Operating System Security Essay Sample

Introduction

The demand for security has existed since the debut of the first computing machine. The paradigm has shifted in recent old ages. though. from terminal waiter mainframe systems. to client/server systems. to the widely distributed Internet. Although security is of import. it has non ever been critical to a company’s success. With a mainframe system. you were chiefly protecting your systems from resource abuse-either authorised users hogging resources or unauthorised users deriving entree and utilizing trim resources. Such maltreatment was damaging because system resources were dearly-won in the early yearss of mainframes. As engineering developed and the cost of system resources decreased. this issue became less of import. Distant entree to systems outside a company’s web was about nonexistent. Additionally. merely the belowground community had the cognition and tools necessary to compromise a mainframe system.

The development of client/server engineering led to a myriad of new security jobs. Processor use was non a precedence. but entree to webs. systems. and files grew in importance. Access control became a precedence as sensitive information. such as human resources and paysheet. was being stored on public file waiters. Companies did non desire this type of informations to be public cognition. even to their employees. so new engineerings such as farinaceous entree control. individual sign-on. and informations encoding were developed. As ever. methods of besieging and working these new applications and security merchandises rapidly arose. Windows NT and UNIX became the operating systems of pick during this period.

During the client/server epoch. entree into the corporate web was normally limited to a few dial-up histories. This did open some security holes. but the hazard to these histories could be easy mitigated with processs such as dial-back and entree lists. Branch offices communicated with one another over dedicated chartered lines. Then came the Internet-the unfastened entree worldwide network-and everything changed. Soon. the Internet was everyplace. The growing of electronic mail and the World Wide Web shortly led companies to supply Internet entree to their employees. It wasn’t long earlier developing an e-business enterprise for your company was critical in order to remain competitory in the new market place. With the increased usage of the Internet. information. including security information. became accessible to the multitudes. Because the Internet is a public web. anyone on the Net can “see” any other system on it. In the beginning. this was non a immense issue because sensitive information was non easy accessible. but. as usage of the Internet grew. companies began leting increased entree to information and webs over the Internet.

Security is critical in today’s concern environment. In add-on to protecting difficult assets such as waiters. workstations. web constituents. and informations. you need to protect the intangible assets of your company. Security breaches can hold a profound consequence on a company’s repute. stigmatization. and general corporate image.

With e-business. procuring these intangible assets is critical and may be more of import than protecting physical assets. You can replace and reconstruct physical assets. but it is hard. if non impossible. to reconstruct a trade name and corporate image. For illustration. the via media of Egghead. com’s systems and client database in December 1999 might hold jeopardized 3. 7 million recognition cards. Egghead did non react good. neither corroborating nor denying the via media of client recognition card Numberss. Customers were vocal. though. showing concerns about the company’s storage of recognition card Numberss on unbarred waiters and claiming that they would ne’er shop at Egghead once more. If these clients had all followed through with their claims. Egghead might hold suffered financially from an issue that easy could hold been avoided with security watchfulness ( Kabay. 2002 ) .

Protecting your physical assets can besides supply some protection for your intangible assets. but hazards still exist. What happens if a dissatisfied employee sends off a knave imperativeness release claiming that your web was attacked and that client information was compromised? The highest degrees of security on your physical assets would non protect you from this type of assault. which Bruce Schneier calls a semantic onslaught.

Even though security is of import and many engineerings are being developed to assist with the procedure of procuring systems. security and its implicit in engineering should ne’er dominate the concern ground for implementing security. You ne’er want to pass more money on a security solution than the cost of what you are protecting. For illustration. if you calculate that the cost to replace compromised information is $ 200. 000. you do non desire to pass $ 1 million on a system to protect that information.

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Security is non a individual solution. Security is a permeant. ongoing procedure of reexamining and revising based on alterations to the concern and corporate environment. It is the apogee of interaction between people. procedure. and engineering. Schneier suggests this mantra: “Security is a procedure. non a merchandise. ” This statement reflects how every company should near security. Security merchandises are merely one piece of the mystifier. and implementing those merchandises is non a one-step procedure. As the corporate environment alterations. these merchandises should be analyzed and reconfigured.

Overall. security is non something you can “get. ” There are no out-of-the-box. plug-and-play solutions that provide you with an equal security substructure ( Kabay. 2002 ) . Constructing an effectual security substructure requires analysis and planning along with the development of policies and procedures-and a small aid from security merchandises.

Policies form the foundation of your security substructure. Policies define how a company approaches security. how employees should manage security. and how certain state of affairss will be addressed. Without strong policies implemented in the company and reviewed on a regular footing. you do non hold a security substructure. You might hold a few security merchandises installed. but you do non hold an substructure because you do non hold the foundation to construct on.

