Exam Preparation Tasks
Review Key Topics
Review the most important topics in the chapter, noted with the Key Topic icon in the outer margin of the page. Table 3-2 lists a reference of these key topics and the page number on which each is found.
Table 3-2. Key Topics for Chapter 3
Key Topic Element
Services Window in Windows XP
Telnet Properties Dialog Box
Stopping services in Linux
Figures 3-4 and 3-5 and Note
Identifying the SP level
Latest Microsoft Service Packs
systeminfo Command in Windows Vista
Patch management four steps
Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 7
Import Policy from Window in Windows Server 2003
Keeping a well-maintained computer
Virtual PC Console
Complete Tables and Lists from Memory
Print a copy of Appendix A, “Memory Tables,” (found on the DVD), or at least the section for this chapter, and complete the tables and lists from memory. Appendix B, “Memory Tables Answer Key,” also on the DVD, includes completed tables and lists to check your work.
Define Key Terms
Define the following key terms from this chapter, and check your answers in the glossary:
hardening service pack (SP) hotfix patch patch management group policy security template baselining virtualization virtual machine hypervisor
Complete the following written step-by-step scenarios. After you finish (or if you do not have adequate equipment to complete the scenario), watch the corresponding video solutions on the DVD.
If you have additional questions, feel free to ask them at my website: www.davidlprowse.com
- Computer with Internet access.
- Web browser: Internet Explorer version 6 and higher or Firefox are recommended.
- Virtual PC 2007: This can be downloaded at the following link: www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=04d26402-3199-48a3-afa2-2dc0b40a73b6&displaylang=en
Lab 3-1: Discerning and Updating the Service Pack Level
In this lab, you observe the service pack currently used on a Windows Vista computer and show where to go to update the SP to the latest version. The steps are as follows:
Step 1. Access Windows Vista (other Windows OSs such as Windows 7 will be similar in appearance and in navigation).
Step 2. View the SP level:
- Click Start.
- Right-click Computer and select Properties. This brings up the System window. F rom here, you can see the SP level in the Windows edition section.
Step 3. Access Windows Update:
- Click Start.
- Click All Programs.
- Click Windows Update.
Step 4. Modify Windows Update:
- Click the View Advanced Options link.
- Select the Check for Updates but Let Me Choose Whether to Download Them or Install Them radio button.
- Click OK.
Step 5. Locate Windows Vista Service Pack 2 at http://support.microsoft.com.
You can find information about Windows Vista SP2 at the following link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948465
Watch the video solution on the DVD.
Lab 3-2: Creating a Virtual Machine in Virtual PC 2007
In this lab, you learn how to create a basic virtual machine (VM) in Virtual PC 2007. The steps are as follows:
Step 1. Download the Virtual PC 2007 application. It is a free download available at the following link:
You can also search the phrase virtual PC 2007 download.
Step 2. Install Virtual PC 2007. Install the program with the default settings unless you want to modify them.
Step 3. Run Virtual PC 2007 by navigating to Start > All Programs > Microsoft Virtual PC. This displays the Virtual PC Console.
Step 4. Create a new virtual machine:
- Click the New button.
- Click Next for the wizard.
- Select Create a virtual machine radio button and click Next.
- Type a name for the virtual machine. Try to keep the name close to the name of the OS you plan to install. For example, if you install Windows Vista, type Windows Vista. Virtual PC can recognize these names. Keep in mind that you do not have to install an OS; this lab is simply to show how to create the virtual machine. This virtual machine will be available to you to use later on if you want, and you can load any OS that you want into the VM.
- Select where you want to save the virtual machine by clicking the Browse button, or simply leave the default. Then click Next.
- Select the OS you want to install from the drop-down menu. If you are not planning on installing an OS, select Other. Then click Next.
- Select the amount of RAM you want the VM to use. You can increase the default by clicking the Adjusting the RAM radio button. As a rule of thumb it is recommended that you use no more than half the physical RAM on your system for a single VM. Then click Next.
- Select the A New Virtual Hard Disk radio button, and select where you want to save the virtual hard disk (.vhd file). Then click Next.
- Review the summary and click Finish.
The new VM should now be listed in the Virtual PC Console.
