Unix Security Essay

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An Overview of UNIX Security

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the security of UNIX. Considerations shall be given regarding generalized security aspects of a typical UNIX system. The ultimate scope of the following presentation shall remain within the boundaries of a few of the more critical UNIX security aspects. Of particular note will be discussion regarding standard user access, root access, file system security, and internet access precautions. This will not focus on specific measures used to implement security, but rather will investigate both pros and cons typical of a UNIX installation. Finally, a brief description of UNIX security versus other operating systems will be noted. Since no two UNIX-based operating
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Of the utmost security concern is the protection of the root account. The root account allows a user absolute control of the system, including the ability to alter practically every aspect of the systems, from individual files to installed programs. Indeed, an entry in Wikipedia.com notes, that a UNIX administrator should be much like Clark Kent, only using the root account, or becoming Superman, when absolutely necessary, lest the security of the account be compromised (2006). Ultimately, this implementation represents a near surefire way to protect the system against many internal and external threats. By ensuring regularly scheduled root account password changes and ensuring the passwords are strong, the cons noted previously should be relatively easy to avoid. File system security is also very important regardless of the UNIX implementation. UNIX files system security generally allows access permissions to be granted to various defined users and groups. UNIX also contains an access right flag know as the "sticky bit". The sticky bit can be used to allow users and groups write access to certain directories within the system. Similarly, the sticky bit can be used by a user to disallow other users with access to the same directory to alter the contents of the file. The file can only be altered by the file owner, the directory owner, and the root account (linuxdevcenter.com, 2006). This particular element allows for a great deal of control

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