Infrastructure Security & Hardening
Your IT infrastructure needs hardening so that it can be immune to any malicious attacks on your infrastructure and abide by the regulations. Every day hackers use different techniques to launch cyber-attacks on websites and information systems. In order to lower these ever-increasing number of cyber-attacks, various information systems, specifically, servers, require to be protected by the process of hardening. IT ops are usually the ones to put the Hardening security measure into place, even though it is required of the security team. If you’re meaning to harden your security system, you need to familiarize yourself with its process and everything it entails.
What are the types of system hardening?
System hardening includes keeping all the software applications and the operating system of a computer safe, as well as, securing the networks, databases, firmware, and various other vital aspects of any computer system that is vulnerable to be exploited by malicious hackers. System hardening primarily involves five types namely operating system hardening, server hardening, network hardening, software application hardening, and database hardening.
The configuration of several diverse kinds of computers and server systems are accommodated in the universal broad system hardening processes. However, there is a difference in the tools and methods employed in getting the hardening done. Let’s take a look at the kinds of system hardening and their purpose. The type of hardening you choose is based on the vulnerabilities that exist in your current technology, the available resources you have, and the urgency with which you need the fixes to be done.
1. Configuration baseline
It refers to the process of calculating the changes in software, network, hardware, etc. You basically create baselines by choosing the element you want to measure and continue your measurements over an extended time period. After your baseline is established, take into consideration your standards of security maintenance and your client’s requirements.
2. System auditing
Do a complete audit of the technology that you’re employing right now. You can employ various security auditing tools such as vulnerability scanners, penetration testing, configuration management, etc. in order to find issues in the system and fix them as soon as possible. Assess various system hardening compared to the resources using the industry-standard parameters such as CIS, NIST, DISA, Microsoft, etc.
3. Patches and patch management
Your security assessment schedule should always include patch management as one of the main points. It includes making sure the operating system is patched by testing, auditing, planning, and implementing on a regular basis, including individual programs on the computer of your customer.
4. Network hardening
Make sure you have configured your firewall to the best of your potential and that you have audited all the rules as regularly as possible. Ensure the safety of remote users and remote access points, while blocking any open network ports that are not useful or remain unnecessary. Get rid of any services or protocols that you deem futile. Also, apply an access list and encrypt the traffic that your network encounters.
5. Server hardening
Get a safe data center to house all of your servers. Avoid using production servers at all costs to test hardening and connect them to external networks or the internet only after they have been hardened. Install software that is useful on your server. Divide your servers properly, make sure that your shares, both administrative and superuser, are set up properly.
6. Application hardening
Get rid of all passwords that are default and sample files, along with any functions or components that are unnecessary. Give access to your applications only when it is needed according to their roles and needs. You should also look into managing your app passwords with a password management system. You should inspect how your systems and applications integration goes about as part of your applications hardening process while decreasing or getting rid of integration privileges and components that are not needed.
7. Database hardening
You can enforce admin restrictions, like providing access to only a few people when needed, to allow only a select number of people to do different functions on the database. You can verify users and applications by switching on node checking. Secure passwords must be a priority. The information in your database that is in motion or at rest should be encrypted and get rid of accounts that you do not use.
8. Operating system hardening
Ensure that all of your operating system updates are done on time along with patches and service packs. Get rid of drivers, software, file sharing, functionality, libraries, and services that are unneeded. Ensure your local storage is encrypted, and enforce strict permissions on various systems and registries. Keep a track of all warnings, errors, and activity by logging it all.
Cyber-attacks are rampant in today’s day and age. As every new attack is launched, it introduces new issues about the safety of your incredibly sensitive and confidential information systems that could cause irreparable damage. When done right, hardening will take care of all of your system vulnerabilities and decrease the possibility of cyber-attacks invading and wreaking havoc with your system.
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