Step 5. Run the VM:
- Highlight the new VM.
- Click Start.
Step 6. (Optional) Install an OS. Be sure to select CD from the menu bar and click Use Physical Drive. This way, the VM can use the physical CD-ROM drive.
Step 7. Save the VM:
- Click Action on the menu bar.
- Select Close.
- From the drop-down menu in the Close dialog box, select Save State and click OK.
Step 8. Modify the VM settings:
- Highlight the new VM.
- Click the Settings button.
- Click OK for the pop-up note.
- Examine the various settings for each device within the VM. Note that you cannot make changes to some of the settings when the VM is in a saved state. To modify these, you need to turn off the VM either within Virtual PC or by shutting down the OS normally.
Watch the video solution on the DVD.
Lab 3-3: Securing a Virtual Machine
In this lab, you secure a virtual machine (VM) in Virtual PC 2007. This lab assumes that you have already downloaded and installed Virtual PC 2007, created a virtual machine, and installed an OS. This lab refers to Windows 7 Ultimate.
The steps are as follows:
Step 1. Start Virtual PC 2007 and check its SP level.
- Access the Control Panel and find your list of installed programs. For example, in Windows 7 the path to this is Control Panel > Programs > Programs & Features.
- If it says “Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1,” you can continue to Step 2. If it does not say “SP1” on the end, then continue to Step 1C.
- Upgrade to the latest SP from the following link: www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=24439
Step 2. Set security options in the Virtual PC console.
- Click File > Options; this opens the Virtual PC Options window.
- Select Security.
- Select all four administrative permissions checkboxes.
- Click OK for the Virtual PC Options window.
Step 3. Disable unnecessary hardware within the Virtual PC console for the VM in question. For example, the sound card, COM ports, LPT ports, and floppy disks.
- Click Action > Settings (or simply highlight the VM and click the Settings button). This opens the Settings for %virtual machine% window where virtual machine is whatever VM you select.
- Click Sound. Deselect the Enable sound card checkbox.
- Disable any other unnecessary devices such as COM1, LPT1, and so on, if they are enabled and you do not need them.
- Click OK to close the window.
Step 4. Start the virtual machine and secure the virtual BIOS.
- Press DEL immediately after starting the VM. This should display the BIOS Setup Utility screen.
Set the hard drive to first in the boot order:
- Press the right arrow key to navigate to the Boot menu. With the Boot Device Priority option highlighted press Enter.
- Modify the list so that the Hard Drive is listed first. Use the legend on the right to figure out which keys to use.
- Press Esc to return to the main menu.
Disable removable media devices such as the floppy drive:
- Select the Advanced menu.
- Select Floppy configuration.
- Disable Floppy A.
- Press Esc to return to the main menu.
- Select the Security menu.
- Configure a Supervisor password.
- Press F10 to save your settings and exit. This reboots the VM into the OS.
Step 5. Start the virtual machine and check the SP level of the OS.
- Click Start. Then right-click Computer. This brings up the System window. If no service pack is listed, then none is installed.
- Install the latest SP for the OS in question.
Step 6. Disable unnecessary hardware within the VM OS, such as optical drives or USB devices.
- Click Start. Then right-click Computer and select Manage. This displays the Computer Management window.
- Click Device Manager.
- Locate the optical drive, right-click it, and select Disable. For some devices you might have to restart the OS.
Step 7. Remove any network sharing connections between the VM and the physical host.
Look for shared folders on the VM:
- While in the Computer Management window click Shared Folders > Shares.
- Remove any unnecessary shares by right-clicking them and selecting Stop Sharing. However, leave the ADMIN$, C$, and IPC$ shares alone.
- While in this window click on Sessions to see whether the computer has any unwanted outbound sessions to other computers.
- Close the Computer Management window.
- Look for mapped network drives in Windows Explorer and disconnect them by right-clicking the drive and selecting Disconnect.
Step 8. Exit the VM and secure the folder on the host OS that contains the VM files.
Set permissions on the folder:
- Right-click the folder and select Properties.
- Click the Security tab and modify permissions as you see fit. The fewer permissions the better!
- Verify that the folder is not shared by accessing the Sharing tab.
- Remain in the Properties window for the folder.
