The Center for Internet Security (CIS), a coalition of internet user groups, yesterday released the first set of minimum security standards for operating systems.
Starting off with specs for Solaris, the user group plans to introduce similar standards for Windows, as well as for Linux and other Unix systems.
The group said that the definition of minimum security standards is an attempt to encourage vendors to ship more secure operating systems. Solaris was selected as the starting model because it is so often used as a critical part of the infrastructure in financial, military and ecommerce systems.
As part of the drive, CIS has released a software program for Solaris that checks a system's configuration and issues a score and report on whether the network reflects "a prudent level of due care".
CIS reckons that no organisation is safe from denial of service attacks and other methods of breaking a system, as long as networks are hooked up to the internet.
The problem is compounded by vendors shipping computers and software with many unnecessary and vulnerable services activated. For these reasons a minimum security configuration standard must be introduced, said the group.
The benchmarking software is constantly updated through CIS' close relations with other security groups such as the Internet Storm Center and the Computer Emergency Response Team. The organisation boasts more than 170 members including such names as Visa, Lucent, the Security Certification Consortium and The SANS Institute.
On the horizon are benchmarks for other operating systems, including Windows NT and 2000, Linux, HP-UX and AIX.
The benchmarking software for Solaris can be found here.
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