Linux has earned a reputation of being the most secure operating system, but despite this, it still has its own security flaws.
Deploying a secure operating system is an important starting point for every business, but even the most secure networks can be invaded. Similarly to the myth of the invulnerable Mac, there is a misconception that Linux OS is completely secure – but in fact, we have to admit that no operating system is fully immune to security threats.
Linux has gained more popularity among users over the past few years, as well as more attention from attackers. Although the open-source software operating system is known to be secure by design, as its adoption continues to soar, there is an increased risk for both external and internal threats. Most Linux distros come with some advanced security tools, but security incidents have proved that these are not enough anymore to prevent data breaches.
Linux Security Concerns
Latest Linux vulnerabilities include “Dirty Sock“, an exploit discovered by Chris Moberly, a security researcher, that affected primarily Ubuntu and that could have been used to gain total access and control to a target system. Last year Gentoo, a popular distribution of Linux, had its GitHub repository hacked. This incident was a reminder of how hard it is to keep everything secure in a cloud-centric world, where multiple people have access to information, multiple repositories deal with traffic, and where a growing number of attackers with a various range of motivations want to get access to digital data.
Besides external threats, internal ones are both common and extremely harmful, regardless of the used operating system. For organisations, it is crucial to make a difference between the security of an operating system and the security of the data created, which is edited and handled by people and saved on the operating system. Human error and insider threats are some of the main reasons for data loss and data theft, which can and do still occur even in a “secure” environment.
For years, Linux was primarily used by smaller, more tech-centric groups, but nowadays a number of sectors – including education, government, nuclear and aviation are extensively relying on it. It is also worth keeping in mind that, with the rise of BYOD, more and more companies have mixed OS networks that include machines running on Linux and either Windows or macOS (and sometimes even on all three operating systems).
Boosting Security with Data Loss Prevention
As data security has been a hot topic for years and new privacy regulations proliferate, organizations using Linux operating systems and those having multi-platform environments can enhance their security with Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions, thus safeguarding both sensitive data and intellectual property.
Controlling Data in Transit and at Rest
With a DLP product, organizations can gain control of who can access sensitive data through safeguarding endpoints, gateways and cloud services, thus protecting it from malicious threats that attempt to compromise data integrity. Portable storage devices such as USB flash drives, smartphones, tablets, and cloud services like Skype, Dropbox or Google Drive may put companies’ sensitive data at high risk; therefore it is critical to control data use within and outside the company.
Although the number of Linux vulnerabilities is growing, the number of available security solutions is limited. Cross-platform solutions, such as Endpoint Protector, help secure sensitive data and prevent data loss, data leaks or data theft on the entire network of an organization whether it is Windows, macOS or Linux based. It also provides Content-Aware Data Loss Prevention, Device Control and eDiscovery for various Linux versions and distributions.
A DLP solution can help organizations using Linux to manage the portable devices connected to the computers and to monitor all transfers of data to authorized devices. Thus they can prevent users from taking unauthorized data outside the company or bringing potential harmful files on storage devices.
Another important feature of DLP products is data discovery, which helps businesses to identify and locate sensitive data in order to properly protect it or securely remove it. It can minimize both internal and external attack vectors: unauthorized employees storing sensitive data on their computers and outsiders who manage to bypass the network defense and try to get access to the company’s records.
Safeguarding Sensitive Data and Intellectual Property
The best DLP solutions on the market can give organisations using Linux OS detailed control over sensitive data leaving the company’s network through efficient content inspection. Therefore it is possible to safeguard not only sensitive data, like name, phone number or bank account but also intellectual property, such as software source code or Rich Media Content.
Endpoint Protector makes it possible to block the transmission of files depending on the file type; filters can be created based on predefined content, thus blocking the transmission of the selected sensitive data.