Encrypt and/or Digitally sign the VM folder:
- Click the General tab; then click the Advanced button.
- Select the checkbox that says Encrypt contents to secure data.
- Close the Properties window.
- Consider other encryption (or FDE) and digital signing methods from organizations such as PGP and TrueCrypt.
Watch the video solution on the DVD.
View Recommended Resources
For readers who want to brush up on their CompTIA A+ topics:
Prowse, David L. CompTIA A+ Exam Cram, Fifth Edition. Que Publishing. 2011.
Virtualization software links:
- Microsoft Virtual PC: www.microsoft.com/downlOAds/details.aspx?familyid=04D26402-3199-48A3-AFA2-2DC0B40A73B6&displaylang=en
- Windows XP Mode: www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx
- Virtual Server 2005: www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/
- VMware: www.vmware.com/
- Securing Hyper-V: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd569113.aspx
- Securing VMware: www.vmware.com/technical-resources/security/index.html
Answer Review Questions
Answer the following review questions. You can find the answers at the end of this chapter.
Virtualization technology is often implemented as operating systems and applications that run in software. Often, it is implemented as a virtual machine. Of the following, which can be a security benefit when using virtualization?
- Patching a computer will patch all virtual machines running on the computer.
- If one virtual machine is compromised, none of the other virtual machines can be compromised.
- If a virtual machine is compromised, the adverse effects can be compartmentalized.
- Virtual machines cannot be affected by hacking techniques.
Eric wants to install an isolated operating system. What is the best tool to use?
Where would you turn off file sharing in Windows Vista?
- Control Panel
- Local Area Connection
- Network and Sharing Center
- Firewall properties
Which option enables you to hide ntldr?
- Enable Hide Protected Operating System Files
- Disable Show Hidden Files and Folders
- Disable Hide Protected operating system Files
- Remove the -R Attribute
Which of the following should be implemented to harden an operating system? (Select the two best answers.)
- Install the latest service pack.
- Install Windows Defender.
- Install a virtual operating system.
- Execute PHP scripts.
In Windows 7, Vista, and XP, what is the best file system to use?
A customer’s computer uses FAT16 as its file system. What file system can you upgrade it to when using the convert command?
Which of the following is not an advantage of NTFS over FAT32?
- NTFS supports file encryption.
- NTFS supports larger file sizes.
- NTFS supports larger volumes.
- NTFS supports more file formats.
What is the deadliest risk of a virtual computer?
- If a virtual computer fails, all other virtual computers immediately go offline.
- If a virtual computer fails, the physical server goes offline.
- If the physical server fails, all other physical servers immediately go offline.
- If the physical server fails, all the virtual computers immediately go offline.
Virtualized browsers can protect the OS that they are installed within from which of the following?
- DDoS attacks against the underlying OS
- Phishing and spam attacks
- Man-in-the-middle attacks
- Malware installation from Internet websites
Which of the following needs to be backed up on a domain controller to recover Active Directory?
- User data
- System files
- Operating system
- System state
Which of the following should you implement to fix a single security issue on the computer?
- Service pack
- Support website
An administrator wants to reduce the size of the attack surface of Windows server 2008. Which of the following is the best answer to accomplish this?
- Update antivirus software.
- Install service packs.
- Disable unnecessary services.
- Install network intrusion detection systems.
You finished installing the operating system for a home user. What are three good methods to implement to secure that operating system? (Select the three best answers.)
- Install the latest service pack.
- Install a hardware- or software-based firewall.
- Install the latest patches.
- Install pcAnywhere.
Which of the following is a security reason to implement virtualization in your network?
- To isolate network services and roles
- To analyze network traffic
- To add network services at lower costs
- To centralize patch management
Which of the following is one example of verifying new software changes on a test system?
- Application hardening
- Patch management
You have been tasked with protecting an operating system from malicious software. What should you do? (Select the two best answers.)
- Disable the DLP.
- Update the HIPS signatures.
- Install a perimeter firewall.
- Disable unused services.
- Update the NIDS signatures.
Answers and Explanations
- C. By using a virtual machine (which is one example of a virtual instance) any ill effects can be compartmentalized to that particular virtual machine, usually without any ill effects to the main operating system on the computer. Patching a computer does not automatically patch virtual machines existing on the computer. Other virtual machines can be compromised, especially if nothing is done about the problem. Finally, virtual machines can definitely be affected by hacking techniques. Be sure to secure them!
