Red Hat White Paper

Red Hat Enterprise Linux appeals to people who prefer a cost
effective, safe, and stable operating system.
The main appeal that is Linux is designed for an open source (freely
available) vs. a closed source (proprietary software) operating system. However,
all operating systems are in danger of being hacked. Even so, in 2004,
Microsoft security flaws were at a 38% critical status while 10% of Red Hat
security flaws were critical status.  
The
main theme of this paper is that the Linux design ensures security better than
Windows.
The benefits of Red Hat Enterprise
Linux include:
·
Red
Hat Enterprise Linux provides
95% to 140% advantage over Windows
for performance of real-world enterprise workloads.

Red
Hat Enterprise Linux supports 4096 processors while Windows Server 2012
supports only 64 processors.

Red Hat supports more RAM than Windows

Linux can run in server farms.
·
Red Hat includes mandatory access
control with SELinux and sVirt which means that it has an extra layer of
security originally in UNIX .
·
Red
Hat Enterprise Linux virtualization can perform as well or better than bare
metal (Cloud Infrastructure firmware).
·
   The Kernel Virtual Machine permits Linux to
be a Type 1 bare metal hypervisor from the kernel which creates stability and
security inside the virtual machine.
·
The
sVirt integrates with a virtualization management abstraction layer called
libvirt to deliver a MAC-like agenda for virtual machines. This architecture
permits all virtualization platforms preserved by libvirt and all MAC
employments maintained by sVirt to operate together.
The
recommendations for Red Hat Enterprise Linux are as follows:
·
I recommend Scientific Linux which is a
free Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone download that has NTFS-3g for Windows NTFS
drivers and RPM Fusion. It can be used like a RHEL web server, because it is a
clone after all.
·
VMware, vSphere, or KVM are recommended
for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, because both are enterprise –grade virtual
machines. I strongly recommend KVM virtualization, because it is much more
efficient with time and allows the user to perform tasks faster rate with 4096
processors.  The time management improvement
when the operating system in the VM is hacked and has SELinux and sVirt
integration, you can delete the VM right away and you can use the backup copy
immediately. 
Cyber
threats
    One type
of terrorism is cyber warfare attack which endangers America’s financial and
national security.  One example of a
serious cyber threat is China or Russia hacking into our power grid and leaving
a logic bomb causing a situation similar to the Northeast Blackout of 2003. The
Northeast Blackout of 2003 was caused by UNIX kernel panic which caused the
affected operating system to crash. A logic bomb is a malicious code that waits
for a sequence of events which causes the kernel panic.  It’s evident that cyber warfare is an
effective power tool for any government to use against an ally or enemy that
threaten communications systems and/or a deactivates national infrastructure. (
Schneier , B., 2013)
Better security
     The
commercial infrastructure frequently undervalues the occurrence and possibility
of breaches, with numerous groups reluctant to depict the amount of the data
loss. Executives are always on the lookout for breaches. Cyber attacks pose a
substantial menace to cherished commercial data as well as legal and
promotional problems that can touch customer assurance and maintenance.
Security at all levels is compulsory, from developers reducing the possibility
for danger in their submissions, to system administrators logging, monitoring
access, and limiting and keeping systems current. Like Windows, Linux has
security like access control lists, ciphertext, Kerberos, MD5 encryption , SHA2
hash algorithm, root password and privileged ports. Red Hat Enterprise Linux
delivers satisfactory application support so that deployment security is
consistent, reliable, and feasible. Today, IT establishments use a variety of
approaches to secure enterprise infrastructure, such as isolating environments
with deploying firewalls, virtualization, performance deep packet inspection
and executing untested code called
sandboxing. (Redhat, 2013)
Privileges
      Linux
security is more ideal, because users don’t have the same “root” privileges as
Windows. Windows users can choose to have an administrator account, but with Linux
users, only administrators can have root privileges (superuser). Most Linux
users do not have access to the root account meaning that they cannot do damage
to their Linux.  (
Noyes, K., 2010)
Social engineering
     Social
engineering, such as viruses and worms, is a method that cyber attackers use to
entrap the user to do damage to their system unknowingly. The malicious code
can be easily spread when users open attachments that carry worms and
viruses.  Windows is more prone to social
engineering than Linux, because malicious codes cannot be executed on Linux
since the root account is locked out to all users, except for administrators.
The advantage here is that only administrators have the root access, thus
preventing damage to a Linux system.    (
Noyes, K., 2010)
Monoculture effect
     Windows
has a monoculture effect meaning both viruses and Windows users have the same
technology.  Microsoft Windows dominates
most of the email such as Outlook and Outlook Express.  Conversely, Linux has a generic diversity
which minimizes effect of viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. (
Noyes, K., 2010)
Audience size
     Most
viruses target Windows by virtue of its large audience.  The fact that millions of people are using
Windows makes it an attractive target for attacks.  (
Noyes, K.,
2010)

