Hardening

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What Does Hardening Mean?

Hardening refers to providing various means of protection in a computer system. Protection is provided in various layers and is often referred to as defense in depth. Protecting in layers means to protect at the host level, the application level, the operating system level, the user level, the physical level and all the sublevels in between. Each level requires a unique method of security.

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A hardened computer system is a more secure computer system.

Hardening is also known as system hardening.

Techopedia Explains Hardening

Hardening’s goal is to eliminate as many risks and threats to a computer system as necessary. Hardening activities for a computer system can include:

  • Keeping security patches and hot fixes updated
  • Monitoring security bulletins that are applicable to a system’s operating system and applications
  • Installing a firewall
  • Closing certain ports such as server ports
  • Not allowing file sharing among programs
  • Installing virus and spyware protection, including an anti-adware tool so that malicious software cannot gain access to the computer on which it is installed
  • Keeping a backup, such as a hard drive, of the computer system
  • Disabling cookies
  • Creating strong passwords
  • Never opening emails or attachments from unknown senders
  • Removing unnecessary programs and user accounts from the computer
  • Using encryption where possible
  • Hardening security policies, such as local policies relating to how often a password should be changed and how long and in what format a password must be in
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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.