Microsoft Policy Analyzer 3.0 Update available

WARNING: THIS link will download Policy Analyzer 3.0 and samples in a safe zip file from Microsoft:

Microsoft Policy Analyzer 3.0 is now available  and according to Aaron Margosis: “Policy Analyzer is a utility for analyzing and comparing sets of Group Policy Objects (GPOs).”  There is a pdf file that is included with the download that explains how to use the application. The new updated 3.0 version also includes several PolicyRules files that can be imported into the Policy Analyzer application and used to compare to the computer’s policies or any imported GPO backup files.

The best use of this software in my opinion is to use it in a domain to analyze your organization’s Group Policy Objects and to look for conflicts with Local Policies or within all the GPOs. You can point it to the SYSVOL folder and import the group policy objects that are being used in the domain. Then by comparing them, you will be alerted to any conflicts and you can export the results to an Excel spreadsheet. It is an excellent tool that will take some time to get used to, but it is extremely important for any security professional to do an analysis of an organization’s policies.

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Add-ons or Extensions that help protect your privacy online.


I have been using several add-ons (in Firefox) and extensions (in chrome) that attempt to help you keep your information private while you work or surf the web. Extensions such as Ghostery will actually block tracking cookies and beacons from being placed in your browser. There are also add-ons such as that attempt to also block social widgets and trackers while claiming to do it faster than other filtering apps. I have also been using IBA (opt-out) for Chrome, or Keep my Opt Outs, which simply keeps opt-out cookies in your browser for many of the known advertising or information brokers even after deleting your cookies.

Well, I recently found a couple of new extensions that I wanted to check out… Privacy Fix and Privacy Suite, which I actually hoped one of these could actually function to replace all the other addons that have accumulated over time. It would be nice to have one extension that can actually do everything that all of these other add-ons do separately. Well, next week I will go into more detail dexcribingPrivacy Suite which aims to be the answer to this question. Privacy Suite is for Firefox and is made by privacy powerhouse Abine. I use a few of Abine’s other extensions which my favorite is MaskMe, so I decided to check out Privacy Suite to see if it could allow me to get rid of some of the other extensions that do basically the same thing. Here’s a demonstration... However, If you are looking for a fully featured privacy extension for Chrome you can try PrivacyFix (by PrivacyChoice)

“The Privacyfix browser extension scans for privacy issues based on your Facebook and Google settings, the other sites that you visit and the companies tracking you. Privacyfix then takes you instantly to the settings that you need to fix. Privacyfix also can warn you of new privacy issues as you surf the web, so you know when sites like Facebook change their privacy policies or have privacy breaches.” – PrivacyFix FAQ at . What it actually does is ask you to log in to the popular social networks Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn and it will check your settings on these networks and if they can be tweaked in any way to offer you more privacy, then you will be prompted to click FIX and you will be brought to the correct place in the settings on the site to change your settings. This is especially useful for LinkedIn because in my case, it found some settings that I have overlooked and allowed me to correct them.

After you fix your settings you are brought back to the Privacy Fix control panel and then you will see which websites that you have visited allow for you to request that they delete your personal information. To “fix” this part privacyfix will create an email from you to all of these sites requesting that your personal information be deleted from their data stockpiles. You can edit the email and send it, or you can choose not to send it and return to the control panel. Next there is a quick button FIX to delete any tracking cookies that PrivacyFix has found in your browser, and there is also a list shown of all the logos of sites you have visited that are known for some type of user tracking or analytics, and as you hover over each one you are given more information on how each site tracks its users. There is also a handy privacy healthbar that will display in your toolbar different colors depending on the privacy policy of the website that you are currently on. Privacy Fix is easy to use, and offers a little more functionality than Ghostery and other privacy extensions, therefore I recommend trying it out at least to help you configure your social network privacy settings to keep your data more secure.

In my next article I will go into detail explaining PrivacySuite by Abine and comparing it with other extensions and add-ons.