Chapter 4. General Principles of Information Security

The following general principals provide an overview of good security practices:
  • Encrypt all data transmitted over networks to help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks and eavesdropping. It is important to encrypt authentication information, such as passwords.
  • Minimize the amount of software installed and running services.
  • Use security-enhancing software and tools, for example, Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) for Mandatory Access Control (MAC), Netfilter iptables for packet filtering (firewall), and the GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) for encrypting files.
  • If possible, run each network service on a separate system to minimize the risk of one compromised service being used to compromise other services.
  • Maintain user accounts: create and enforce a strong password policy; delete unused user accounts.
  • Routinely review system and application logs. By default, security-relevant system logs are written to /var/log/secure and /var/log/audit/audit.log. Note: sending logs to a dedicated log server helps prevent attackers from easily modifying local logs to avoid detection.
  • Never log in as the root user unless absolutely necessary. It is recommended that administrators use sudo to execute commands as root when required. Users capable of running sudo are specified in /etc/sudoers. Use the visudo utility to edit /etc/sudoers.