Weaknesses in default configuration settings

Hardening your configurations is one of the most important aspects of keeping your systems secure. A configuration is a collection of files and options that govern how a system operates. When you harden a configuration, you are making changes to improve the system’s security. When hardening a configuration, there are numerous factors to consider. The principle of least privilege is one of the most important. This principle states that users should only have the permissions they require to do their jobs. By limiting permissions, you can limit the damage that an attacker can do if they gain access to a user account. Another critical factor to consider is the principle of defense in depth.

We are all aware that one of the leading causes of system breaches is faulty or default configurations. In fact, after cross-site scripting, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) ranks insecure configurations as the second most common type of security vulnerability (XSS). But, exactly, what is a weak configuration? It’s simply a setting or parameter that hasn’t been properly locked down. This could be a server with default settings, a program with easily guessable passwords, or a simple misconfiguration. Weak configurations are unfortunately all too common.

Weaknesses in default configuration settings

Weak default configurations are one of the most common IT security issues. Organizations leave themselves vulnerable to attack by failing to properly secure a system during installation. Unfortunately, many default configurations are left wide open, allowing malicious actors to easily exploit known vulnerabilities. Organizations must understand the risks associated with weak default configurations in order to properly secure a system. They must then take precautionary measures to reduce those risks, such as changing passwords and restricting access to critical systems. Weak default configurations are a serious problem, but organizations can protect themselves by taking the time to understand the risks they pose.

Insufficient Logging

One of the most common weak default configurations is insufficient logging. This is due to the fact that many organizations fail to configure their logging infrastructure properly, resulting in insufficient logging data. Inadequate logging can result in a variety of serious security issues, including:

  • undetected attacks
  • difficulty investigating and troubleshooting incidents
  • compliance violations.

To avoid these issues, organizations must ensure that their logging infrastructure is properly configured. Proper logging configuration entails specifying which events should be logged, where the logs should be stored, and how long the logs should be kept. In addition, organizations should have a process in place for monitoring logs for security events.

Insufficient Monitoring

If you don’t already have a monitoring solution for your systems, now is the time to put one in place. Without monitoring, you will be unable to detect system issues in a timely manner. This may result in outages and other issues that could have been avoided. You should keep an eye on a variety of things, including:

  • CPU usage
  • Memory consumption
  • Hard drive space
  • Network traffic

These are just a few of the most critical things to keep an eye on. Monitoring things like application logs can also help you troubleshoot problems. There are various monitoring tools available, both open source and commercial. Choose the one that meet your needs.

Final Words

The weakness of default configurations is a problem because it can lead to system and data vulnerabilities. The best way to combat this issue is to keep your system up to date with the most recent security patches and updates. To help protect your system from attacks, you should also consider using a security suite that includes a firewall and other security features.

Looking to expand your knowledge of penetration testing? Check out our online course, MPT - Certified Penetration Tester. In this course, you’ll learn about the different aspects of penetration testing and how to put them into practice.