And we did it! We got to our final addition to our MITRE D3FEND Top Ten, all driven by what you – the reader – wanted to see. Thank you to everyone who helped us shape our top ten entries along the way! Here’s something to finish off this list before we move onto something else…
Platform hardening in cybersecurity is the practice of strengthening the security of computer systems, applications, and networks. This is achieved by implementing various security measures to reduce potential vulnerabilities and enhance overall resilience against cyber threats.
That’s obviously quite a broad description, so here’s something a little bit more concrete to help you understand what we’re talking about.
What is Platform Hardening?
Configuration of Operating Systems with Security Compliance Tool (e.g., CIS-CAT)
Enhancing security settings in operating systems is critical. Security compliance tools like CIS-CAT can automate the process of evaluating and enforcing security configurations, ensuring that systems adhere to recommended standards. This helps in reducing attack surfaces and vulnerabilities.
Secure Application Configuration using Security Scanning Tools (e.g., OWASP ZAP)
Properly configuring software applications is essential to prevent exploitation. Security scanning tools like OWASP ZAP can identify vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting and injection attacks. By scanning and fixing issues, the risk of application-based breaches is minimized.
Implementing Access Control with Identity and Access Management (IAM) Solutions
Controlling who has access to what resources is crucial. IAM solutions enable organizations to enforce the principle of least privilege effectively. Tools like Okta or Azure Active Directory help manage user identities and permissions, reducing the potential impact of security incidents.
Data Encryption leveraging Encryption Software (e.g., VeraCrypt)
Protecting data through encryption is vital. Encryption software like VeraCrypt allows for the creation of encrypted volumes, ensuring that sensitive information remains secure even if accessed by unauthorized individuals.
Real-time Monitoring and Auditing via Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) System (e.g., Splunk)
Continuous monitoring is essential to detect and respond to threats promptly. SIEM systems like Splunk aggregate and analyze log data, enabling organizations to identify suspicious activities and potential vulnerabilities in real time.
Timely Patch Management using Patch Management Tools (e.g., WSUS)
Regularly updating software and systems is crucial for addressing known vulnerabilities. Patch management tools like WSUS automate the deployment of security patches, ensuring that systems remain up to date and protected.
Network Security Measures with Next-Generation Firewalls (e.g., Palo Alto Networks)
Securing network traffic is fundamental. Next-generation firewalls like Palo Alto Networks offer advanced intrusion prevention and application-aware filtering, safeguarding networks against unauthorized access and threats.
Ensuring Secure Boot and Firmware Validation using Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
Verifying the integrity of the system’s boot process and firmware is essential. TPM is a hardware-based security solution that ensures the system’s components haven’t been tampered with before the operating system loads.
User and Administrator Training with Security Awareness Platforms (e.g., KnowBe4)
Educating users about cybersecurity best practices is a key defense. Security awareness platforms like KnowBe4 offer training modules and simulated phishing campaigns to enhance users’ ability to identify and respond to potential threats.
Vulnerability Management through Vulnerability Scanning Tools (e.g., Nessus)
Regularly assessing vulnerabilities is crucial. Vulnerability scanning tools like Nessus can identify weaknesses in systems and applications, allowing organizations to prioritize and address potential risks.
Application Whitelisting with Application Control Solutions (e.g., AppLocker)
Allowing only trusted applications to run reduces attack opportunities. Application control solutions like AppLocker enable organizations to define and enforce application execution policies, preventing unauthorized software from running.
Backup and Recovery Planning with Data Backup Solutions (e.g., Veeam)
Preparing for data loss is essential. Data backup solutions like Veeam provide robust backup and recovery capabilities, ensuring that data can be restored in the event of a security incident.
Why is Platform Hardening Important?
Platform hardening is a critical aspect of cybersecurity that helps organizations fortify their systems against evolving cyber threats. By implementing comprehensive security measures and best practices, platform hardening reduces the likelihood of successful cyberattacks and data breaches.
It minimizes the attack surface, mitigates vulnerabilities, and enhances the overall resilience of systems and applications. In an era where cyber threats are constantly evolving, platform hardening is an ongoing effort that significantly contributes to maintaining a strong and robust security posture, safeguarding sensitive information, and preserving the trust of customers and stakeholders.