One reason enterprises might not have evaluated the security of the OS they deployed to the workforce is that they made the choice years ago. Go back far enough and all operating systems were reasonably safe, because the business of hacking into them and stealing data or installing malware was in its infancy. Few IT organizations would want the headache of moving a globally dispersed workforce to an entirely new OS.
Heck, they get enough pushback when they move users to a new version of their OS of choice. Still, would it be wise to reconsider? Are the three leading desktop OSes different enough in their approach to security to make a change worthwhile?
Certainly the threats confronting enterprise systems have changed in the last few years. Attacks have become far more sophisticated. The lone teen hacker that once dominated the public imagination has been supplanted by well-organized networks of criminals and shadowy, government-funded organizations with vast computing resources. Like many of you, I have firsthand experience of the threats that are out there: I have been infected by malware and viruses on numerous Windows computers, and I even had macro viruses that infected files on my Mac.
More recently, a widespread automated hack circumvented the security on my website and infected it with malware.
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For one thing, a breach these days is more likely to come about because an attacker probed your users, not your systems. And no matter which platform you choose, one of the best ways to keep your system secure is to ensure that you apply software updates promptly. Once a patch is in the wild, after all, the hackers can reverse engineer it and find a new exploit they can use in their next wave of attacks.
Teach your users how to pick really good passwords and arm them with tools such as 1Password that make it easier for them to have different passwords on every account and website they use. Because the bottom line is that every decision you make regarding your systems will affect your security, even the operating system your users do their work on.
To say that Windows dominates the enterprise market is to understate the case. But the popularity of Windows is a problem in itself. The security of an operating system can depend to a large degree on the size of its installed base. For malware authors, Windows provides a massive playing field.
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Concentrating on it gives them the most bang for their efforts. With a large number of Windows-based personal computers on the market, hackers historically have targeted these systems the most. If the most popular OS is always going to be the biggest target, then can using a less popular option ensure security? You probably knew this from the beginning: The clear consensus among experts is that Linux is the most secure operating system.
And if you did decide that Linux was the way to go, you would still have to decide which distribution of the Linux system to choose, and things get a bit more complicated there. Users are going to want a UI that seems familiar, and you are going to want the most secure OS. Linux distros that target security as a primary feature include Parrot Linux , a Debian-based distro that Moore says provides numerous security-related tools right out of the box. Of course, an important differentiator is that Linux is open source.
The pool directive allows the NTP client to stop using a server if it is unresponsive or serving bad time. By default, Linux systems are deployed to allow all local users to see this all information.
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This includes process information from other users. This could include sensitive details that you may not want to share with other users. By applying some filesystem configuration tweaks, we can change this behavior and improve the security of the system. By default, accounts can use any password they want, including bad ones. This section talks about the password task. When there is a need to set or change an account password, the password task of PAM handles the request. In this section we will tell PAM's password task to pass the requested new password to libpam-pwquality to make sure it meets our requirements.
It is important to keep a server updated with the latest critical security patches and updates. Otherwise you're at risk of known security vulnerabilities that bad-actors could use to gain unauthorized access to your server. You don't want to do all updates because with every update there is a risk of something breaking.
It is important to do the critical updates but everything else can wait until you have time to do it manually. Automatic and unattended updates may break your system and you may not be near your server to fix it. This would be especially problematic if it broke your SSH access. We will use unattended-upgrades to apply critical security patches. We can also apply stable updates since they've already been thoroughly tested by the Debian community. Now we need to configure unattended-upgrades to automatically apply the updates.
However, because these file may get overwritten with a future update, we'll create a new file instead. If everything is okay, you can let it run whenever it's scheduled to or force a run with unattended-upgrade -d. For example, my configuration looks like this:. Call me paranoid, and you don't have to agree, but I want to deny all traffic in and out of my server except what I explicitly allow. Why would my server be sending traffic out that I don't know about?
And why would external traffic be trying to access my server if I don't know who or what it is? The Linux kernel provides capabilities to monitor and control network traffic. These capabilities are exposed to the end-user through firewall utilities. On Linux, the most common firewall is iptables. However, iptables is rather complicated and confusing IMHO. This is where UFW comes in. Think of UFW as a front-end to iptables. It simplifies the process of managing the iptables rules that tell the Linux kernel what to do with network traffic.
You can create rules by explicitly specifying the ports or with application configurations that specify the ports.
If you are not as paranoid as me, and don't want to deny all outgoing traffic, you can allow it instead:. If you don't want to create rules by explicitly providing the port number s , you can create your own application configurations.
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For example, here is what you would use for Plex :. Even if you have a firewall to guard your doors, it is possible to try brute-forcing your way in any of the guarded doors. We want to monitor all network activity to detect potential intrusion attempts, such has repeated attempts to get in, and block them. Fail2BAN scans log files of various applications such as apache, ssh or ftp and automatically bans IPs that show the malicious signs such as automated login attempts. It's ok to use both programs at the same time because they operate on different level.
Pay special attention to these:.
Now we need to make some changes to ufw so it works with psad by telling ufw to log all traffic so psad can analyze it. Note : We're adding a log prefix to all the iptables logs.
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We'll need this for seperating iptables logs to their own file.