 

Windows in
Organizations

Windows 7, 8 and Windows Server 2012 are the chosen operating system of
many organizations.  It is dangerous to
have a ten year old Windows XP, because its vunerable to hacking. Even with
Windows emulation with Crossover Linux (wine front-end) compatibility,
organizations are reluctant to make a switch to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
clones, because Linux isn’t marketed to business.
Security takes
a back seat to application compatibility in the Cyber Cold War era. (
Noyes, K., 2010)
Linus Benedict Torvalds
Law
     Linus law
says, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”. (
Noyes, K., 2010)  Consequently, Windows users only have a
limited set of paid developers (less eyeballs) who work to find problems in
code. Only after a solution is found, does it get publicized.  Linux would have countless users viewing the
code at any time, making it more likely that someone would identify a flaw, and
fix it immediately for everybody’s usage.
(
Noyes, K., 2010)
Virtual Machines


Applying virtual machines to Linux enhances security and ensures process
availability.  There are three key
features of a virtual machine. First, each virtual machine is isolated from
each other. If there is a kernel panic on one virtual machine, other virtual
machines are not affected. Second, the hypervisor is situated in-between the
server hardware and the software stack.
This means legacy applications are using the latest hardware technology
even though the operating system doesn’t support the necessary drivers in the
virtual machine.  (Archive.org, 2013)



Kernel Virtual Machine
       The
above chart shows how Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is based off KVM.  First, KVMs were designed from some hardware
assisted virtualization.  KVM was
designed into an optimized hypervisor solution of baggage. The KVM in Linux can
use the entire hardware vendor ecosystem.
KVM can store VM images into every storage supported by Linux such as
SATA, SCSI, network attached storage and SAMBA or SAN or iSCSI.  It has a virtualization manager that has
advanced capabilities for guests and hosts like high availability migration,
and system scheduler. Also, there is a reporting engine that has a documented
database schema and sample reports so that Red Hat Virtualization Manager can
extract information.  Red Hat can
prioritize high availability of critical virtual machines so that ranking can
take place so mission critical applications may be a priority on remaining
hardware whilst other virtual machines are reduced at the same time. Red Hat
virtualization manager can track live migration for movement of running virtual
machines from one host to the next host without a performance hit. Red Hat
Virtualization manager has a search driven interface that can tag for searching
virtual machines for host characteristics. (archive.org, 2013)



