Presented by Todd Lammle. He is becoming one of my favorite presenters. Todd demonstrated how easy it is to hack wireless networks and even provided a few tools. He stressed that he is a big fan of Vista and Server 2008. He agreed that the interface isn’t the best and there are program compatibility issues, but the networking stacks in both are far superior to previous MS network stacks.
He also spoke about a feature in Vista that I wasn’t aware of. It is called Compound TCP. Essentially, Microsoft Research developed some methods of increasing performance in high latency networks. Compound TCP is in both Vista and Server 2008, but it is not on by default in Vista. To turn it on, open a command prompt and enter:
netsh interface tcp set global congestionprovider=ctcp
Since I’ve turned it on, I’ve noticed my network performance has been much improved. So if you have a Vista laptop and use wireless, I suggest giving it a try. I think I’ll experiment later to see how it affects wired connections, if at all.
Todd had a great wireless security design tip. He of course recommends setting up your real corporate wireless network and turning off SSID broadcasting. But he also has several old Linksys WAPs around the building all broadcasting SSIDs, but not connected to the network. He has a couple with no security, a couple more with WEP, and then a couple more with WPA (your real corporate network uses WPA-2). He said it gives something for weak crackers to play with. Even if they do get "hacked", no big deal since they don’t go anywhere. Fun!
Presented by J. Peter Bruzzese. I felt pretty good that I already knew most of the tips from this presentation. Peter interviewed 50 different Vista developers and compiled all of their best tips into a book. I still think I’ll end up buying it. With all the bad press, the more benefits for Vista I can find, the better.
One that I wasn’t familiar with was disabling hibernation. This is a feature that is great for laptops, but not much use for desktops. When you hibernate, an image of you system RAM is copied on your hard drive. If you have a lot of RAM (ie 2GB+), this can be a good chunk of drive space. To disable hibernation, run the command:
powercfg -h off
But then you need to run the disk cleanup utility to remove the hibernation file (hiberfil.sys). I’m not sure if hibernation is on by default on all Vista installs, but I think it is.
Another on by Mark Minasi. Why have I never heard of this guy? He’s so motivating and inspiring. And he knows his stuff. I have become pretty familiar with UAC during the last year, but this session really broke it down even further. I think Mark wrote a whole book on it. This is another feature that has received bad press, but it is actually pretty sweet. I’m sure it’ll only get better in the future. He also covered another level of Vista security that I didn’t even know was there. After years of implementing some poor security decisions, it is clear that Microsoft really tried to nail it down with Vista. Perhaps this is one of the reasons most users are poo-pooing it? Security isn’t sexy, but it is important. It has taken them awhile to get where they are, but now that they have it I suppose they can focus on more "fun" features for Windows 7.