Syspeace now accepts Bitcoin

On May 22nd, 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz of Jacksonville, Florida bought two pizzas and paid using Bitcoin, a decentralized cryptocurrency. It was the first documented Bitcoin product purchase, and the Bitcoin network now sees about 240 thousand transactions per day.

We are happy to announce that starting today, Syspeace accepts Bitcoin in addition to PayPal and credit/debit cards for purchases of Syspeace licenses.

When you choose to pay with Bitcoin, we convert the amount to Bitcoin (at market rates, rounded to five decimals) and provide a standard Bitcoin payment experience, complete with wallet conveniences like links and QR codes for quickly making the payment. Once payment has been detected by our server, no further action is necessary, and the license is automatically activated when the transaction has been verified on the Bitcoin network (in the blockchain).

Please see the Syspeace Licenses site for more information.

Syspeace now offering discounts for educational institutions

We are proud to announce that we now offers discounts to qualifying educational institutions. This joins our existing discounts to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations.

For more information on either of these discounts, contact us.

Syspeace 2.7.0 released

Syspeace 2.7.0 is a highly recommended update.

  • It introduces improved support for detecting RDP login failures where the IP addresses are missing in the event log entries. For details, see the separate post A comprehensive approach to detecting RDP login failures.
  • It includes a setting to mitigate repetitive “success” login entries on file servers caused by file server activity instead of authentication.
  • It improves compatibility, including using TLS 1.2 when .NET Framework 4.5 or later is installed – a PCI requirement.
  • It includes the ability to export entries out of and import entries into the local blacklist via copy and paste.
  • Last but not least, it fixes several issues, including an issue that caused the Syspeace database to be larger than it needed to be.

Read the full list of changes or download Syspeace to start a free 30-day trial today or to upgrade.

Syspeace 2.7.0 runs on Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2 and 2016.

A comprehensive approach to detecting RDP login failures

Syspeace’s way of detecting Windows logon failures is based on using the audit events produced by Windows. This is reliable and non-invasive, but in some cases there are oddities.

When a login succeeds or fails during Remote Desktop/Terminal Services authentication during authentication with the TLS/Negotiate layer (a newer way of authenticating), the event is logged, but there is no reference to the IP address of the remote computer. Without this, Syspeace would not know who to block in case the login failure is part of a pattern that would be blocked. There are workarounds like using the RDP Security Layer (an older way of authenticating) to force Windows to use another piece of code that will include the IP address information, but our customers are finding that they don’t wish to use this.

Syspeace 2.7.0, available today, brings a comprehensive solution to this problem.

In Windows Server 2003, only RDP Security Layer (the older way of authenticating) is available, and therefore the problem does not occur. In Windows Server 2016, the oddity has been fixed – the event does include the IP address once again, and therefore the problem does not occur.

In Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, the oddity can be fairly easily corrected due to the fact that the missing information is present in different logs. Syspeace has all the information it needs by reading supplemental events. Our algorithm for doing this is improved in Syspeace 2.7.0.

This leaves Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, where there are no supplemental events. What are we to do?

There is a solution that is very roundabout, but that nevertheless provides us with the hints we need to be able to supply the IP address. That solution is to open a network socket and literally listen to all the incoming packets, filter down to just the packets on the RDP port and extract the information about the relevant IP address out of the structural header information.

So starting with Syspeace 2.7.0, Syspeace will be capable of using the strategy above with these caveats:

  • You must opt in by turning on a setting called “Traffic-based Remote Desktop/Terminal Services IP detection”. You must turn this level of protection on for yourself. It is not turned on by default.
  • The code that does this runs in another process, Syspeace.SpecialRdpDetector.exe, both for isolation and performance reasons. If you turn off the setting, the process shuts down. If you turn on the setting, it starts back up again. It is there to do this one job. If you so wish or deem necessary, you can delete this executable and prevent it from ever being used. (If you do, the setting will naturally be disabled.)
  • Syspeace.SpecialRdpDetector.exe is not obfuscated. If you so wish or deem necessary, you are able to verify that the code does what we say it does.
  • In fact, the code for Syspeace.SpecialRdpDetector.exe is available upon request.

This is our way of being pragmatic about this issue while tending to the needs of our customers. As a security product, we will need to do things that require administrative privileges and having deep access to our customers’ systems. But we are always careful to be as non-invasive as possible and to never help ourselves to information that does not directly advance the cause of protection. We aim to do the minimum possible work to get the job done and we aim to treat our customers and their servers with respect, and provide the product that behaves in the way that we, as customers, would like it to behave.

Why Syspeace uses SHA-2 and important notes for Windows Server 2003 users

As of today, September 2, 2016, we have switched to using a SHA-2 SSL/TLS certificate for this web site, our Syspeace Licenses site used to manage and purchase licenses, as well as our backend server used by the Syspeace application. The SHA-2 hash algorithm is a newer and more robust hash algorithm than SHA-1, as previously used – SHA-1 has been globally deprecated for years, and since the beginning of 2016, no new SHA-1 certificates are issued by trusted Certificate Authorities.

SHA-2 is unsupported in Windows Server 2003 and 2003 R2, leading to the following:

  • Syspeace users on Windows Server 2003 will have to upgrade to a special Windows Server 2003 variant of Syspeace 2.6 that uses a self-signed, privately issued SHA-1 certificate to maintain the current functionality. This version, along with a special information page, has been available for weeks and we have contacted the affected Syspeace users with this information.
  • Access to any of the affected web sites may be restricted from the versions of Internet Explorer compatible with Windows Server 2003. We recommend using an alternative browser like Chrome or Firefox, or a different computer.

For these reasons, the renewal to the new certificate was done at the last moment (our previous certificate expires on September 3, 2016), to give our customers more time to adjust.

Syspeace now offering discounts for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations

We are proud to announce that we now offer discounts to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations (for example 501(c) organizations in the US). For more information, contact us.

Syspeace Windows Server 2003 Support Policy

The current major release of Syspeace (2.x) will continue to be supported on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2. We may introduce major new releases of Syspeace that will not run or be supported on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2.

Microsoft’s extended support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 ended on July 14, 2015. Our recommendation is that you, if possible, run a version of Windows Server currently supported by Microsoft and install all critical security fixes.

New resellers in Australia and Germany

Your IT Business Consultants are the newest of our seven resellers.

Your IT Business Consultants Pty Ltd will provide Syspeace licenses in Australia.

See all of our resellers, or read about becoming a reseller yourself.

Syspeace, SHA-2 certificates and Windows Server 2003

Recently, the SSL certificate used for syspeace.com, the Syspeace Licenses site as well as backend Syspeace services was reissued with a signature using the SHA-2 hash algorithm.

The SHA-2 hash algorithm replaces the earlier, deprecated SHA-1 and moving forward is recommended by the CA Security Council.

However, some users on Windows Server 2003 have seen issues using the new certificates, due to Windows Server 2003 as shipped not being able to work with SHA-2 certificates. For this reason, we are reissuing our SSL certificate, now again using the SHA-1 hash algorithm.

We intend to once again move to SHA-2 when it is feasible to do so.

New reseller: RECiPHER Group Australia

Syspeace welcomes its newest reseller: RECiPHER Group Australia.

RECiPHER Group caters to Australia and New Zealand with regional presence and pricing. RECiPHER Group is the first Syspeace reseller in the southern hemisphere.

RECiPHER Group joins four existing Syspeace resellers. For more information about Syspeace resellers and becoming a Syspeace reseller, see the Syspeace Reseller site.