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System Administration

Featuring 36 Papers as of March 19, 2014

  • Inside Mac Security Ben Knowles - March 19, 2014

    Apple, Inc.'s OS X family is both the result of decades of operating system development and a collection of systems and features from many other systems combined with many unique ideas and implementations.

  • Systems Engineering: Required for Cost-Effective Development of Secure Products Masters Dan Lyon - October 8, 2012

    Security of data and systems is critical to consider during development of a complex system, and by taking a systems approach, secure design can be achieved in a cost effective manner.

  • Securing Blackboard Learn on Linux David Lyon - December 1, 2011

    Blackboard Learn (Bb Learn) is an application suite providing educational technology to facilitate online, web based learning. It is typical to see Bb Learn hosting courses and content. Common add-ons include the Community and Content systems which are licensed separately.

  • Securely Deploying Android Devices Angel Alonso-Parrizas - September 23, 2011

    Nowadays it is necessary for most companies to provide e-mail/Internet access to employees outside of the office, hence many business provide their staff with BlackBerrys, iPhones, Android or other smartphones with Internet connectivity.

  • Application Whitelisting: Panacea or Propaganda Masters Jim Beechey - January 18, 2011

    Every day, organizations of all sizes struggle to protect their endpoints from a constant barrage of malware. The number of threats continues to increase dramatically each year.

  • Preventing Incidents with a Hardened Web Browser Chris Crowley - December 15, 2009

    There is substantial industry documentation on web browser security because the web browser is currently a frequently used vector of attack. This paper investigates current literature discussing the threats present in today's environment.

  • Is Internet Explorer More Secure than FireFox? Larry Fortier - October 1, 2007

    It is common practice to compare web browser security based on known exploits but this paper raises the idea that security is a broader concept and that there are other important issues that need to be considered. In this paper we look at how it is possible to circumvent a companys security policy by using a web browser. Specifically, we compare Internet Explorer with FireFox web browser when connecting to a website that is not FIPS-140 compliant and the companies policy is to use FIPS-140 complaint algorithms for web connections. Using this example we discuss best practices in choosing an encryption product (assuming data should be encrypted). We then end with a discussion emphasizing how important it is for security professionals to create a security culture within an organization and how to handle the struggle between usability and security in a real world setting.

  • OS and Application Fingerprinting Techniques Masters Jon Mark Allen - September 27, 2007

    This paper will attempt to describe what application and operating system (OS) fingerprinting are and discuss techniques and methods used by three of the most popular fingerprinting applications: nmap, Xprobe2, and p0f. I will discuss similarities and differences between not only active scanning and passive detection, but also the differences between the two active scanners as well. We will conclude with a brief discussion of why successful application or OS identification might be a bad thing for an administrator and offer suggestions to avoid successful detection.

  • Security Implications of the Virtualized Data Center Alan Murphy - June 19, 2007

    The concepts behind application and operation system virtualization are not new concepte,they have been around long before server appliances and desktop PCs were readily available in our daily vocabulary.

  • Port Knocking: Beyond the Basics Dawn Isabel - May 17, 2005

    Port knocking has recently become a popular and controversial topic in security. A basic overview of port knocking is given, and it is assumed that when carefully implemented, port knocking can be a useful tool in some situations.

  • Linux Repository Server: Implementing and Hardening Step by Step Alexandre Teixeira - May 5, 2005

    One of the highly critical roles in computers security maintenance is patch management, this paper discusses the process of implementing softwares and measures in order successfully accomplish such role.

  • Linux Repository Server: Implementing and Hardening Step by Step Alexandre Teixeira - March 9, 2005

    One of the highly critical roles in computers security maintenance is patch management, this paper discusses the process of implementing softwares and measures in order to successfully accomplish such role.

  • Meeting the challenges of automated patch management John Walther - September 16, 2004

    According to the CERT(R) Coordination Center (CERT(R)/CC), 95 percent of all network intrusions could be avoided by keeping systems up-to-date.

  • Metrics for Operational Security Control Richard Cambra - August 15, 2004

    This paper aims to inform the reader on what metrics are, why metrics can be an important tool for controlling security systems; and, how metrics fit into the day to day IT operations to improve security by measuring, reporting and tracking key elements of systems that have an impact on security.

  • Protecting Students in the Public School Environment John Decker - July 25, 2004

    Today's network security issues not only involve the protection of the vital data of commerce, but also, whether by law, policy or common sense, the people and the parts of their lives that may be included in that data.

  • Operating System Build Management in the Enterprise Duncan Beattie - April 8, 2004

    Mitigating the risk to critical systems from vulnerabilities in operating system builds is an important responsibility of any system administrator. In organisations with a large number of servers, running multiple applications and services, managing the state of production builds can be a time consuming exercise.

  • Options for Secure Personal Password Management Hugh Ranalli - December 14, 2003

    In this paper I have used my personal needs for password management as a starting point, trying to determine a solution which would work both for IT personnel, and which would also be suitable for use by the average computer user.