Peoples are the following most of import security constituent. Often. people are the weakest nexus in any security substructure. Most corporate security relies on the watchword a user chooses. If the user chooses his or her first name as the watchword. the clip. energy. and money spent measuring. buying. and implementing security solutions go out the window.

Educating users on security consciousness. and honoring them when they follow your processs. is a great manner to construct a security-conscious environment.

Surprisingly. engineering is the least of import constituent of a security substructure. All engineering does is supply you with the agencies to implement your policies. I am non stating that engineering is non of import. but it is less of import than strong policies and security-conscious employees.

Security must be permeant. Every facet of a company should be security witting. Employees need to understand the importance of security and the function they play in keeping an effectual security substructure. Programmers should cognize how to code firmly and acknowledge that the quickest manner is non ever the best or most unafraid manner. Management should recognize that security is critical to the success of the company and set an illustration for all employees to follow sing security consciousness.

Before get downing the procedure of constructing a security substructure. you need to cognize what you are protecting against. By understanding the types of onslaughts you face every bit good as who is transporting them out. you can break protect yourself. Plan your security substructure to protect your system from the onslaughts it is most prone to have.

For illustration. if your company runs a high-profile Web site. you will most likely face denial-of-service onslaughts or efforts to disfigure the site. If you have sensitive corporate informations. you may confront corporate espionage. with a rival seeking to detect your “secrets. ” ( Cox. 2000 )

TYPES OF ATTACKS

What dangers are skulking on the Internet that you need to worry about? I have broken the onslaughts into three classs: denial of service ( DoS ) . invasion. and information larceny.

Denial of Service ( DoS )

A denial of service ( DoS ) is one aimed at striping an organisation of a resource it expects to be able to utilize. In today’s universe. Department of state onslaughts are those that prevent you from utilizing your calculating resources. whether it be your mail waiter. Web waiter. or database waiter.

Department of state onslaughts are normally knowing. malicious onslaughts against a specific system or web. The aggressor might hold a personal score against the company or might merely desire to aim a high-profile organisation. The distributed DoS onslaughts against Amazon. com and CNN. com in February 2000 are the best illustration of this type of onslaught. Distributed denial-of-service onslaughts use a group of computing machines in different locations. frequently unknown to those systems’ proprietors. to establish an onslaught against a specific mark.

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Most frequently. DoS onslaughts are caused by flooding-sending more informations or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol ( TCP/IP ) packets to a resource than it can manage. One of the earliest Department of state onslaughts was the 1988 Morris worm that brought down the Internet. An mistake in a piece of codification developed by Robert Morris caused the codification to retroflex itself so fast that it consumed about all system resources and spread to other computing machines on the Internet.

Deluging onslaughts are easy to transport out. particularly because plans such as Trinoo and Tribe Flood Network are freely available on the Internet. These plans allow you to make a DoS onslaught against a specific mark. They are besides cardinal in transporting out distributed denial-of-service onslaughts.

Other types of DoS include locking an history after a set figure of failed login efforts or doing a system to bring up. An aggressor might try. falsely. to log in to a user history. When the aggressor has reached the failed login efforts limit ( normally three ) . the system is unavailable for the existent user until either the decision maker resets the history or the set sum of clip base on ballss and the history resets itself. Because the legitimate history proprietor can non log in to the system. the aggressor has created a DoS. Other methods exist that allow an aggressor to close down or bring up a waiter. doing it unavailable for usage ( Bragg. 2000 ) .

DoS onslaughts besides can be caused by chance. Misconfigurations or inappropriate web usage can ensue in unavailable resources. The usage of streaming media and peer-to-peer engineering such as KaZaA and Morpheus can do a DoS. overloading web traffic to the point that legitimate concern minutess can non be processed. The Blaster and Welchia worms besides created DoS onslaughts by devouring web bandwidth.

Many methods exist to establish DoS onslaughts. and more are discovered every twenty-four hours as applications are analyzed for security failings. The chief types of feats include buffer floods. SYN onslaughts. and teardrop onslaughts.

Buffer Overflows

Buffer floods are the most common type of DoS onslaughts. Here. an aggressor sends more informations than the application’s buffer can keep. When the sum of informations exceeds the buffer size. the excess informations floods onto the stack. frequently doing the application or full system to crash. In some instances. the informations can be carefully crafted to include machine codification that will put to death when it overflows onto the stack.

One of the best illustrations of a buffer overflow DoS is the “Ping of Death” onslaught. An aggressor sends an outsize Internet Control Message Protocol ( ICMP ) package to a system. The mark system receives the outsize package. can non manage it. and clangs.

