Protecting Management Interfaces & Applications

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If you’re planning to take the Security+ exam, you should have a good understanding of appropriate solutions to establish host security. This includes operating system and application hardening that protects management interfaces and applications.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. Attackers recently attacked a web server hosted by your organization. Management has tasked administrators with reducing the attack surface of this server to prevent future attacks. Which of the following will meet this goal?

A. Disabling unnecessary services

B. Installing and updating antivirus software

C. Identifying the baseline

D. Installing a NIDS

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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Disabling Unnecessary Accounts

Many operating systems and applications come with default accounts. A basic principle in hardening systems and applications is to disable unnecessary accounts before deploying the system. For example, the Guest account is disabled by default in current Windows systems, but in the past, administrators disabled it before deploying Windows systems.

Similarly, database server applications include default database accounts and have used blank or default passwords in the past. If the deployed application doesn’t need the default accounts, administrators disable them before deployment. If the application needs the accounts, administrators ensure the accounts have strong passwords.

Some applications also include backdoor accounts. A backdoor is an access point to an application or service that bypasses normal security mechanisms. Developers use backdoors for legitimate purposes to view the internal workings of an application or for ease of administration. However, the use of backdoors is strongly discouraged in the final released version. If a backdoor exists, you can expect attackers to locate and exploit it.

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  • 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)
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Eliminating Unneeded Applications

In addition to disabling unnecessary services to reduce vulnerabilities, it’s important to uninstall unneeded software. Software frequently has bugs and vulnerabilities. Although patching software frequently closes these vulnerabilities, you can eliminate these vulnerabilities by simply eliminating unneeded applications.

Management Interfaces & Applications

Management Interfaces and Applications

Many devices and applications have built-in tools used for administration. These tools often provide administrators with the ability to manage the devices, but their access needs to be protected to prevent unauthorized personnel from modifying them. One of the primary ways you can protect them is by disabling unnecessary accounts and changing the default passwords.

As an example, Chapter 4 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide covers wireless networks and many wireless devices come with predefined accounts and passwords used in the application. A common combination is an Administrator account named “admin” and a password of “admin.” Unless this password is changed, an attacker can easily break into the network and cause considerable damage.

It’s also important to use best practices when creating and modifying passwords.


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FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

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.

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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.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

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Click here if you're looking for SYO-501 Practice Test Questions

Q. Attackers recently attacked a web server hosted by your organization. Management has tasked administrators with reducing the attack surface of this server to prevent future attacks. Which of the following will meet this goal?

A. Disabling unnecessary services

B. Installing and updating antivirus software

C. Identifying the baseline

D. Installing a NIDS

Answer is A. Disabling unnecessary services is a primary method of reducing the attack surface of a host.

Installing up-to-date antivirus software is valid preventive control, but it doesn’t reduce the attack surface.

Identifying the baseline should be done after disabling unnecessary services.

A network-based intrusion detection system (NIDS) helps protect the server, but it doesn’t reduce its attack surface.

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


If you’re studying for the SY0-501 version of the exam, check out the CompTIA Security+ Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-501 Study Guide.

 

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