- A. Virtualization enables a person to install operating systems (or applications) in an isolated area of the computer’s hard drive, separate from the computer’s main operating system.
- C. The Network and Sharing Center is where you can disable file sharing in Windows Vista.
- A. To hide ntldr you need to enable the Hide Protected Operating System Files checkbox. Keep in mind that you should have already enabled the Show Hidden Files and Folders radio button.
- A and B. Two ways to harden an operating system include installing the latest service pack and installing Windows defender. However, virtualization is a separate concept altogether, and PHP scripts will generally not be used to harden an operating system.
- B. NTFS is the most secure file system for use with Windows 7, Vista, and XP. FAT and FAT32 are older file systems, and DFS is the distributed file system used in more advanced networking.
- A. The Convert command is used to upgrade FAT and FAT32 volumes to the more secure NTFS without loss of data. HPFS is the High Performance File System developed by IBM and not used by Windows. NFS is the Network File System, something you would see in a storage area network.
- D. NTFS and FAT32 support the same number of file formats.
- D. The biggest risk of running a virtual computer is that it will go offline immediately if the server that it is housed on fails. All other virtual computers on that particular server will also go offline immediately.
- D. The beauty of a virtualized browser is that regardless of whether a virus or other malware damages it, the underlying operating system will remain unharmed. The virtual browser can be deleted and a new one can be created; or if the old virtual browser was backed up previous to the malware attack, it can be restored.
- D. The system state needs to be backed up on a domain controller to recover the active directory database in the future. The system state includes user data and system files but does not include the entire operating system. If a server fails, the operating system would have to be reinstalled, and then the system state would need to be restored.
- C. A patch can fix a single security issue on a computer. A service pack addresses many issues and rewrites many files on a computer; it may be overkill to use a service pack when only a patch is necessary. You might obtain the patch from a support website. A baseline can measure a server or a network and to obtain averages of usage.
- C. Often, operating system manufacturers such as Microsoft refer to the attack surface as all the services that run on the operating system. By conducting an analysis of which services are necessary and which are unnecessary, an administrator can find out which ones need to be disabled, thereby reducing the attack surface. Service packs, antivirus software, and network intrusion detection systems (NIDS) are good tools to use to secure an individual computer and the network but do not help to reduce the size of the attack surface of the operating system.
- A, B, and C. After installing an operating system, it’s important to install the latest service pack, patches, and a firewall. These three methods can help to secure the operating system. However, pcAnywhere can actually make a computer less secure and should be installed only if the user requests it. pcAnywhere is just one of many examples of remote control software.
- A. Virtualization of computer servers enables a network administrator to isolate the various network services and roles that a server may play. Analyzing network traffic would have to do more with assessing risk and vulnerability and monitoring and auditing. Adding network services at lower costs deals more with budgeting than with virtualization, although, virtualization can be less expensive. Centralizing patch management has to do with hardening the operating systems on the network scale.
- C. Patch management is an example of verifying any new changes in software on a test system (or live systems for that matter.) Verifying the changes (testing) is the second step of the standard patch management strategy. Application hardening might include updating systems, patching them, and so on, but to be accurate, this question is looking for that particular second step of patch management. Virtualization is the creating of logical OS images within a working operating system. HIDS stands for host-based intrusion detection system, which attempts to detect malicious activity on a computer.
- B and D. Updating the host-based intrusion prevention system is important. Without the latest signatures, the HIPS will not be at its best when it comes to protecting against malware. Also, disabling unused services will reduce the attack surface of the OS, which in turn makes it more difficult for attacks to access the system and run malicious code. Disabling the data leakage prevention device would not aid the situation, and it would probably cause data leakage from the computer. Installing a perimeter firewall won’t block malicious software from entering the individual computer. A personal firewall would better reduce the attack surface of the computer, but it is still not meant as an antimalware tool. Updating the NIDS signatures will help the entire network, but might not help the individual computer. In this question we want to focus in on the individual computer, not the network. In fact, given the scenario of the question, you do not even know if a network exists.