VMware
      The
above charts show that VMWare vSphere can improve the deployment of
infrastructures.  The  vCenter has fast provisioning by replication
of virtual machines. vCenter has load-balancing,  live migration of virtual machines,  high availability for virtual machines,  and has an automated patch management for
hypervisor.  The purpose of vCenter is to
use a VMware vSphere farm which has more services in less physical servers.
Both virtual machines play the identical set of events.  The virtual machines check each other’s heart
beat and take over if VMs miss heart beats. vSphere has its individual virtual
switch, because administrators tend to prefer physical networks. At a
datacenter level, disputed switches span numerous vSpheres hosts and aggregate
networking. The switch abstraction configuration of individual virtual switches
and enables centralized administration. There is a VMware Site Recovery Manager
to restart virtualized ICT infrastructure in a backup center when a main
datacenter fails.  The Site Recovery
Manager is rapid, reliable, affordable, and manageable. VMware is 64% of the
market while Microsoft virtualization is 27% as seen in the chart below.  (archive.org, 2013)
Traditional x86 security approaches
       The
hardware layer is set to different devices and computes resources.  The OS layer would need control of the
hardware operation. The OS layer is responsible for prioritizing the hardware
resources and sharing them among the different tasks.  The services layer would use the OS as an
interface to access required hardware resources.  The hypervisor will allow underutilized
servers to become utilized servers by producing independence amid hardware and
software layers. The application has the ability to run in numerous dissimilar
development and test systems. The protection is where the administrator has a
low-cost storage area network.
Deployment is where virtualization reduces administrative effort and
increases deployment speed.
(archive.org, 2013)
Six layers of VES
      There
are six features that VES or server consolidation uses to host aging
applications or operating systems on modern hardware, for application isolation
and security.  The six layers of VES are
virtual access software, virtual application environment software, virtual
processing software, virtual storage software, server provisioning, and
management software and security software. Virtual access software will allow
applications to be accessed from almost any intelligent access point device
over any network without applications ever having to be architected for
supporting that device or network.  There
is virtual user interface software or various types of portal software.  Second, virtual application environment
software creates an application and deployment environment which would develop
applications so they are more reliable and robust and unaware of the underlying
hardware or operating environment.
Third, virtual processing software appears on main systems such as
operating environment, single-system image clustering software making many
systems appear to be a single computing resource running a single operating
environment.  This would include load
balance software, data and application availability software, single system
image clustering, and parallel processing software.  Fourth, virtual storage software tolerates
applications unaware of how and where application and data are stored including
storage replication and file systems.
The software supports network attached storage and storage area networks.
Fifth, the security provisioning and management software allows administrators
and operators to manage, operate and load environment categories. This is an
example of module of on-demand or adaptive environment methods to application
deployment.  Sixth, the security software
is decomposed into components, access control and identify management are much
more significant.  Without strong
security, black hats could destroy the distributed architecture and commander
application components or resolves to an organization’s disadvantage. (
Gillen, A., 2006)
SELinux
       By leveraging the trust of minimum
privilege and over the organization of a security policy on the system, SELinux
stops the negotiation of a whole system due to the negotiation of a single
program running which would then be raised privileges. The second benefit is
that SELinux defends the privacy and truthfulness of data. By eliminating
preference from users over which way data may be operated, delicate data can be
limited from inadvertent, deletion, modification or sharing when
security-relevant access is taking place or when procedure struggles to open a
file and caught in the kernel by SELinux. (
Runge, C.,
2013) (redhat.com, 2013)
      With respect to the kernel, SELinux adds
a security attendant comprehending the security policy. SELinux’s detached
implementation mechanism receives and smears the policy decision. The
enforcement mechanism and policy are autonomous; policy changes do not
necessitate variations to the implementation device. SELinux modifies numerous
user- space components for distinguishing and treating policy development, role
changes, security contexts, and other tasks vital for performing mandatory
access control on the system. SELinux has contents, object classes, labels,
policy rules, interfaces, and attributes. (
Runge, C.,
2013) (redhat.com, 2013)
Discretionary Access Controls (DAC)
       Most
Linux and UNIX-based operating systems practice an access control tool known as
Discretionary Access Control (DAC). Under a DAC scheme, directories and files
on the system are labeled resolving a set of permissions on behalf of which
group and user the file is proper to and what that user, group, or others
interact with the object, such as reading, writing, or executing. This
comparatively simple yet mainly influential scheme permits multiple users and
programs to harmonize on the same system, the permissions are properly set,
ensures that users have control over their objects but no others. By exploiting
a program, such as a daemon (Nagios Core) that scores with filled root
permissions, the user can use that database as an introduction pad for his/her
preferred malicious actions on the system. (
Runge, C.,
2013) (redhat.com, 2013)
Mandatory Access Control (MAC)
      Mandatory access control removes security
decisions from of the user. While users and groups may still own files and
directories on the system, permission is eventually administrated by a security
policy, that labels which users and programs can contact which objects on the
system. This security policy is required over all procedures and objects on the
hardware. First, the trusted operating systems that delivered mandatory access
control had mostly distinct offerings from their normal counterparts. The
inadequate audience is consisting of intelligence and military applications;
these important systems had recognized less prominence from operating system
vendors and third-party vendors alike. (
Runge, C.,
2013) (redhat.com, 2013)
Multi-Level Security (MLS)

