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Hardening Guideline for Safely and Securely Using RHEL Server

This hardening guideline is designed to help company employees safely and securely deploy and use RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) Server from a cybersecurity and privacy perspective. Adhering to these guidelines will ensure that our organization remains resilient against cyber threats and maintains data privacy.

  1. Patch Management:
    • Regularly update the RHEL server to the latest stable version, including the kernel, packages, and applications.
    • Implement a patch management process to ensure that critical security patches are applied promptly.
    • Configure the RHEL server to automatically apply security updates or use a centralized patch management solution.
  2. User Access Control:
    • Create separate user accounts with unique passwords for each employee requiring access to the server.
    • Limit root access and utilize the sudo command for administrative tasks.
    • Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) for remote access and sensitive operations.
    • Regularly review and revoke unnecessary access privileges.
  3. Network Security:
    • Configure the RHEL server firewall (firewalld) to allow only required ports and services.
    • Disable or remove unnecessary services, protocols, and network interfaces.
    • Implement network segmentation and isolate the RHEL server within a secure, monitored network segment.
    • Enable encryption for data in transit using protocols such as SSH, HTTPS, and TLS.
  4. File System Security:
    • Partition the file system to separate critical components and limit the potential impact of a compromise.
    • Implement strict permissions on sensitive files and directories, following the principle of least privilege.
    • Enable and configure SELinux for added security and access control enforcement.
    • Regularly monitor file system changes and utilize tools such as auditd for auditing and intrusion detection.
  5. Secure Configuration and Hardening:
    • Follow the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Security Guide to secure and harden the server configuration.
    • Disable and remove unused or unnecessary packages, services, and daemons.
    • Enable and configure system auditing using auditd.
    • Implement secure logging and log management to ensure the integrity and availability of logs.
  6. Data Security and Privacy:
    • Encrypt sensitive data at rest using technologies such as LUKS (Linux Unified Key Setup) and dm-crypt.
    • Use strong, unique passwords and store them securely using a password manager.
    • Regularly review data retention policies and securely delete data that is no longer required.
    • Implement data backup and recovery procedures to ensure data availability in case of a disaster.
  7. Monitoring and Incident Response:
    • Implement a centralized monitoring and logging solution to detect and respond to potential security incidents.
    • Regularly review logs for signs of malicious activity or unauthorized access.
    • Define and document incident response procedures, including escalation paths and communication channels.
    • Train employees on incident response procedures and conduct regular drills to ensure preparedness.

By adhering to this hardening guideline, employees can deploy and use RHEL Server securely and effectively. By taking the necessary precautions, we will maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our organization’s data and systems, while minimizing the risk of cyber threats and privacy breaches.

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