Securing and Hardening Red Hat Linux Production Systems

This article is a practical step-by-step guide for securing Linux production systems. It discusses basic Linux Security requirements for systems that need to pass various audits in an enterprise environment. If you work on a corporate Linux Security Standard, or if you do Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) or Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS 70) related work, then this article should provide you a good baseline.

Focus of this Article

This Linux Security HOWTO is intended for a technical audience, Linux system administrators, and security people in corporations and organizations that have to use commercial Linux distributions for their production environment. If you are a Linux expert then you may find familiar material here, but you will have difficulties to find documentation on various topics like restricting su access to system and shared accounts only as covered in this article, see Restricting su Access to System and Shared Accounts.
If you need to make Linux production systems compliant with various audit requirements, then this article should offer a good baseline and starting point. The main objective of this Linux Security guide is to discuss basic Linux security requirements including account policies for production systems that are being audited. This document covers various system services like SSH which are usually enabled and required on all Linux production servers. But it does not cover services or applications like Apache, Samba etc., since these applications/services are usually not needed across all Linux servers and should therefore not be installed on all systems. In fact, these applications warrant their own security HOWTO. Also, this article does not cover security features that require kernel patching. This is not an option for most companies due to vendor support issues.

This Linux Security Cookbook has been tested on Red Hat Linux but should also be applicable to many other Linux distributions like Novell SUSE.

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