Host hardening and intrusion detection - the open source way

Wednesday, 28 August 2002, 1:20 PM EST

Security consists of multi-tiered hardening and monitoring methodologies that exist as outer shells of protection, and more central, inner layers. The outer shells consist of systems such as router configurations, firewalls, and Network Intrusion Detection Systems (or NIDS), which form common methods for securing and watching entire LANs or WANs. This article will examine and illustrate the implementation of the inner shells, or host-centric layers of server security.

Although the outer security layers play a major role in overall security, the inner layers are often overlooked. It is important to remember that network security risks do not always stem from the outside, but from what your own users, employees, and contractors are trying to do with your internal systems and networks. Almost half of all system attacks come from within your own LAN/WAN [1], and because these attackers know more about your internal systems, they are typically more dangerous challenges (as compared to outside viruses, trojans, or scans). These host-centric layers of protection are especially important on unshielded or exposed Internet/Web servers, not to mention any internal systems.

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