"Practical Ways to Do Things Better, and Comprehensive Reviews to Show You Where You Stand"

We hope you'll enjoy these two newsletters, the RACF User News and the Mainframe Audit News. To get a free email subscription, please click Subscribe.

Archives for Newsletters

  • Issue 97, Spring, 2020 covers: The Least You Need to Know About LDAP; Secure Containers; RACF User Group Meets Online May 12, Open to All; Other Online Training; Survey

  • Issue 96, Fall, 2019 covers: New z15 computer, expanding your career path, ENHANCEDGENERICOWNER, hybrid cloud, controlling all paths into your system

  • Issue 95, Spring, 2019 covers: New CICS 5.5 Security, RACF for z/OS 2.4, IT governance, Audit findings

  • Issue 94, Fall, 2018 covers: Protecting MVS, Resource Class Self-Check, RACF Administration in the Organization

  • Issue 93, Spring, 2018 covers: Two Ways to Save Your CIO Money; Air-Gapping; RACF versus DB2 Internal Security; Easy Completeness; More Info Sources

  • Issue 92, Fall, 2017 covers: RACF for z/OS 2.3; Pervasive Encryption, Health Checks, Protecting Voting Machines from Hackers; CSFKEYS and CSFSERV Resource Classes

  • Issue 91, Spring, 2017 covers: Management Controls versus Passion, Security Reporting, Growing Encryption Need, Latest Checklist

  • Issue 90, Fall, 2016 covers: Solution to Impossible Problem of Careless Password Users, Prepare for New Audit Approach, UNIXPRIV Resource Class

  • Issue 89, Spring, 2016 covers: Extending Your Mainframe InfoSec Knowledge (CYA), USS Security Basics

  • Issue 88, Fall, 2015 covers: RACF 2.2, Sensible Security for USS and FTP

  • Issue 86, March, 2015 covers: Clever Reporting on RACF, More Secure Passwords, Sensible Delegation of Authority

  • Issue 85, October, 2014 covers: Thinking About Resource Classes, A Common Auditor Mistake, MLS and SECLABELs

  • Issue 84, March, 2014 covers: Basic Concepts for TCP/IP, ISRDDN tool to Address Mainframe Security, New Features for z/OS and RACF 2.1 How to Think About USS Security, Name-Hiding, and RACF Performance Basics

  • Issue 83, September, 2013 covers: Controlling CLASS= on JOB cards, Simple Means More Secure, HealthChecker, New RACF 2.1 Features, OPERATIONS for Started Tasks?

  • Issue 82, February, 2013 covers: RACF, PCI, and DES, Quick CICS Security Improvement, RACF for z/OS 2.1 Coming In September

  • Issue 81, September, 2012 covers: Standards, Changes from IBM, Dataset Protection, Complete Job of Rolling Out RACF

  • Issue 80, February, 2012 covers: Encryption Backgrounder, Control Structures, Hard Password Info, Access Creep and Wikileaks

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  • Issue 79, October, 2011, covers: Identity Propagation, New Stuff, Expedited Dealing with Auditors, BPX.UNIQUE.USER, Connections to Secure

  • Issue 78, February, 2011, covers: Is SNA Really Dead?, TCP/IP Security Check-up, Is the New z/196 Computer a "Cloud in the Box"

  • Issue 77, September, 2010, covers: Self Assessment for Control of System Access, CICS Tricks, USS Security Surprise, RACF and Audit Training

  • Issue 76, April, 2010, covers: Data Protection Self Assessment, Site Certificates, Which Started Tasks Should be TRUSTED?

  • Issue 75, Sept. 2009, covers: Neat Stuff with the APPL class, the REAL Skinny on EOS, parmlib stuff, ways to simplify life

  • Issue 74, March, 2009, covers: RACF 1.11 Options, Better Ways to Secure Tapes, Debugging RACF Performance Problems

  • Issue 73, Sept., 2008, covers: What To Do With New Password Options, Securing Your Networks, RACF 1.10 New Options,

  • Issue 72, Jan., 2008, covers: NY RACF User Group Joint Meeting with Tampa RUG Feb. 12, Share Your APPN Security Stories, Resource Class Rules of Thumb, Password Rules and Auditors, Making Sense of Digitial Certificates

  • Issue 71, Sept., 2007, covers: NY RACF User Group Meets Oct.9, User Group Survey, Securing FTP, Why Kerberos or SSL, New Contest: "America's Funniest RACF Set-Ups"

