Preventing Software Installation

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If you’re planning on taking the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of methods used to protect hosts, such as preventing software installation on workstations, servers, and mobile devices.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. Your organization wants to ensure that employees do not install or play operating system games, such as solitaire and FreeCell, on their computers. Which of the following is the BEST choice to prevent this?

A. Security policy

B. Application whitelisting

C. Anti-malware software

D. Antivirus software

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

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Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

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Whitelisting Versus Blacklisting Applications

Whitelisting and blacklisting are two additional methods used to protect hosts, including workstations, servers, and mobile devices. A whitelist is a list of applications authorized to run on a system. A blacklist is a list of applications the system blocks.

Software Installation

You can use Software Restriction Policies in Microsoft Group Policy for both whitelisting and blacklisting for computers within a domain. For a whitelist, you identify the applications that can run on the system, and Group Policy blocks all other applications. For a blacklist, you identify the applications that cannot run on the system, and Group Policy allows any other applications. For example, if users have been running a specific type of unauthorized P2P software, or operating system games such as FreeCell, you can add these applications to the blacklist. Group Policy will then prevent them from running.

Some antivirus software supports the use of whitelists. For example, Kaspersky Lab maintains a whitelist database. This list helps prevent false positives where antivirus software incorrectly identifies valid applications as malicious software. Note that in this example, the whitelist doesn’t include all the safe software in the world. Instead, it includes a list of applications that are known to be safe. Antivirus software doesn’t need to check these applications as closely as unknown applications.

Remember this

Application whitelisting identifies authorized software for workstations, servers, and mobile devices. It prevents users from installing or running software that isn’t on the list.

Trusted OS

A trusted operating system (trusted OS) meets a set of predetermined requirements with a heavy emphasis on authentication and authorization. The overall goal of a trusted operating system is to ensure that only authorized personnel can access data based on their permissions. Additionally, a trusted operating system prevents any modifications or movement of data by unauthorized entities. With this in mind, a trusted OS helps prevent malicious software (malware) infections because it prevents malicious or suspicious code from executing.

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A trusted OS meets a high level of security requirements imposed by a third party. For example, the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation (or simply Common Criteria) includes requirements for a trusted OS. Operating systems that meet these requirements can be certified as trusted operating systems.


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Online access includes all of the content from the

CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including types of questions and strategies for performance-based questions)
  • 100 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Control Types and Methods (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Basic Network Security (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Malware and Social Engineering (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Identifying Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Managing Risk (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Preparing for Business Continuity (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Operational Security (full content from Chapter 11 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • 100 question post-assessment exam
  • Security+ Acronyms

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Test your readiness with these quality materials

Random 100-question tests

Random practice tests from the all of the practice test questions in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct, and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

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Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types:
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Q. Your organization wants to ensure that employees do not install or play operating system games, such as solitaire and FreeCell, on their computers. Which of the following is the BEST choice to prevent this?

A. Security policy

B. Application whitelisting

C. Anti-malware software

D. Antivirus software

Answer is B. Application whitelisting identifies authorized applications and prevents users from installing or running any other applications. Alternately, you can use a blacklist to identify specific applications that cannot be installed or run on a system.

A security policy (such as an acceptable use policy) can state a rule to discourage this behavior, but it doesn’t enforce the rule by preventing users from installing or running the software.

Anti-malware software and antivirus software can detect and block malware, but not applications.

See Chapter 5 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on securing hosts and data.

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