From the Editor The Great Debate

Joshua Hoffman

I love a great debate. I'm not talking about pedestrian disagreements, where differing opinions and strong personalities cause mindless clashes. What a waste of time. But a truly great debate, where smart people with opposing points of view come together to passionately present their arguments for consideration—that's a powerful thing. Think enlightenment. Think Socrates.

This month we present you with one of the truly great debates in the IT industry—security by obscurity. I'd explain the concept here, but I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time you finished reading those three words, most of you have already expressed your opinion on the subject, and probably out loud. I'm also willing to wager that most of you fall squarely into one of two camps: either "Security by obscurity is completely useless" or "When it comes to security, every little bit helps".

Well, this month we bring together renowned security experts Jesper Johansson and Roger Grimes to present both sides of this debate. We've also included special supportive commentary for each side from two additional luminaries, Aaron Margosis and Steve Riley. While I'm certainly proud of every page we publish, I have to admit that this is one of my favorite articles in a long time. I hope that, regardless of which side you take in this great debate, you read this piece with an open mind. I'm confident that you'll enjoy it.

This being our annual security issue, there is, of course, much more. We're revisiting some of the topics we covered in last year's issue. One of the most popular pieces last year discussed a set of Script Elevation Power Toys from contributing editor Michael Murgolo, which help run VBScript or Windows PowerShell scripts in an elevated context in conjunction with the User Account Control feature of Windows Vista. Michael received a lot of very positive feedback from that piece, so he's returned this year with a whole new set of utilities to extend his original code. I urge you to give these very powerful tools a try.

Byron Hynes was also with us last year, with an introduction to BitLocker Drive Encryption in Windows Vista. Byron reprises his role with a look at what has changed in BitLocker with the release of Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008. As well, we have articles on software restriction policies, management of the Windows Vista Firewall, troubleshooting S/MIME, the second edition of our new Inside SharePoint column, business ideas for promoting sustainable computing... the list goes on. Enjoy! —Joshua Hoffman

Thanks to the following Microsoft technical experts: Troy Funk, Aaron Margosis, Michael Murgolo, Steve Peschka, Steve Riley, Mark Russinovich, Jon Schwartz, and Jim Truher.

© 2008 Microsoft Corporation and CMP Media, LLC. All rights reserved; reproduction in part or in whole without permission is prohibited.