like confidentiality, authentification, Data integrity, Smarts cards, Encryption and Kerberos. It is a reliable desktop and laptop operating system for business of all types. It is a build on NT technology and offers rock solid reliability and manageability. The operating system provide an intelligent user interface that adapts to the way users work and this makes it more efficient.

2.0 INTRODUCTION

According to Silberschatz (2007), Windows 2000 is a type of operating systems released by Microsoft Company for use on business desktops, notebook computers and servers. This operating system was released on 17 February 2000. Windows 2000 was originally named Windows NT 5.0, this is because it was a successor to Windows NT 4.0, then Windows NT 2000 and finally was called Windows 2000. Windows NT 5.0 was the last version of Windows NT. An operating system is a boundary between the hardware and the user that manages and coordinates the activities in order to share the resources of the computer. It acts as basic program for computing applications that are run on the machine. As a basic program some of the tasks it performs are recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and directory on the disk and controlling peripherals devices such as printers and disk drives. In a nutshell, operating system handles the details of the operation of the hardware.

As it is the successor of Windows NT 4.0 operating system it was titled Windows NT 5.0. This operating system combines the stability and security of Windows NT 4.0 and Plug-and-Play capabilities of Windows 9x. windows 2000 supports new technologies such as Accelerated Graphics Ports, USB devices, DVD drives, multifunction adapter cards and also a full line of PC cards. This operating system also grants a new distributed directory service for controlling resources across an enterprise, FAT 32 support, and the internet Explorer 5 web browser.

Crowley C. (1998) said, Windows 2000 has four basic editions, these are Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 server, Windows 2000 advanced server and Window 2000 datacenter server. These editions were targeted for different markets and they share the most significant features and system utilities, which include Microsoft Management Console and typical system administration applications. The entire set of versions sustains Windows NT file system, NTFS 3.0, Encryption File System and disk storage. Windows 2000 might be installed in two ways, that is either manual or unattended installation and it requires at least 133MHZ Pentium class system with 64mb of RAM.

BACKGROUND STUDY

Security

http://www.answers.com/topic/microsoft.windows stated that, it is important to implement security on computing environment so that unauthorized users cannot have access, steal or damage system resources. Implementing security has significant benefits on computer users because only authorized personnel have access.

TCP/IP provides security on windows 2000 with internet standards that use cryptographic security services:

3.1.1 Confidentiality: Internet Protocol security (IPSec) traffic is encrypted and can only be decrypted with and encryption key.

3.1.2 Authentification: Before the receiver verifies that the message was sent by IPSec peer, the IPSec traffic has to be digitally signed with the shared encryption key.

3.1.3 Data Integrity: A cryptographic checksum that have the encryption key is found in IPSec traffic. Confirmation on modification of packets can be done by a receiver.

3.1.4 Smart Cards: To protect your network smart card technology is used in windows 2000 environment, unlike using password protection. Tamper-proof storage is offered for a user's key pair and an associated public key certificate and these keys are termed as symmetric and asymmetric keys which are protected through Personal Identification Number (PIN) that the users required to enter. If you are a smart card writer you are also a smart card reader, this means you preserve to use a generic smart card reader to write certificate to a smart card. ( http://technet Microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd316363.aspx)

3.1.5 Encryption for data: Windows 2000 offer the ability to make information unreadable that is encryption, by using the techniques of NTFS file system so that unauthorized users can not access your data. Files and folders can be encrypted by setting an attribute under Properties dialog box. Encryption is done through the use of algorithms that mess up, reorganize and encode the data. There is a key pair that has a private and public key. It is used to encode and decode the encrypted information. The user has to designate a recovery agent so that the data can be recovered when the key pair is lost or damaged. If the user has not designated a recovery agent the data cannot be recovered. (http://www.answers.com/topic/microsoft.windows)

3.1.6 Central storage of security policy and account information: the purpose of this policy is to implement security that is required by computer systems and data and grant accountability agenda for users. It also creates, processes and manages sensitive information on daily basis. The appropriate mechanism are developed and maintained to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computerized information. (http://www.answers.com/topic/microsoft.windows)

3.1.7 Kerberos: Dr.R.C.Joshi e tal (2005) stated that, these are protocols used to enable users to authenticate without sending a password over the network. A user obtains a special kind of key from the network central security at login. The protocol prevents outside attacks. The name Kerberos comes from Greek mythological three- headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades.

