Using Hardware Locks

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If you’re planning on taking the Security+ exam, you should have a good understanding of using hardware locks.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. A security expert is identifying and implementing several different physical deterrent controls to protect an organization’s server room. Which of the following choices would BEST meet this objective?

A. Using hardware locks

B. Utilizing data encryption

C. Performing a vulnerability assessment

D. Training users

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

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide

The 401 Version of the Study Guide

SY0-401 Study GuideThe CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201 and SY0-301 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.

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Restricting Access with Hardware Locks

You can implement simple physical security measures to prevent access to secure areas. For example, you can use hardware locks—similar to what you use to secure your home—to secure buildings as well as rooms within buildings. Companies that don’t have the resources to employ advanced security systems often use these types of hardware locks.

Instead of allowing free access to wiring closets or small server rooms, small organizations use these types of locks to restrict access. Although these locks aren’t as sophisticated as the ones used by large organizations, they are much better than leaving the rooms open and the equipment exposed.

Hardware locks

Securing Mobile Computers with Cable Locks

Cable locks are a great theft deterrent for mobile computers, and even many desktop computers at work. Computer cable locks work similar to how a bicycle cable lock works. However, instead of securing a bicycle to a bike rack or post, a computer cable lock secures a computer to a piece of furniture.

The user wraps the cable around a desk, table, or something heavy, and then plugs it into an opening in the laptop specifically created for this purpose. Most cable locks have a four-digit combo. If you (or anyone) remove the cable lock without the combo, it will likely destroy the laptop.

Another common use of cable locks is for computers in unsupervised labs. For example, you can secure laptop or desktop computers with cable locks in a training lab. This allows you to leave the room open so that students can use the equipment, but the cable locks prevent thieves from stealing the equipment.

Remember this

Cable locks are effective threat deterrents for small equipment such as laptops and some workstations. When used properly, they prevent losses due to theft of small equipment.

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Securing Servers with Locking Cabinets

Larger companies often have large server rooms with advanced security to restrict access. Additionally, within the server room, administrators use locking cabinets to secure equipment mounted within the bays. An equipment bay is about the size of a large refrigerator and can hold servers, routers, and other IT equipment. These bays have doors in the back and many have doors in the front, too. Administrators lock these doors to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing the equipment.

Offices often have file cabinets that lock, too, so it’s important to pay attention to the context when referring to locking cabinets. For example, if you want to secure equipment within a server room, locking cabinets is one of many physical security controls you can use. If you want to secure unattended smartphones in an office space, you can use also use a locking cabinet, but this is an office file cabinet that locks.

Remember this

Locking cabinets in server rooms provide an added physical security measure. A locked cabinet prevents unauthorized access to equipment mounted in server bays.

Securing Small Devices with a Safe

Locking file cabinets or safes used in many offices help prevent the theft of smaller devices. For example, you can store smaller devices such as external USB drives or USB flash drives in an office safe or locking cabinet when they aren’t in use. Depending on the size of the office safe and office cabinet, you might also be able to secure laptops within them.


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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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Q. A security expert is identifying and implementing several different physical deterrent controls to protect an organization’s server room. Which of the following choices would BEST meet this objective?

A. Using hardware locks

B. Utilizing data encryption

C. Performing a vulnerability assessment

D. Training users

Answer is A. A hardware lock is a physical security control. It’s also a deterrent control because it would deter someone from entering.

Data encryption is a technical control designed to protect data and is not a physical security control.

A vulnerability assessment is a management control designed to discover vulnerabilities, but it is not a physical control.

Training users is an effective preventive control, but it is not a physical control.

See Chapter 2 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on physical security controls.

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INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

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