How To Secure Your Operating System

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Hackers are smart. The more you secure your operating system, the less likely someone else may attempt to gain access to information that they don’t have the rights to access.

A secure operating system is imperative in today’s world, whether you are working with your personal device or that of a business.
You need to think of your operating system as a physical environment. You can interact with the environment all that you want to. This is the environment where you can manipulate your various applications.

Here are some tips for how to lock down your OS so it’s safe from cyberattacks.

Baseline Security
First and foremost, you need to focus your attention on the most basic measures of security that you can think of.
Your security systems need to be foundationally sound. This means that your security needs to be stable from its base.
Your security baseline is a set of requirements that everything within your system must comply with. If there is no compliance, then the non-compliant element is not to be allowed within your system. If you wish to have a secure system, then you need to be certain that you have a security baseline.

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File Systems
Any file system that you decide you want to use, must be able to support the security protocols that you have set up or plan to set up. You need to be sure that you use a file system that allows access to individual files, auditing capabilities and file encryption. You should also take into account the “right of least privilege.”
This means that you should be certain to allow the users of your operating system the right to perform their jobs within the constraints of your operating system, and nothing else. This keeps the users from manipulating various components of your file systems that they have no business tampering with. You keep certain areas of your operating system off-limits from users.

Service Removal
Take the time to remove any services from your system that you don’t plan to ever use. There is no need to keep such items around if you won’t use them. For one thing, this will free up space on your system.
Also, this is one less service that your security protocols will need to monitor. If you keep services around that you do not intend to use, they could easily be used as a way to piggyback harmful files into your system. Such components tend to easily become a vulnerability issue.
That being said, please be sure that other necessary services do not rely on the service that is about to be removed. This could easily render a necessary service as useless. Remember, every service that you allow to run is one more way that an attack can take place. So, only allow the absolute necessary services to run on your users’ systems. Keep service numbers to the minimum possible. This keeps your chances of an attack to a minimum as well.

Updating Your System
In order to keep your operating system secure, one of the easiest ways that you can ensure this is to keep the most recent security updates and software updates available. Also, feel free to refer to your various system updates as patches, if you wish.
You can’t allow your system to run off of outdated security updates. This leaves the system very vulnerable. In the business world, you really need to be sure that all system updates are tested before they are used on important devices. It is a good idea that you keep a device nearby that isn’t directly tied to your system. This can be your test device.
You should install and use all new updates on this device first so that nothing harmful can be released into your system without first being tried out.
Be sure that you understand the different types of system updates or patches, as well. One type of system patch is referred to as a hotfix. This simply means that the update will fix one specific issue with your system. From there, you may have an update that is made up of more than one hotfix. This is called a service pack. Usually, a service pack has been tested out multiple times beforehand to be sure that it won’t cause any unnecessary damage to your system.

Your Network
Your network is all of the various components of your system or your company combined. You need to be sure that all of the components within your network are secure. You should be sure that you use your security baseline across every aspect of your system and network. As you remove services, be sure that they are removed from the entire network.
Keep in mind that you need to check all of your servers on the network as well in order to maintain security. You should constantly audit all traffic on your network so you can identify any patterns that you may determine to be attacks of any kind. Control various types of access across your network, and definitely include internet access with that. The internet could be the easiest way that an attack could take place.
Firmware, like patches and hotfixes, should also be tested out on a device that isn’t necessarily connected to more important aspects of your business. This allows you to safely test out those firmware updates prior to releasing them into your network.

Accounts
Be aware of the number of accounts that you have on your network and your system. By limiting the number of accounts you allow, you also limit the number of people that have access to your system. This helps you keep an eye on who should be accessing your system. If you happen to have a security breach, a limited number of accounts should be able to help you figure out where the breach came from.
If you have limited numbers of accounts, then you will also have a limited number of administrators. This makes it much easier to be sure of how well your administrators can do their jobs. There are fewer people to keep watch over.

Policies
Policies can include things such as passwords. Policy frameworks help ensure the security of your systems and your network.
Think of a policy in terms of password strength testers. You can’t use a password unless it is deemed worthy to be kept and used. There are also quite a few businesses that require their users to update their passwords each month.

Monitoring
Monitoring various activities within the system can definitely help with security measures. There needs to be a running record kept of all of the different activities that take place within a system each day.
Such activities to be recorded include anything with logins. This means you should keep a log of all logins that are successful as well as unsuccessful. If enough unsuccessful logins occur, then this could be a red flag that an attack was attempted.
Be sure that there is a timing mechanism associated with monitoring. In the event that an attack occurs, it will be very helpful to have a running record of all of the times that things happen.
It is a good idea that you have a security system set up for the monitoring system. You don’t need users having access to the log files for your system. This is highly sensitive information.

Integrity Across Your System
Integrity can be thought of as a process by which other processes occur. In simpler terms, once you create a system or a set of rules, continue to use that same system setup or rules process. By using a system constantly and consistently, you are much more likely to have the same results. This should be a process that can be repeated so that you have a system that is just like the rest.
You can also compare one system to the next so that you can find anything out of the ordinary which could lead back to an attack or an attempted attack. Please be sure that you backup your data and other system information regularly so that you don’t lose everything once something crashes.

Final Words
There are many different ways that you can secure your operating system. Most of the precautions that you can take are very simple.
Even when there are aspects to security that come across as very complex, you need to be sure that it can be repeatable so that all parts of your system and network are alike. This helps you recognize any attack attempts.
Be sure that you keep your system up to date. Also be sure that you test out all of your possible updates on a device that isn’t connected to the main system. This can keep your entire system from crashing.
Also, try and keep a limit to the number of accounts that you allow on your network. This keeps the chances of system vulnerabilities low.

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