The term hardening, as related to information technology, is the process of making a computer system more secure. The process is typically performed for servers but is also recommended for workstations.
Some typical steps taken when hardening a computer include:
- Update system with operating system and application program latest patches.
- Shut down unneeded services - This minimizes risk since there are fewer services running for an attacker to exploit.
- Only install needed services.
- Limit services to minimum access required.
- Limit administrator accounts to minimum access required and minimum amount.
- Configure logging to provide information about any security breaches or attacks.
- System security policies should be in place including policies about auditing, system updates, system password, and account passwords including settings detailing minimum lengths, complexity rules, and change frequency.
- Install an anti-virus program.
- Install and configure intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems.