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A Monthly Newsletter – November 2007

This month we are excited to share with you details of the just-released beta versions of the SecureCRT® 6.0 and SecureFX® 6.0 applications. The latest effort to save you precious time turned out a handful of trick tab enhancements plus a button bar for SecureCRT, and a half-dozen improvements to the SecureFX address bar and other key areas. And by the way, both clients
received user interface makeovers. The two are now integrated from the installer up. With so much in common, we have split coverage of the common points to avoid repetition. Common user interface changes are explained in the first article covering SecureCRT 6.0, while the second article on SecureFX covers other shared features, like environment variables for options and more manageable installers. Read both and don't miss a thing. The Tip and How To pieces highlight the new button bar and address bar changes in SecureCRT and SecureFX respectively. We finish up with a report on results of our annual survey of IT professionals on the state of network security.


1. SecureCRT 6.0 Beta 1 - A New Look, Drag-out Tabs, and More
2. New UI Themes, Mirror with Delete for SecureFX 6.0 Beta
3. Shared Changes in 6.0 Versions of SecureCRT and SecureFX
4. Tip: Configuring the Button Bar in SecureCRT 6.0
5. Highlight: The SecureFX 6.0 Address Bar
6. Annual IT Survey: Hacking Keeps Pressure on Admins in 2007
7. New and Current Releases

Online Resources

1. SecureCRT 6.0 Beta 1 - A New Look, Drag-out Tabs and More

Saving time for busy professionals continues to be the focus for this month's major upgrades of SecureCRT and SecureFX, now in beta release for your evaluation. SecureCRT's customizable button bar shares the spotlight with a contemporary user interface. Windows themes, alpha window transparency, customizable menus and toolbars, the new button bar, draggable tabs, and the ability to launch external programs all come together to create an ever-more-efficient secure access tool.

The new look of SecureCRT 6.0 links it more closely than ever with SecureFX. Common visual elements are the new Windows "themes" and customizable toolbar and menu bars. The toolbar and menu bar add Windows display themes for better visual integration with newer versions of Microsoft Windows and Office. Theme choices are Windows Vista "shaded", Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003. Drag-and-drop customization of menus and toolbars provides an easy way to add or reorder commands without hand-editing menu files. A feature high on "cool" factor is alpha transparency, where you specify the level of transparency for the active and inactive windows, which is useful to see what's behind a SecureCRT window or to easily compare the contents of two SecureCRT windows.

Daily productivity received plenty of attention in this upgrade. The new optional button bar runs along the bottom of the SecureCRT window and allows buttons to be mapped to a range of commands including command strings, scripts, menu functions, and external programs. Multiple button bars allow users to create button bars specific to a session or operation -- for example, with long, complex configuration commands where text entry errors are likely. Related to the new button bar is the ability to launch Windows and other external programs, from Notepad to a favorite editor to cmd.exe. For more on button bars see the Tip in Section 4.

SecureCRT 6.0 continues to extend and leverage the popular session tabs. Using the Send to New Window and Clone in New Window commands, sessions can be moved easily between SecureCRT windows. This makes it very easy, for example, to right-click on a session, send it to a new window, compare the results of the windows, then drag the session back in.

Try the beta release of SecureCRT 6.0 today!

To get information on this upgrade, see the beta product pages.

2. New UI Themes, Mirror With Delete For SecureFX 6.0 Beta

The benefits of an interface facelift are as readily apparent in secure file transfer as they are for secure access. For the new SecureFX 6.0 beta release, start with the same customizable menus, toolbars, and window themes, bring in an editable address bar, and you have the foundation for a solid upgrade. Then add complete mirror synchronization to delete as well as add files, plus the option to resolve symbolic links automatically. The lives of administrators will be made easier with a fuller, more manageable set of configuration and installation options for both SecureFX and SecureCRT.

An interface change just for SecureFX is the editable address bar that lets you type in file paths and reuse recently used addresses, just the way you expect to navigate URLs in Firefox or Internet Explorer. (See the How To below for more on the address bar.) In the Quick Synchronize area, "true" mirroring adds the ability to delete files as well as copy them.

