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Operating System Hardening


Hardening of operating systems is the first step towards safeguarding systems from intrusion. Workstations and servers typically arrive from the vendor, installed with a multitude of development tools and utilities, which, although beneficial to the new user, also provide potential back-door access to an organisation's systems.

Hardening of an operating system involves the removal of all non essential tools, utilities and other systems administration options, any of which could be used to ease a hacker's path to your systems. Following this, the hardening process will ensure that all appropriate security features are activated and configured correctly. Again, 'out of the box' systems will likely be set up for ease of access with access to 'root' / Administrator account. Some vendors have now recognised that a market exists for pre-hardened systems; see Trusted Operating Systems.

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