The securization of computer systems focuses on the updates, adjustments and changes needed to maintain a high level of security in the systems. Module 3 of C1b3RWall Academy presents several lectures related to the “Securization of personal and work environments”.

Among the lectures in this module is that of Manuel López Pérez, a computer engineer from the University of Salamanca and security analyst at the BISITE Research Group. The aim of his talk is to teach us what hardening is based on, why it is important, its types and what steps to follow.

What is hardening?

It is a process of securing a server or computer system by minimizing its attack surface or vulnerability, as well as its potential attack vectors. It is a form of protection against cyber-attacks that involves closing the breaches in the system that are often exploited to gain access to sensitive data.

Part of the process of eliminating system hardening involves removing or disabling unnecessary applications, permissions, ports, user accounts and other system features so that attackers have less opportunity to access sensitive information on a mission-critical or infrastructure-critical computer system.

Types of system hardening

System hardening involves securing not only a computer’s software applications, and operating system, but also its firmware, databases, networks, and other critical elements of a given computer system that an attacker could exploit. There are five main types:

1. Server hardening.

2. Software application hardening.

3. Operating system hardening.

4. Database hardening.

5. Network hardening.

Although the principles of system hardening are universal, the specific tools and techniques vary depending on the type of hardening being performed.

How do I harden my system?

How you harden your system depends on your server configuration, operating system, software applications and hardware, amongst other variables. If you would like to know all the actions to take, you can view the hardening checklist in the complete article on News 365.

You can learn more about this and other topics by taking our Master in Cybersecurity at the University of Salamanca.

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 May 1971, Salamanca, Spain) is Professor at the University of Salamanca. He has been Vice-Rector for Research from 2013 to 2017 and Director of the Science Park of the University of Salamanca. Elected as Dean of the Faculty of Science twice, he holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Salamanca and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of the West of Scotland. He leads the renowned BISITE (Bioinformatics, Intelligent Systems and Educational Technology) Research Group, created in 2000. Director of the IoT Digital Innovation Hub and President of the AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado is also Visiting Professor at the Osaka Institute of Technology since January 2015, Visiting Professor at the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan and Member of the Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado has been president of the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society, and academic coordinator of the University Institute for Research in Art and Animation Technology at the University of Salamanca, as well as researcher at the Universities of Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). He currently combines all his activity with the direction of Master programmes in Security, Digital Animation, Mobile Telephony, Information Systems Management, Internet of Things, Social Media, 3D Design and Printing, Blockchain, Z System, Industry 4.0, Agile Project Management, and Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings, at the University of Salamanca and his work as editor-in-chief of the journals ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) or Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado mainly works on projects related to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids and Sentiment Analysis. He has recently been included in the board of trustees of the AstraZeneca Foundation, along with other health professionals and researchers recognised for bringing scientific knowledge closer to society.