What is hardening and how to apply it to office equipment?

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.

Juan Manuel Corchado

Full Professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, Department of Computer Science and Automation, University of Salamanca, Spain.


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