Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Group Policy - New Security Policies

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The biggest new addition in the area of Group Policy–based security policy is the Application Control Policies, or AppLocker. These policies are found under \Computer
Configuration\Windows Settings\ Security Settings\Application Control Policies. Essentially, this is a significant upgrade to the old Software Restriction Policies (SRPs— which are still supported in Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7) that let you control which applications can execute on your Windows systems. Specifically, AppLocker lets you create application whitelists and blacklists to explicitly allow or deny a particular application or set of applications to execute based on a set of criteria you specify.

A major difference between what’s available in AppLocker and SRPs is that you now have more flexible rules for defining applications. For example, you can create rules by software publisher, application name, and version information held within the file.

You can also create rules for controlling script execution, which wasn’t explicitly supported in earlier Windows versions. Also, for each type of rule you create, you can enforce the rule or just work in audit mode. In audit mode, whenever a rule is hit by an application, the result is logged to the client rather than blocking or allowing that application. That way, you can run a rule in test mode before making it live, to ensure it doesn’t catch any unsuspecting applications. The only downside to AppLocker is that it works only on Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 clients, so you can’t leverage it in earlier versions of Windows.

Source of Information : Windows IT Pro June 2010

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