Step 1: Defining the OS
The audience for your security assessment report (SAR) is the leadership of your organization, which is made up of technical and nontechnical staff. Some of your audience will be unfamiliar with operating systems (OS). As such, you will begin your report with a brief explanation of operating systems fundamentals and the types of information systems.
Click on and read the following resources that provide essential information you need to know before creating a thorough and accurate OS explanation:
- operating systems fundamentals
- the applications of the OS
- The Embedded OS
- information system architecture
- cloud computing
- web architecture
After reviewing the resources, begin drafting the OS overview to incorporate the following:
- Explain the user’s role in an OS.
- Explain the differences between kernel applications of the OS and the applications installed by an organization or user.
- Describe the embedded OS.
- Describe how the systems fit in the overall information system architecture, of which cloud computing is an emerging, distributed computing network architecture..
Include a brief definition of operating systems and information systems in your SAR.
Step 2: OS Vulnerabilities
You just summarized operating systems and information systems for leadership. In your mind, you can already hear leadership saying “So what?” The organization’s leaders are not well versed in operating systems and the threats and vulnerabilities in operating systems, so in your SAR, you decide to include an explanation of advantages and disadvantages of the different operating systems and their known vulnerabilities.
Prepare by first reviewing the different types of vulnerabilities and intrusions explained in these resources:
- Windows vulnerabilities
- Linux vulnerabilities
- Mac OS vulnerabilities
- SQL PL/SQL, XML and other injections
Based on what you gathered from the resources, compose the OS vulnerability section of the SAR. Be sure to:
- Explain Windows vulnerabilities and Linux vulnerabilities.
- Explain the Mac OS vulnerabilities, and vulnerabilities of mobile devices.
- Explain the motives and methods for intrusion of the MS and Linux operating systems;
- Explain the types of security awareness technologies such as intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems.
- Describe how and why different corporate and government systems are targets.
- Describe different types of intrusions such as SQL PL/SQL, XML, and other injections
You will provide leadership with a brief overview of vulnerabilities in your SAR.
Step 3: Preparing for the Vulnerability Scan
You have just finished defining the vulnerabilities an OS can have. Soon you will perform vulnerability scanning and vulnerability assessments on the security posture of the organization’s operating systems. But first, consider your plan of action. Read these two resources to be sure you fully grasp the purpose, goals, objectives, and execution of vulnerability assessments and security updates:
- Vulnerability assessments
Then provide the leadership with the following:
- Include a description of the methodology you proposed to assess the vulnerabilities of the operating systems. Provide an explanation and reasoning of how the methodology you propose, will determine the existence of those vulnerabilities in the organization’s OS.
- Include a description of the applicable tools to be used, and the limitations of the tools and analyses, if any. Provide an explanation and reasoning of how the applicable tools to be used, you propose, will determine the existence of those vulnerabilities in the organization’s OS.
- Include the projected findings from using these vulnerability assessment tools.
In your report, discuss the strength of passwords, any Internet Information Services’ administrative vulnerabilities, SQL server administrative vulnerabilities, and other security updates and management of patches, as they relate to OS vulnerabilities.
Step 4: Vulnerability Assessment Tools for OS and Applications
Note: You will use the tools in Workspace for this step. If you need help outside the classroom, register for the CLAB 699 Cyber Computing Lab Assistance (go to the Discussions List for registration information). Primary lab assistance is available from a team of lab assistants. Lab assistants are professionals and are trained to help you.
Click here to access the instructions for Navigating the Workspace and the Lab Setup.
Enter Workspace and complete the lab activities related to operating system vulnerabilities.
Click here to access the Project 2 Workspace Exercise Instructions. Explore the tutorials and user guides to learn more about the tools you will use.
You’ve prepared for your assessment; now it’s time to perform.
Security and vulnerability assessment analysis tools, such as Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) for Windows OS and OpenVAS for Linux OS, are stand-alone tools designed to provide a streamlined method for identifying common security misconfigurations and missing security updates for the operating systems and applications. These tools work on layers 5-7 of the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model.
Your leadership will want to understand the differences and commonalities in the capabilities of both tools and will want this included in the SAR.
Use the tools’ built-in checks to complete the following for Windows OS (e.g., using Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer, MBSA):
- Determine if Windows administrative vulnerabilities are present.
- Determine if weak passwords are being used on Windows accounts.
- Report which security updates are required on each individual system.
- You noticed that the tool you used for Windows OS (i.e., MBSA) provides dynamic assessment of missing security updates. MBSA provides dynamic assessment of missing security updates. Scan one or more computers by domain, IP address range, or other grouping.
- Once complete, provide a detailed report and recommendations on how to make your system a more secure working environment. In this case, a tool such as MBSA will create and store individual XML security reports for each computer scanned and will display the reports in the graphical user interface in HTML.
You will also complete a similar exercise for Linux OS (e.g., using the OpenVAS tool). Select the following links to learn more about OpenVAS and computer networks:
- Computer Networks
Utilize the OpenVAS tool to complete the following:
- Determine if Linux vulnerabilities are present.
- Determine if weak passwords are being used on Linux systems.
- Determine which security updates are required for the Linux systems.
- You noticed that the tool you used for Linux OS (i.e., OpenVAS) provides dynamic assessment of missing security updates. MBSA provides dynamic assessment of missing security updates. Scan one or more computers by domain, IP address range, or other grouping.
- Once complete, provide a detailed report and recommendations on how to make your system a more secure working environment
Knowledge acquired from this Workspace exercise and capability of this tool will help your company’s client organizations secure the computer networks’ resources and protect corporate data from being stolen.
Validate and record the benefits of using these types of tools. You will include this in the SAR.
Step 5: The Security Assessment Report
By utilizing security vulnerability assessment tools, such as MBSA and OpenVAS, you now have a better understanding of your system’s security status. Based on the results provided by these tools, as well as your learning from the previous steps, you will create the Security Assessment Report (SAR).
In your report to the leadership, emphasize the benefits of using a free security tool such as MBSA. Then make a recommendation for using these types of tools (i.e., MBSA and OpenVAS), including the results you found for both.
Remember to include these analyses and conclusions in the SAR deliverable:
- After you provide a description of the methodology you used to make your security assessment, you will provide the actual data from the tools, the status of security and patch updates, security recommendations, and offer specific remediation guidance, to your senior leadership.
- You will include any risk assessments associated with the security recommendations, and propose ways to address the risk either by accepting the risk, transferring the risk, mitigating the risk, or eliminating the risk.
Include your SAR in your final deliverable to leadership.