System Configuration Baselines

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Baselines are known as a starting point and organizations commonly use baselines to provide known starting points for workstations and servers. If you’re planning on taking the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of the several different types of baselines.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. Maggie is compiling a list of approved software for desktop operating systems within a company. What is the MOST likely purpose of this list?

A. Host software baseline

B. Baseline reporting

C. Application configuration baseline

D. Code review

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.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

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Over 440 realistic Security+ practice test questions

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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Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 100 random questions. View 100 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 100 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

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INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

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.

- 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.

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.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Configuration Baselines

A configuration baseline identifies the configuration settings for a system. This includes settings such as printer configuration, application settings, and TCP/IP settings. This is especially useful when verifying proper operation of a system. As an example, if a server is no longer operating correctly, it might be due to a configuration change. Administrators might be able to identify the problem by comparing the current settings against the baseline and correcting any discrepancies.

Configuration Baselines

The differences between a configuration baseline and a security baseline can be a little fuzzy. The security baseline settings are strictly security related. The configuration baseline settings ensure consistent operation of the system. However, because the configuration baseline contributes to improved availability of a system, which is part of the security triad, it also contributes to overall security.

An important consideration with a configuration baseline is keeping it up to date. Administrators should update the configuration baseline after changing or modifying the system. This includes after installing new software, deploying service packs, or modifying any other system configuration settings. 

Host Software Baselines

A host software baseline lists all software installed on a system, along with a list of approved software. Administrators sometimes refer to it as an application baseline. Administrators can perform automated scans of computers to create an inventory of all the installed applications. They can compare this with a list of approved applications to identify unauthorized applications. This type of scan can also identify applications that aren’t up to date with current patches and are vulnerable to attack.

Remember this

Host software baselines provide a list of approved software and a list of software installed on systems. Administrators can use this to identify unauthorized software installed on systems. Unauthorized software is not maintained and can easily become vulnerable without patching.

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Application Configuration Baselines

Application configuration baselines identify the proper settings for applications. They are similar to system configuration baselines with the exception that they only refer to settings for specific applications. As an example, imagine an organization hosts several database servers running Microsoft SQL Server. Administrators configure the settings on these systems in a secure state and document the settings. Later, administrators can audit the servers to ensure the settings haven’t been modified.

Performance Baselines

A performance baseline identifies the overall performance of a system at a point in time. If performance deteriorates later, administrators can compare the current performance against the baseline report. The differences between the current measurements and the baseline help an administrator differentiate between normal performance and actual problems.

The baseline report includes information on usage of basic system hardware resources, such as the processor, memory, disk, and network interface card (NIC). It also includes additional system data, such as logs to show normal behavior.

As an example, Performance Monitor is a tool used within Windows systems to create performance baseline reports. A performance baseline report captures snapshots of key metrics every 30 minutes throughout a seven-day period. These snapshots give a good picture of a system’s performance during peak performance times and slack times. An administrator can later compare current performance with the baseline to identify any differences.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide (SY0-401)

The 401 Version of the Study Guide is Now Available

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Kindle edition also available.

Baseline Reporting

Baseline reporting is the process of comparing systems against a baseline to identify discrepancies or anomalies. It can be used with any type of baseline. As an example, a security baseline configures systems in a known secure state. Later, administrators can audit the systems to ensure they are still in the same known secure state.

Several tools are available to assist with baseline reporting. Vulnerability scanners scan systems looking for specific security settings and provide a report for systems with different security settings. Similarly, application baseline reporting includes a scan of systems to identify installed applications and compares it with authorized applications. If it finds unauthorized software, such as P2P software, the baseline report lists the software along with computer’s name and other relevant details on the computer such as its IP address.

Remember this

Baseline reporting provides a report after comparing baselines with current systems. Administrators use baseline reporting for security baselines, operating system baselines, application configuration baselines, and software baselines.


 

Full Security+ Course

Full Security+ Course Now Available

Helping you Pass the First Time

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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 Full Security+ Course Now Available


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.

34 Simulated Performance-based Questions

Eight sets of performance-based questions with multiple questions in each set. These questions help you understand and prepare for performance based questions.

22 Realistic Performance-based Questions

Two new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 22 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

Flashcard Set

  • 273 Security+ Flashcards to reinforce key testable concepts
  • 280 Security+ acronyms flashcards to help you master the required acronyms
  • 204 Security+ Remember This slides

Audio - SY0-401 Security+ Remember This Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over one hour and 15 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Audio - SY0-401 Security+ Question and Answer Audio Files

Learn by Listening. Over three hours hour and 15 minutes of audio (MP3 downloads.)

Bonus #1

Audio from the end of chapter reviews from each of the chapters in the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide. Over one hour and 15 minutes of additional audio.

Bonus #2

Subnetting mini-tutorial that will help you answer two key question types:
  • Identify how many hosts a subnet supports
  • Identify valid IP addresses within a subnet

Bonus #3 

Access the study materials for a total of 60 days because sometimes life happens.

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Q. Maggie is compiling a list of approved software for desktop operating systems within a company. What is the MOST likely purpose of this list?

A. Host software baseline

B. Baseline reporting

C. Application configuration baseline

D. Code review

Answer is A. A host software baseline (also called an application baseline) identifies a list of approved software for systems and compares it with installed applications.

Baseline reporting is a process that monitors systems for changes and reports discrepancies.

An application configuration baseline identifies proper settings for applications.

A code review looks at the actual code of the software, and doesn’t just create a list.

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

You might also like to view the post about Security Baselines.

1 Comment

  1. Haha I am actually on this chapter now, so this one was easy. Thank you for your books, they are incredibly easy to read and make the material fun to study!

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