Today we are going to talk about him Hardening, one of the layers of security what should you implement to operate in a safer computing environment, both on a personal and business level.
As users we must be aware that each device connected to the Internet, regardless of whether it is personal computers, servers or mobile devices, it will always be exposed to eventual attacks of malware.
If this is the first time you hear about the term, don’t worry, reading this article you will find out what Hardening is, and also you will know some of its main benefits.
What is Hardening or hardening of a computer system and what is it for?
In the world of Computing, and more specifically in the area of Internet browsing security, Hardening consists of securing a system by means of reduction of vulnerabilities to the penetration of unwanted users. These points, often called security holes, they exist mainly because softwares almost always come to us with factory settings generalized.
Something understandable if we take into account that they must adapt to a large number of environments in which they can be installed. Seen that way, you should keep in mind that when buying any computer equipment, it comes default to give preponderance to operational aspect regarding safety. It is for this reason that your new computer, or the one you are already using, has installed a name of user and one default password.
In addition to many executable or running services, drivers, instructions, and a number of components that you may never need. All of the above comes to conform what is known in Computer Science as attack surface, or what is the same, the attack surface, of which the cyber criminals for enter your system malicious programs and carry out data theft.
As you are probably already thinking, reducing the attack surface helps build a barrier between your teams and possible attackers, so the implementation of a Hardening will help you achieve high levels of secure configuration in each of your teams.
What are the main benefits of hardening an operating system?
If you allow us some advice, we must tell you that it is time to start thinking about performing a Hardening procedure on your equipment, since doing so you are going to get a host of benefits and advantages.
Among which we can mention the following:
- Your system will be more secure: By reducing the attack surface that cybercriminals can use, you will be counting on a more secure system both actively and passively. This is due, among other things, to the fact that you will be able to implement more secure passwords.
- Performance improvements: Your computers will be able to work faster, since you are eliminating useless load such as programs, services, users and ports that you do not use.
- Personalization: Your computers will be configured according to your needs, since Hardening allows you to change the default settings by the manufacturer of each particular software.
- Greater control: At the time of the procedure, you are simultaneously conducting a complete audit of your system, which leads you to obtain greater control over it.
- Privacy: Helps you avoid information leaks by encrypting data, thereby ensuring its confidentiality.
Learn what are the most important aspects to harden an operating system and make it more secure
Carry out a procedure of Hardening is a task that requires the greatest meticulousness possible, and above all do it taking into account your needs. Besides that, you always have to be careful that in the procedure do not disable the basic functions of the system.
The latter means that the person in charge of carrying out the activity, whether you do it on your own or hire a company specialized in providing the service, must know how far security can be implemented without making a dent in the versatility and usability of each system. For the rest, there are various ways to restrict unwanted access to your system through a Hardening procedure without putting its functionality at risk.
For this, it will be necessary to take into account some aspects to be included in the protocol to continue in the activity. To help you in the task, here are some of them, with which we are sure you will reach high safety standards through the hardening of your system, and which you can implement totally or partially according to your needs.
Go for it:
Isolate hardware as much as possible
The best way to achieve this is by establishing secure passwords to boot your computer, upgrade the firmware, leave enabled only the primary hard drive for system startup. In the case of servers, it is customary to disable optical devices and USBs, to prevent malware from entering from external physical media.
Simplification of the Operating System
It is the ideal method to achieve the safe installation of said system, for which it is necessary implement at least two primary partitions, reserving one for the operating system itself and the other for those folders and files that you consider essential. This model of Hardening We can define it as classic, since it is the most used to avoid the installation of those system components that are not totally necessary, thus achieving what is known as minimal installation.
Set Remote Access settings
This is without a doubt one of the most vulnerable points in computer systems, which is why more and more users choose to disable the provision when it is not strictly necessary. But in case its use becomes essential, you must configure remote access to the PC to avoid some scares. A good option is to establish an encryption channel and minimize concurrent connections.
Block file transfer
The File Transfer Protocol (FTP), is one of the major security holes in computer systems, so more and more users are opting for block this functionality, while implementing software to maintain due control about it.
Configure Network protocols
The TCP / IP protocol is increasingly vulnerable to attack, making it necessary for you to worry about installing a NAT system to be used in directing the internal teams of your organization. It is also worth disabling or minimizing the use of Network protocols that come by default in the system.
Use a firewall
This is one of the most common isolation methods in Internet networks. Although it will always be necessary that you configure it correctly so that it better fulfills its function of keeping you safe from incursions by hackers. To achieve this, simply program it so that they only enter your system what you yourself have explicitly authorized.
Keep security patches up to date
Finally, you should always keep in mind that the Hardening, although it is designed for hinder the work Of the possible attackers, they can always find a gap where they can penetrate your system. For this reason it will always be necessary that you keep all the security settings in the system, without making a difference between computers, servers, tablets, smartphones or video game consoles, and, why not, smart TVs.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