Hardening the Operating System (OS)
Windows, Linux, and Apple’s OS X are hardened to protect critical computing systems. It’s common for OS hardening to include the following steps:
- Setting up and maintaining a secure environment
- Patches and service packs are updated automatically.
- Additionally, firewalls and endpoint protection solutions like AppArmor for Linux can be used to defend Linux systems.
10 best practises for securing your operating system.
There are universal hardening measures that can be applied to any operating system. The following are ten best practises for increasing operating system security.
- Set restrictions on who has access to which files, networks, and other resources. Windows, Linux, and OS X all have the ability to handle user and group access control. As a result of the default settings being typically too lax, you should restrict access to those who truly need it at the time they need it.
- Unnecessary programmes should be deleted. It is imperative that all programmes installed on your device are regularly examined for harmful code, and that the company does not allow software that has not been approved. This technique can assist you in identifying and removing security vulnerabilities.
- A service pack is a programme update that includes the installation of a new version of the software. However, even though no single action can protect against all attacks, using service packs significantly reduces their chances.
- Patch management ensures that client PCs are always updated with the most recent operating system and application upgrades.
- To limit the damage that can be done by nefarious or malicious users, divide them into groups and give each group stringent privileges. To ensure that users are aware of and respect their access privileges, update the user policy and communicate it to them.
- Templates can be used to centrally manage and enforce security settings. Templates can be used to manage group policies and ensure uniformity across the entire organisation.
- If a firewall is present, the rules may be overly lenient; not all operating systems come pre-configured with one. Make sure your firewall is configured appropriately by going over and making changes to it. Only traffic from known IP addresses and ports should be allowed through. Security is compromised when ports are left open.
- In order to prevent buffer overflows and code injections, utilise AppArmor and SELinux to tighten access control. These frameworks are able to automatically implement a number of successful security best practises.
- Windows Defender is an advanced endpoint security solution. Malware detection, email and social engineering filtering, process detection, and automated OS isolation in the case of infection are only some of the features of contemporary endpoint protection platforms (EPP).
- To reduce the attack surface, isolate sensitive data and workloads in their own virtual machines or containers. You can also isolate apps by limiting network connectivity across them, and taking control of one job prohibits access to a different one from happening.
Hardening the operating system can help prevent a cyber attack. Your OS hardening strategy must be linked with data backup, which ensures that you have backup copies of your data and operating systems in the event of a system failure.
CSIS (CIS) OS Security Benchmarks: A step further
According to the Center for Internet Security, identify, build and validate best-practice solutions for cyber defenc (CIS), is the best solution. An international team of experts from the public and private sectors worked together as consensus-based security standards and best practises are developed by the centre.
Examples of how firms might improve system security are provided by the CIS benchmarks, which are used as a starting point for configuring systems in a safe manner. ISO 27000, PCI DSS, HIPAA, NIST CSF, and NIST SP 800-53 are all referenced in the controls and guidelines. The CIS benchmarks include Windows, Windows Server, OS X, and all prominent Linux variants.
Preconfigured and hardened OS images are now available from CIS for major cloud providers. To protect against network attacks, hardened ideas are pre-configured with security best practises.
OS Hardening with Extreme Compute.
To separate your endpoint into a safe corporate zone and a less secure personal zone, you can use ExtremeCompute’s OS isolation tools for Windows 10. As a result, a company’s network and security requirements can be strictly enforced on one OS while untrusted websites and programmes can be run on the other.
For example, cloud managers can provide patches and security updates via cloud deployments in addition to app deployments. Copy/paste, keylogging, screenshotting, and other restrictions can be set up between Workspace and the host operating system using configuration files. Contrary to what you might think, they completely isolate your operating system, including web-based applications and USB/printers.