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  • Issue 70, March, 2007, covers: NY RACF User Group Meets May 3, User Group Survey, Seminar "UNIX (USS) for RACF Administrators May 15, How to Minimize the Number of Users with OPERATIONS, More on IMS Security, Why it Matters Where Decisions Get Made

  • Issue 69, Sept., 2006, covers: RACF User Group Meets Oct. 26, Answers and Winners to Exciting Quiz, HCD Protection, DB2 RACF Protection

  • Issue 68, March., 2006, covers: RACF User Group Meets April 4, PROPCNTL Resource Class, More on the Health Checker software from IBM, Exciting Quiz, How Options Should Be Set

  • Issue 67, Sept., 2005, covers: RACF User Group Meets Oct. 27, Password Options and Opinion, RACF Commands for New Release, the Health Checker software from IBM

  • Issue 66, March, 2005, covers: the find command in USS, free training at NYRUG, From the RACF-L List Server

  • Issue 65, Sept., 2004, covers: RACF for z/OS 1.6, APPCLU Resource Class, Make Your Own Report Writer

  • Issue 64, March, 2004, covers: RACF for z/OS 1.5, Survey Results, BWRUG Meets, Group Tree Explained

  • Issue 63, Dec., 2003, covers: SPECIAL YEAR-END SURVEY, RACF Best Practices

  • Issue 62, Sept., 2003, covers: New Release Emphasizes Security Labels; How SECLABELs Work with DB2; What's a Security Label?

  • Issue 61, April, 2003, covers: How to Tighten Up Your RACF; How to Think About RACF and TCP/IP; How to Tell What Release of RACF You Are On

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  • Issue 60, Sept., 2002, covers: RACF Automatically Maintains Unique UIDs and GIDs; Release 1.4 Features; Why You Want to Re-Structure Your RACF Database

  • Issue 59, Mar., 2002, covers: Release 1.3 Features; How ACLs Work; Extra Session of Class: "UNIX (USS) for RACF Administrators"

  • Issue 58, Dec., 2001, covers: New Release Features; Universal Groups

  • Issue 57, Sept., 2001, covers: How to Secure a Port; New "How to Audit ... Seminar Series; Defining System Symbols to RACF

  • Issue 56, March, 2001, covers: About z/OS, How to Hard-Revoke a Userid, What Comes After Kilobyte and Megabyte

  • Issue 55, Dec., 2000, covers: How RACF Links the Different Ways We name Users, A Tip From Walt Farrell' Follow-up on OMVS and SPECIAL, z/OS

  • Issue 54, Sept., 2000, covers: RACF 2.10 Features, 2001 Seminar schedule, How to Deal with E-Mail Viruses, Phil Emrich to Speak at NYRUG and BWRUG in October

  • Issue 53, June, 2000, covers: RESTRICTED User Attribute, "I Love You" Virus Comments, Distinguished names, How to Think About Internet Users Connecting to the Mainframe

  • Issue 52, March, 2000, covers: New Source for Password Cracker Program, A Big Hole You Can Plug, FACILITY Class Rules for UNIX and the Internet, How to Evaluate Your Dataset Naming Standard

  • Issue 51, Dec., 1999, covers: Critical RACF Performance Tips, Security Seminar Dates in 2000, More on UNIXPRIV Resource Class

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  • Issue 50, Sept., 1999, covers: New IMS Release Security, RACF 2.8 Features, RACF Performance Analysis (Fifteen Minute Project), Open Crypt Enhanced Plug-In (OCEP) with OS/390 Security Server

  • Issue 49, June, 1999, covers: New Rugs Forming, RACF 2.8 Features in the Fall, Easy Intro to OPERCMDS Resource Class, First Draft of Our RACF Rules of Thumb, UNIXMAP Resource Class

  • Issue 48, Mar., 1999, covers: Accessing OMVS Files from TSO; Problem with 8 Character Userids; a Diatribe on the Design of VTAM; and Comments on having a default UACC of NONE; and a Warning that the OPERCMDS Class Will Shortly be Required

  • Issue 47, Dec., 1998, covers RACFVARS warning, Policy Sharing Library, How to Let Helpdesk Reset Passwords Without Group Special, Lower Case Characters for OMVS Segment, New Features for Password Cracker Program

  • Issue 46, Sept., 1998, covers LDAP, RACF Software Industry Update Re-Structuring, Free Tools for RACF Administration

  • Issue 45, Jun., 1998, covers More on Hackers, Tape Security, More on TSOPROC

  • Issue 44, Mar., 1998, covers Hackers and JESINPUT, Trusted STCs, Rel 4 Info

  • Issue 43, Dec., 1997, covers DB2 exit, Advanced CICS/RACF

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  • Issue No. 30 covers:
    z/OS 2.1 is now off support; How to Audit RACF, ACF2, and TopSecret (part 1); How to Tell Which Datasets Are Important; What is a Finding?