Multi-level security has a specific mandatory access control model that
has confidentiality.  Traditionally, a
physical separation of a dedicated system would split up among Top Secret,
classified, and confidential. The multi-level security is dynamically enabled to
have multi-category security which has added a discretionary labeling
scheme.  (
Runge,
C., 2013)
Svirt
       It is
important to know that sVirt repeatedly manages the virtual machine process
security boundary, shielding the hypervisor, host, and other virtual machines
from hacking.  An example would be each
virtual machine has a process; labeled by SELinux, successfully forming a
security limit around every virtual machine. The sVirt extends the SELinux
classification scheme to VMs; thereby, leveraging the established SELinux
capabilities and as well as providing extra significant benefits for security
administration.
Each system resource such as counting
data files, devices, and processes labeled by a type that entitles its security
sVirt dynamically labels the VM procedures have policy recognized on the VM
file images. As a result, the VM technique cannot contact possessions separate
of the VM. These VM process labels are applied mechanically and vigorously,
stopping the administrative problem of manually labeling resources and building
the entire security solution to be policy-driven-based. (
redhat.com, 2013)
Benefits
    Some of
sVirt’s benefits are that it has proven security on virtual environment and was
co-developed by the National Security Agency.
There is protection of network resources, data files, memory, and
applications.  There is protection against
virus attacks across virtual machines. The sVirt has integration with SELinux protects
of virtual machine resources running a Linux guest.  There is a policy driven security with low
administration liability.  (
redhat.com, 2013)
Hypervisor security threats

