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April 2003

Windows 2003: IIS Web server security best practices

Of all of Windows Server 2003's components, Internet Information Server (IIS) 6.0 underwent the most significant change. IIS's redesign comes as no surprise, since some of the worst attacks against Windows exploited the built-in Web server. While Win2003 doesn't fully live up to Microsoft's claim that it's "secure by default," IIS does--mostly. For convenience sake, every Win2K server and workstation came with IIS turned on by default. This left the OS open to numerous security exploits and vulnerabilities. Win2003 still comes with the built-in Web server, but it's not installed automatically. When installed, IIS is turned off by default or in a locked-down state, similar to the baseline security checklists Microsoft published for IIS 4.0 and IIS 5.0. This effectively makes an out-of-the-box Win2003 system immune to IIS- related exploits. Even when IIS is enabled, its services and extensions are locked down by default. Win2003 doesn't install the documentation or sample scripts that have been used over the years to compromise ...

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