  • Issue No. 29 covers:
    How to Audit Mainframe Crypto, How to Read JCL, What is SMS, Is the Mainframe Dying?, and An Easy Way to Protect Election Computers From Hacking

  • Issue No. 28 covers:
    New z/OS release 2.3; three new white papers; encryption must haves; next steps in a mainframe audit

  • Issue No. 27 covers:
    New mainframe developments, basic info to start a mainframe audit, how to think about separation of duties

  • Issue No. 26 covers:
    Free Mainframe Firewall (Policy Agent) for TCP/IP security and encryption, Automated Healthchecks, More on Structured Audit Approach, IBM Manual on Multi-Factor Authentication

  • Issue No. 25 covers:
    new release of z/OS 2.2 and RACF 2.2, Audit of USS; Audit of TCP/IP on the mainframe

  • Issue No. 24 covers:
    structured audit approach, auditing resources, beta test of new audit tool, the OPM breach, why still so many breaches

  • Issue No. 23 covers:
    Learning all the inputs and outputs; auditing for passwords; faster obliteration of residual data; mainframe firewall; what we are doing is not working

  • Issue No. 22 covers:
    Lessons From a Real Mainframe Break-in; You Own Self Test; Matching Audit Resources to Risk; Featured Standards Document; How Snowden Got Access

  • Issue No. 21 covers:
    Planning What Data to Gather for a Mainframe Audit

  • Issue No. 20 covers:
    Learn LPARs and Sysplexes and Shared DASD, Mainframe Audit Seminar in Chicago, RACF and PCI Audits

  • Issue No. 19 covers:
    Learn Mainframe TCP/IP Connections, Another Way to Get Supervisor State, Standards to Audit Against, New z/OS Release Cycle

  • Issue No. 18 covers:
    DB2 Security, Managing Scope for Application Audits, Connection Terminology, Residual Data

  • Issue No. 17 covers:
    CICS Application Audit, ldap, z/OS glossary

  • Issue No. 16 covers:
    CICS Infrastructure Audit, More on Integrity Statements, New z/196 Systems

  • Issue No. 15 covers:
    The Value of Poking Around, Knowing Different Technologies, Why Put Up With Boring Audits

  • Issue No. 14 covers:
    Thinking About Passwords; Thinking Deeper About Passwords; Questions to Ask at the PM; Free Info Sources

  • Issue No. 13 covers:
    How to Conduct an Application Audit; How to Make Financial Auditors Love You; All the Paths Into the System

  • Issue No. 12 covers:
    Scoping and Planning a Mainframe Security Audit (cont'd); How to Anchor the IS Audit; FISCAM

  • Issue No. 11 covers:
    New Ways to Secure Tapes; z/OS 1.11 New Security Features

  • Issue No. 10 covers:
    Planning and Scoping a Mainframe Security Audit; Two Approaches to Mainframe Auditing; What Mainframe Auditors can Learn from the Credit Card Scandal; IBM's Integrity Statement

  • Issue No. 09 covers:
    Some Comments About Auditors

  • Issue No. 08 covers:
    RACF Tips for Auditors and Tape Security Info

  • Issue No. 07 covers:
    More on Mainframe Networks, What to Say to the System Programmer

  • Issue No. 06 covers: Managing Your Audit Planning Through Your View of the Mainframe, New Developments, Testing What You've Learned

  • Issue No. 05 covers: How Dataset Names Work in MVS

  • Issue No. 04 covers: What Should Be in Standing Files for Mainframes, What's the Difference Between TCP, IP, and IPv6, Use of CLISTs and REXX with System Symbols, the Operator DISPLAY Command

  • Issue No. 03 covers: What Are ACF2, RACF, and TopSecret, What's the Difference Between VTAM, SNA, TCP/IP, and APPC, What is MQ Series, Three Types of Work: Batch, Started Tasks, and Online

  • Issue No. 02 covers: How Does IBM Make UNIX Fit Into MVS, What is USS, What's the Difference Between IMS and DB2, What is VTAM, SYS1.PARMLIB Developments Auditors Need to Know

  • Issue No. 01 covers: Why Mainframe Audits Matter, What's the Difference Among MVS, OS/390, and z/OS, What's the Difference Between TSO and CICS, the Program Properties Table