Hypervisor security threats are when a compromised application is
running on a virtual machine and attacks KVM so that it may access
resources.  This can include devices within
the physical machine, applications, or host operating system.  This threat is a threat vector unique in
virtualization and represents a risk that the fundamental real machine would be
compromised when there are sole virtual application weaknesses. (
redhat.com, 2013)
VM Security threats
      This is
when there is a compromised application running in a VM which attacks a
hypervisor to control another VM.  This
is unique to virtualization and represents risk as a multitude of VMs images
are compromised with viruses due to vulnerability.  (
redhat.com,
2013)
Conclusion
       An age
of multi-computer households permits Linux to be an enormous savings over
Windows.  Linux has all the software
repositories in one place so the administrator doesn’t have to search the web
for programs which are missing and the repositories come without a malicious
code and Windows does not.  Most drivers
are a part of the Linux kernel whereas Windows supports very little hardware
and requires manufacture driver downloads.
Linux is more secure than Windows, because the firewall (iptables) is
apart from the Linux kernel.  Malware is
not seen in Linux, because software is installed directly from the Red Hat
repositories.   (
Bothwick, N., 2010)
References
Bothwick, N. (2010, December 4). 20 reasons you should switch to
Linux. Retrieved from Techradar website:
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/operating-systems/20-reasons-you-should-switch-to-linux-912294
I discuss security of Linux in my white paper, and this a relevant
source, because it also discusses security of Linux. The relevance of this
source is it comes from United Kingdom’s Linux Format magazine. A strength of
this source is that the article has a list format. A weakness of this source is
that there are more than twenty reasons Linux is better than Windows, but are
not listed in the source. A goal would be naming some headlines from the list
of this website in my white paper, because Linux Format is legitimate.
Gillen, A. (2006). Red Hat
Virtualization: Meeting the challenges of optimization
. Retrieved August
21, 2013, from Red Hat website:
http://www.redhat.com/f/pdf/virtualization/idc_200791.pdf
This source provides a brief history of virtualization. It is
relevant, because it has the virtual access software listed. The strength of
this source is that it describes the six layers of VES for Red Hat Enterprise
Linux. A weakness is that was published in 2006, and there is no updated
revision. The source will help explain the six layers of virtual environment
software in virtual access software.
Noyes, K. (2010, August 3). Why linux is more secure than windows.
Retrieved from PCWorld website: http://www.pcworld.com/article/202452/why_linux_is_more_secure_than_windows.html
I discuss security of Linux in my white paper, and this a relevant
resource, because it also discusses security of Linux. A strength in this
resource is the author holds a Master’s Degree in Management Information
Systems and writes for the Linux Foundation. The weaknesses of this resource
are that I disagree with key factor #5, Linus law, as stated in the article due
to freezing. I believe this article is a great summary of key factors of Linux
security, and these key factors are going to be included with my white paper.
The source is relevant to my white paper, because it discusses
SELinux. The source talks about Access Control Mechanisms, Security Enhanced
Linux itself, and SELinux architecture and design. The strength of this source
is that it tells you where to deploy SELinux, and discusses recent additions to
SELinux capabilities. A weakness of this source is that it does not show the
limitations of SELinux and Mandatory Access Control. One of the goals of my
white paper is to explain Mandatory Access Control (MAC) as well as Multi-level
security (MLS) in SELinux, which are also covered in this article.
Schneier, B. (2013, June 21). US Offensive Cyberwar Policy [Blog
post]. Retrieved from Schneier on Security website:
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/06/us_offensive_cy.html
This source is relevant with the cyber cold war with China,
Russia, and old cold war enemies. This source discusses disrupting
communications systems, and disabling national infrastructure like a power
grid. The strength is it mentions the threat from China and Russia, because
these countries do the most hacking. The weakness is that it doesn’t mention
Red Hat Enterprise Linux. One of the goals is to focus on the cyber warfare from
different countries.
This source is relevant, because it includes a brief history of
secure virtualization with sVirt and provides industry knowledge on
virtualization. A strength of the source is that it discusses powerful policy
driven safety with low administration load. The weakness is that this source
does not discuss the implementation of sVirt in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This
source will help me discuss sVirt and how it relates to SELinux in my paper.
This resource is a manual for virtualized environments found on
the Red Hat website. Since this article discusses how checking is an allowed
operation once standard discretionary access controls are checked, it is
relevant to my white paper, because I am talking about mandatory access
control. A strength is Red Hat’s credibility, since Red Hat is credible their
manuals should be credible. A weakness is that the manual was short and only
had a dictionary description of the topic; therefore, this does not promote
adequate information for the user. The manual is going to help me with proper
definitions.
The source is relevant to my white paper, because it covers the
roots of SELinux such as multi-level security (MLS), discretionary access
control (DAC) and mandatory access controls (MAC). Since my paper talks about
these controls, this resource will be valuable. The strength of this source is
that it is a white paper, so it provides me with more knowledge on how to write
my final paper. One weakness of the source is that the audience is for
programmers, and may not be as well understood by non-programmers. The goal of
using this resource is to help discuss SELinux’s MAC and DAC in my paper.
Sobell, M. G. (2012). A
practical guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux
(6th ed.). Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
This source deals with virtual machines including XEN, VMware, and
KVM. This is relevant, because my white paper discusses VMware and KVM. A
strength that this resource has is that it is a published book, and this only
legitimatizes its credibility. A weakness is that the book has a 2012
copyright, and the information can be outdated even if it is only a year old. I
will use the security knowledge from this book for my white paper since I will
be discussing targeted, multilevel, and strict security.
Virtualization at
Fujitsu
. (2013). Retrieved from Archive.org
website: https://archive.org/download/WpVirtualization/wp-virtualization.pdf
This source explains what virtualization is. I discuss a lot about
virtualization in my white paper; therefore, this is relevant. This paper
discusses the best known technologies including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and
this is a strength, because my paper is about Red Hat. The weakness is that
Fuijitsu is from Japan; therefore, I cannot use some of the Fujistu-centric
terminology, because it is proprietary to that company. Since one of the goals
in my white paper is to discuss virtualization, this should be an informative
resource.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s