question for martin writer

Prioritization OS risk assessment

Operating System Security

Operating system security can be defined as the various sets of protection mechanisms or techniques employed by system administrators to prevent information theft and unauthorized resource access. All systems and especially in distributed systems require some measure of security that only allows authorized data manipulation and availability to employees of a company. Jinx will also need to secure its system to prevent both external and internal threats.

Services that are mostly focus on in system security include;

· Authentication: This is the validation of system servers or the identity of users or information/data senders within an organization.

· Availability: Authorized users of a system should be able to access information freely in addition to withholding it from unauthorized access. This also includes shared resources in the system.

· Authorization: This can also be referred to as Access Control. Organizations can limit the number of people access the network resources by simply verifying users when logging into the system. Using passwords and usernames is one way of controlling unauthorized access to computers and the system. However, authentication does not always guarantee a user full access to network resources or data. This is only achieved through the process of authorization.

· Confidentiality: When the personnel is involved in leaking information or if the system has poor measures in their security protocols then information can be disclosed to unauthorized people. Allowing access to delicate information anonymously is a good example of poor security.

· Integrity: It involves preventing of fraudulent access and altering of a company’s sensitive information. Authorized users can also cause errors or omissions hence alteration of important business data (Heidari, 2011).

System security is classified into three main protective measures. The system administrator needs knowledge of the information’s value so that they are able to develop the right security measures. They include;

· Prevention: This can be done in a number of ways ranging from setting up high security protocols to locking servers in strong rooms. All these policies are put in place to prevent data theft, damage or alteration.

· Detection: Tools have been developed to aid in detecting unauthorized intrusion, alterations, viruses and damages. A system administrator is required to take steps that ensure information is protected from loss, being illegally altered or being damaged to enable a company function at maximum output. Detection also may include finding out information about extent of damages, how data has been altered or which data has been stolen.

· Reaction: This includes setting up corrective measure to effectively recover damaged or lost information.

Security Threats

We have various security threats and attacks that have been discussed worldwide. These threats can be divided into two categories; natural disasters and human threats. Natural disasters are unforeseen and in most cases very hard to predict. Hurricanes, fire, lightning or floods are some of the natural disasters that can occur and cause damage to physical components of a system. Other security threats that are human caused but categorized as natural disasters include terrorist attacks, riots or in the event of a war.

Human caused threats are many and consist of internal attacks by unsatisfied or malicious employees or external threats by hackers who look to disrupt and harm the smooth running of an organization. Employees and former employees however pose the greatest security threat because they have knowledge of security passwords and protocols of a company. Insiders can delete vital information either maliciously or accidentally and they can also damage information by planting viruses and other malware. Crackers or hacker also pose considerable threats to vulnerable systems. The goal of a hacker could be to steal information, damage the information to disrupt the effective running of an organization or to simply alter important data.

Main areas of the operating system that are evaluated for performing risk assessment at Jinx are:

· The biggest threat to data

· Unprotected network access

· weak or compromised passwords

· Physical Security

· Malware

Threat to the data: The biggest threat to the Operating system is the threat to the data stored in databases. The data of the company is highly confidential and the organization needs to secure that data and the organization has to make it confidential. To make the data more secure the Jinx may have to add some high-level data security permissions to the database (Watson M, 2012). Also controlling the availability of sensitive data to unauthorized employees is a threat to the integrity of a company’s information. Data threats sometimes can be caused by viruses, worms or Trojans planted by disgruntled employees or malicious hacker

Unprotected network access:

The network of the enterprise should be protected from external access. External users may cause damage to confidential data or steal data for purposes of selling it to competitors. Most companies rely on the menu security because it is easy to build. Menu security ensures that different categories of employees have access to the data authorized for manipulation in their area of operation. Access is limited while other menu items remain deactivated and unavailable to the entire security group. Creating user accounts in separate security groups and creating passwords reduces the risk of compromising data integrity.

Weak or compromised cryptographic algorithms: Another security threat to the enterprise is weak and easily compromised passwords. The password of a user can be sniffed in the network traffic so there are more chances of security breach using stolen passwords. Passwords should be encrypted using strong cryptographic algorithms. Malicious attackers may sometimes manage to develop plaintext access codes from encrypted passwords.

Physical security:

Physical security is one of the most important methods of guaranteeing operating system security. Since operating system code and configuration files are installed on a system’s internal hard drive, an attacker with physical right of entry to the system can easily modify, delete or steal critical files on a system. For this motive, most commercial servers are stored in protected rooms and watched by armed security guards


Malware, short for malicious software, hijacks an operating system to perform some sort of destructive task for an attacker. Viruses, Trojans, Worms and spyware are the most common form of malware, and each work to destabilize operating system security controls (Shawgo, Faber & Whitney, 2005).

Prioritization risks in the operating system:

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Risk mitigations for the risks in the operating systems:

Database security:

1) The first thing we have to implement in the company’s system is separate the web server and database server of the enterprise.

2) Encryption of stored files so that if anyone has unauthorized access they cannot steal and decrypt it.

3) Encrypt your backup files.

4) Use web application firewalls. It protects the database of the enterprise from unwanted users otherwise known as crackers.

Unprotected network access:

1) Apply proper security protocols to the company’s network. Setting up of proper and complex passwords to the network is one way of ensuring less to no unauthorized network breach.

2) Use firewalls in the network to restrict unwanted users from gaining access to the enterprise network (Bassil, 2012).

3) Reduce the use of Telnet protocols that allow user to log into a system connected to the network remotely and operate it as if they were sitted there.

4) Avoid using commands that reveal a user’s confidential information as well as sensitive system information. These commands can cause system vulnerability and allow hackers to infiltrate the system. They include Rexec and Finger.

Weak or compromised passwords:

1) Use Single Sign-On to reduce the number of stored passwords in your organisation’s database.

2) Don’t send passwords via email, or over un-secured networks.

3) Require that passwords be changed at regular intervals.

4) Don’t use default passwords (Watson M, 2012).

Physical security:

1) Keeping all important company resources like servers behind a locked door and protected from natural and human-made disasters.


1) Run Windows Firewall to protect individual computers while on the Internet.

2) Run a secondary system protection firewall program whenever you use the Internet. (Wepman, 2007)


Bassil, Y. (2012). Windows and linux operating systems from a security perspective. Journal of Global Research in Computer Science, 3(2), Retrieved from

Heidari, M. (2011, July 11). Operating systems security considerations. Retrieved from

Shawgo, J., Faber, S., & Whitney, N. (2005). Operating system legacy, enterprise, and
specialized security benchmark consensus baseline security settings. The Center for
Internet Security, 2(1),

Watson M, R. N. (2012). New approaches to operating system security extensibility. (Doctoral dissertation), Available from Technical Report. (UCAM-CL-TR-818)Retrieved from

Your introduction to the topic provides background information and prepares the reader for what follows. After discussing the OS vulnerabilities, you describe the threats to your environment. As you say, you can prevent weak password by setting up the security policies to enforce strong policies and this is so easy to implement that you can remove the threat right away. Instead of ‘Week’, try ‘Weak’. You have very good material. The only item missed was the prioritization of the threats to decide which ones to mitigate. Good references and citations. Grade: 05/05 – Document Organization 15/15 – OS for Security 35/35 – OS Security Risks 34/35 – Mitigation Strategy 10/10 – Mechanics 99%

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