SYN Attack

A SYN onslaught. besides known as a SYN inundation. takes advantage of the TCP execution. When a connexion petition is sent to a system. the package contains a SYN field that represents an initial communicating petition. The receiving system responds with a SYN/ACK. keeping the SYN package in memory until it receives concluding verification. or ACK ( Acknowledgment ) . from the initiating system. Communication between the two systems can so get down. Sending a big figure of SYN packages with no matching ACK causes the having system to keep these packages in memory. doing it hard for legitimate petitions to travel through. Exhibit 3 shows the TCP SYN/ACK communicating form.

Teardrop Attack

The teardrop onslaught exploits the IP execution. When a package is excessively big for a router to manage. it is broken into smaller packages called fragments. In order for the fragments to be reassembled when they arrive at the packet’s finish. the fragment packages contain an beginning value to the first package. An aggressor can set a confusing beginning value in the 2nd or later fragment package. This wrong value causes the having system to crash when it tries to reassemble the package.

The best DoS onslaught. of class. is to merely cut a wire. This is known as a physical denial-of-service or substructure denial-of-service onslaught.

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Invasion Attacks

Invasion onslaughts. the most common type you will confront. let aggressors to derive entree to your systems and utilize your resources. Some aggressors want to derive entree for merriment and crow rights. whereas others want to utilize your systems to establish more onslaughts against unsuspicious marks.

Numerous methods exist to derive entree to a system. Social engineering-preying on the weakest factor in any security substructure. the human-is one of the most successful methods. From feigning to be a help desk worker and inquiring users to alter their watchwords. to dressing up as the transcript machine fix technician to derive physical entree to a edifice. societal technology is effectual in deriving entree to an organization’s systems.

Other methods include seeking to think username and password combinations and utilizing feats in runing systems and applications to derive entree to systems. Some common feats include buffer floods. discussed earlier in the DoS subdivision. Windows feats. and Web waiter application feats.

Information Larceny Attacks

Information larceny attacks allow an aggressor to steal informations from a mark. These onslaughts do non ever require that the aggressor addition entree to the target’s systems. Most information larceny attacks rely on misconfigured systems that give out more information than they should. Using Telnet to link to port 80 on a mark system will most probably state you what Web waiter is running on that system. With this cognition. an aggressor can research known feats and exposures for that specific waiter and so aim onslaughts. Information larceny onslaughts are frequently the first measure in an invasion onslaught.

The most popular tool for information larceny onslaughts is the web sniffer. With a sniffer. an aggressor proctors traffic on a web. normally looking for username-password combinations. The usage of sniffers is known as a inactive onslaught because the sniffer’s snooping does non necessitate any action on the portion of the aggressor. Active onslaughts. on the other manus. make require action. Examples of active onslaughts are “dumpster diving” or naming up an person at a mark company and inquiring for information.

Dumpster plunging refers to the procedure of delving through someone’s rubbish to happen information about that individual or his or her wonts. Hackers and corporate undercover agents use this technique. with much success. to happen information on usernames. watchwords. web design. and so on ( Prosise. & A ; Mandia. 2001 ) .

Decision

Believe it or non. security is non the necessary immorality most people make it look. In fact. security has gotten a reasonably bad blame in the yesteryear. A decently implemented security substructure can go a competitory advantage. supplying protection to corporate assets that set the company apart from its rivals. Think of it this way-if you and your chief rival are looking to establish e-business enterprises. the company with the stronger security substructure will be more successful. Why? First. the company with the weaker security substructure might be more loath to establish e-business undertakings because it is concerned with security and does non cognize how to adequately protect itself.

Second. and more normally. the weaker company will wholly disregard the security facet of online concern and so inquire why it suffered a successful onslaught against its systems. This inattention could take to the via media of critical sensitive data-maybe client recognition cards or concern bank history numbers-and the subsequent loss of clients. The company with the stronger security environment can more safely launch an on-line concern enterprise. cognizing that its corporate security substructure is strong plenty to protect it. If its systems do go on to be compromised. the concern has a response program in topographic point to minimise the harm. Ideally. you want to develop your online concern enterprise with security in head from the beginning. It is easier and cheaper to implement a security substructure in the early phases of a undertaking than after the fact.

Mention:

Bragg. R. . 2000. Windows 2000 Security. Que.

Cox. P. . 2000. Windows 2000 Security Handbook. McGraw-Hill.

Kabay. M. . 2002. Computer Security Handbook. John Wiley & A ; Sons.

Prosise. C. and Mandia. K. . 2001. Incident Response: Investigating Computer Crime. McGraw-Hill.