Download and try SecureFX 6.0 today.

Check out the SecureFX 6.0 beta release in detail.

3. Shared Changes in 6.0 Versions of SecureCRT and SecureFX

Other core changes benefit both SecureFX and SecureCRT. For greater flexibility in deployment and management, we added the ability to use environment variables in paths, so that administrators can substitute variables like APPDATA, TEMP, and USERPROFILE in paths specified in global and session options. This makes it easier to move or copy settings to other machines and to create configurations for multiple users.

Even the SecureFX and SecureCRT installers are time-saving tools for administrators who manage software deployment to a large user base. A unified installer for both clients insures maximum integration of files and configuration settings. The installer is now more management-friendly with MSI support, giving network admins the ability to deploy applications through a distributions server using Group Policy or to automate installs through SMS and other tools.

To top off the installation choices, U3 installers are available to handle special configuration for these flash drives. In addition to U3 installers for SecureCRT and SecureFX, there is a combined U3 installer if you are using both applications. U3 drives are a popular way for administrators and other mobile users to carry applications with them for ready use.

Find out more about the new releases here.

4. Tip: Configuring The Button Bar In SecureCRT 6.0

As mentioned above, the new SecureCRT 6.0 button bar runs along the bottom of the session window and allows buttons to be mapped to a range of commands. You can define multiple button bars to have custom commands for a particular session or environment. This tip shows you how to define buttons of several types. To view the complete button bar tip with step-by-step instructions with graphics on defining button commands, visit the VanDyke Software website.

5. Highlight: The SecureFX 6.0 Address Bar

The new address bar in SecureFX 6.0 is similar to the address bars you see in Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer. It shows the current path as well as a drop-down list of most recently used paths for the active session. Go wild, you keyboard maniacs (you know who you are): navigate by typing folder names, edit paths, or copy and paste paths from the clipboard.

To try the new address bar today, visit the VanDyke Software download page for SecureFX.

6. Annual IT Survey: Hacking Keeps Pressure Up In 2007

If your organization has more staff working more hours than ever trying to stem a flood of intrusion attempts, you're in good company, according to the results of the annual Enterprise IT survey published in October by Amplitude Research. The survey, commissioned by VanDyke Software to study best practices in intrusion defense, targeted IT managers and system administrators worldwide.

The statistics on successful intrusion attempts on PCs held steady from previous years was at 38%. Sixty-four percent of these were characterized as having high or medium potential financial impact. Network and server intrusions were even more common, with over two thirds of respondents reporting events of medium or high impact.

Fifty-seven percent of participants reported spending significantly more than a quarter of their time maintaining or updating their systems, up from last year's 48%. A full third gave this work half or more of their available time. System maintenance may compete directly with security monitoring. Only 28% of those surveyed reported monitoring security on a daily basis, down a full ten points from 2005. It is possible, however, that this is due to better allocation of resources rather than an increase in workload from competing tasks.

Read the complete press release on the Amplitude IT survey.

7. New And Current Releases

The beta releases of SecureCRT 6.0 and SecureFX 6.0 deliver new time-saving features, user interface improvements, combined installers, and U3 smart drive support.

Maintenance releases were made November 1 of SecureCRT, CRT™ SecureFX, and the VShell® server.

Here is a list of the latest official product releases:

  SecureCRT 5.5.3
  SecureFX 4.5.3
  CRT 5.5.3
  VShell 3.0.2 Server for Windows
  VShell 3.0.2 Server for UNIX
     Red Hatyy Enterprise Linux 4.0
     Solaris 10 (SPARC)
     Solaris 8 (SPARC)
     FreeBSD 6.1 (Intel x86)
     HP-UX 11
     Mac OS X 10.2
     AIX 5.3

All VanDyke Software products may be downloaded and evaluated free for 30 days. Licenses include one year of free upgrades and access to our expert technical support.

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VanDyke Software, CRT, SecureCRT, SecureFX, and VShell are trademarks or registered trademarks of VanDyke Software, Inc.

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