  • Role-Based Access Control: The NIST Solution Hazen Weber - December 13, 2003

    RBAC3, when properly implemented following a well-defined organizational policy, can allow for a very scaleable, logical, and secure means of distributing access to file systems, applications, sub-systems or the like.

  • Implementing the "Just-enough Privilege" Security Model Tom Martzahn - November 19, 2003

    This paper discusses some of the challenges associated with migrating a large, widely distributed Windows NT environment with widespread administrative access for the application and server support personnel to a native Windows 2000 environment which embraces the philosophy of the "Just-enough privilege" (JeP) security model to complete assigned job responsibilities.

  • Backup Rotations - A Final Defense Stephen Lennon - October 31, 2003

    This paper examines various rotation strategies that can be applied to protecting data stored on an organization's computer system.

  • The Divine Right of Kings: Domain Administrators and your (In)secure Network Mark Austin - October 31, 2003

    This paper will focus on access control of network resources, and how it relates to information theft and sabotage.

  • Non-Malicious Destruction of Data Saffet Ozdemir - October 31, 2003

    This paper examines how any backup solution must protect the enterprise and the individual users within the enterprise from lost productivity, lost or corrupted data, and time consumed in resuming normal operation.

  • Some of the Dangers of Connecting your AS/400 to a Network Michael Walsh - October 31, 2003

    from lost productivity, lost or corrupted data, and time consumed in resuming normal operation.

  • Systems Administrators: The First Line of Defense Elizabeth Frank - October 31, 2003

    This paper examines the role of systems administrators, those people responsible for the defense of a company's cyber structure.

  • Patch DoS Chad Oleary - October 31, 2003

    This paper describes how we are just starting to feel the ramifications of the "ship first, patch later" methodology used in most IT projects, especially as they relate to security in a 24x7x365, ecommerce environment.

  • Proposal for Managing System Security Patches in an Enterprise Network Karenda Bernal - October 31, 2003

    This paper details one possible solution to establishing an Emergency Vulnerability Alert (EVA) structure, the EVA process preparation; what will need to be in place prior to the implementation of the process, a complete layout of the EVA process detail, and finally what challenges (downfalls) may be faced with implementing the process proposed in this practical.

  • Slogging (syslog-ging) through the Mud Michael Sullivan - October 31, 2003

    This paper focuses on what the author feels are some of the most important -- but often taken for granted - mechanisms of defense in depth: logging and auditing.

  • Steps Toward a Secure Windows XP Stand Alone Workstation Abstract Patrick Grace - October 31, 2003

    These pages constitute a "how to" guide for configuring public access computers to protect them from user alterations.

  • Protecting Insecure Programs Shawn Instenes - October 31, 2003

    This document examines several strategies to protect programs from malicious input, so that they will, in the worst case, abort processing rather than cause malicious code to be executed.

  • Systems Security Management: Small Business Style Nathaniel Dean - October 31, 2003

    Most small businesses simply do not have the resources for even one full-time employee dedicated to Information Systems; however, four servers and thirty workstations can be a bit much without a good plan and the right tools to aid in the execution.

  • Security Administration Solution or Why We Implemented An Identity Management/Account Provisioning T Suzette Franklin - October 31, 2003

    This paper presents a case study of how our company took the challenge and implemented an account provisioning solution.

  • Keeping Red Hat Linux Systems Secure with up2date John Mravunac - October 31, 2003

    In this paper I will give an in depth overview of the software update mechanisms used by the Red Hat Network from Red Hat Inc.

  • Securing Internet Explorer Through Patch Management Ben Meader - October 31, 2003

    This paper addresses the current state of patch management, demonstrates what could happen to your network if you leave IE unpatched and provides information on how to mitigate the risk of IE being attacked through the application of strong security settings.

  • Using Fport on Windows NT to Map Applications to Open Ports Teena Henson - October 31, 2003

    To develop defense-in-depth computer security, an understanding of various vulnerabilities must be realized before a protection strategy is developed.

  • Methodologically Upgrading A Production System Otan Ayan - June 27, 2003

    This paper attempts to outline the process an administrator should follow after a security patch has been released. Since this process is a consistently repeatable task, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) can be revised and enhanced as needed.

  • Password Security in NIS Systems Eric Gallagher - July 19, 2001

    This material begins with a dual survey of NIS security and password security and goes beyond the initial reading into an attempt to advance password security practice in NIS.

Most of the computer security white papers in the Reading Room have been written by students seeking GIAC certification to fulfill part of their certification requirements and are provided by SANS as a resource to benefit the security community at large. SANS attempts to ensure the accuracy of information, but papers are published "as is". Errors or inconsistencies may exist or may be introduced over time as material becomes dated. If you suspect a serious error, please contact

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Masters This paper was created by a SANS Technology Institute student as part of their Master's curriculum.