Reliability

This refers to the ability of the operating system to protect itself from handling error conditions, protect its users from malfunctioning software. Windows 2000 is reliable on desktop and notebook computer's operating system for businesses of all kinds. It is more reliable as compared to Windows 95 and 98. Windows 2000 uses hardware protection for virtual memory to be resistant to failings and attacks. It also uses software protection mechanism for operating system resources. Windows 2000 has local file system, which is NTFS file system and it recovers automatically from many types of file-system errors after system crash, said Dr. Joshi R. C. (2005).

Dr. Joshi R.C (2005) also stated that, changes were made on kernel-mode to make windows 2000 reliable. Kernel-mode write protection offers and reads only subsections of device drivers and kernel. It has code signing which verifies the source of system file and existing Digital Signature Cryptographic technology before windows 2000 is installed. There is also Pool tagging where better drivers and cleaner code are produced by kernel mode device drive because memory allocations are made to selected device drivers out of a special pool, unlike a shared system pool. The recovery time is reduced on Faster CHKDSK. An administrator is given one step process to dependably restart Internal Information Server. There is a kill process tree which when a parent process is stopped makes sure that all processes initiated by parent process are removed. Kernel-only crash dumps are added for contents of the kernel to be written optionally to disk after a crash. Users can correct installation problems or change settings that have caused boot problems when Safe-mode boot uses its minimal services to boot the computer.

Easy to use interface

The user interface of Windows 2000 id more improved compared to other versions. In Windows 2000 the information is accessed quickly whether it is on a computer or network. Improved wizards of windows 2000 assist users to achieve tough tasks quicker. Only items that are used more frequently are displayed on Start menu and this made the Screen clutter to be reduced. The Dialog box has been improved as words are automatically completed when the user types and most recently used words are listed so that the user can select the appropriate. The Quick launch tool bar can be used to open Microsoft Internet Explorer or to read the e-mail by adding the customizable toolbars. Also with Windows 2000 desktop, it is easy to switch between windows and the desktop because the new Show Desktop button is located on the task bar. My Documents offers a permanent location which store personal files and folders and it also has My Picture folder where photos can be stored and scanned. Windows 2000 supports multilingual, that is it can identify and establish any essential fonts or signs to observe multilingual information. Encryption and decryption methods are made transparent to authorized users because each file is encrypted with its key. Windows 2000 also provide smart cards which require users' names and passwords unlike depending on a single factor to authenticate a user. (http://technet Microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd316363.aspx)

Windows 2000 offers 25% faster performance than Windows 95 and 98 on systems with 64MB and more memory. Its web intergrated capabilities and broad support for mobile computers and hardware devices make easy for business operators to connect to internet and work anywhere and at anytime. (http://technet Microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd316363.aspx)

4.0 CONCLUSION

To conclude on this, Windows 2000 is a far more secure and reliable than previous other version. The process of installation and configuration of hardware is easy compared to NT platforms. It provides centralized management of users and resources over the network and it also offers enhanced security management of users, computers and devices. This makes Windows 2000 to support a security model stronger than those of previous Microsoft operating systems. It is interoperable with various operating systems, like Novell Netware, Windows NT Server 4.0, Macintosh, Linux and UNIX. The operating system runs on a wide variety of computers and users can choose and upgrade hardware to match their budgets and performance requirements without needing to alter the applications that they run.

REFERENCE

1. Available: http://technet Microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd316363.aspx (cited on 15 July 2009)

2. Available: http://www.answers.com/topic/microsoft.windows (cited on 17 July 2009)

3. Dr.R.C.Joshi e tal (2005) Operating Systems

4. Crowley C, (1998) Operating Systems, a design oriented Approach

5. Silberschatz A, e tal (2007) Operating System concepts

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