Windows 10 cyber security checklist

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Windows 10 cyber security checklist

Gain insights into the state of cybersecurity and learn concrete actions you can take right now to protect your business. Find out how enterprise-grade security provided by Microsoft Business provides an integrated, simplified way to keep your business protected and productive. Provide better protection for your business as Windows 7 and Office reach end of support starting January 14, Businesses are under cyber-threat.

Translate to English. Skip to main content. Learn how to better protect your business now with expert tips and tools. The state of security for small and medium-sized business Gain insights into the state of cybersecurity and learn concrete actions you can take right now to protect your business.

Read e-book. Business security assessment 6 security mistakes to fix Fight back against hackers Secure with Microsoft Business Intelligent protection for businesses Business security assessment Business security assessment 6 security mistakes to fix Fight back against hackers Secure with Microsoft Business Intelligent protection for businesses.

Learn more. Cybercriminals are on the lookout for vulnerable businesses. Here are six changes you can make now to reduce the threat of an attack. As cybersecurity incidents become more common for businesses of all sizes, having a good plan is critical.

Learn about the four stages of an attack and what you can do to fight back. Shift now Provide better protection for your business as Windows 7 and Office reach end of support starting January 14, Small and medium-sized business stories A case study in security How Transblue uses Microsoft Business to address their security and productivity needs.

Read the story. You have to be proactive. Stay aware of all the things that you hear in the news, research them, work closely with your IT people to find out what they know. Because cybersecurity is real and it does need attention.

Additional security resources. Insider Threats are a hidden danger. SANS provides guidance to secure your business.Workstations are often targeted by an adversary using malicious websites, emails or removable media in an attempt to extract sensitive information. Hardening workstations is an important part of reducing this risk. This document provides recommendations on hardening workstations using Enterprise and Education editions of Microsoft Windows 10 version Before implementing recommendations in this document, thorough testing should be undertaken to ensure the potential for unintended negative impacts on business processes is reduced as much as possible.

While this document refers to workstations, most recommendations are equally applicable to servers with the exception of Domain Controllers using Microsoft Windows Server, version or Microsoft Windows Server The names and locations of Group Policy settings used in this document are taken from Microsoft Windows 10 version ; some differences exist for earlier versions of Microsoft Windows.

The following recommendations, listed in alphabetical order, should be treated as high priorities when hardening Microsoft Windows 10 version workstations. When applications are installed they are often not pre-configured in a secure state.

For example, Microsoft Office by default allows untrusted macros in Office documents to automatically execute without user interaction. To reduce this risk, applications should have any in-built security functionality enabled and appropriately configured along with unrequired functionality disabled.

This is especially important for key applications such as office productivity suites e. Microsoft OfficePDF readers e. Adobe Readerweb browsers e. Adobe Flashemail clients Microsoft Outlook and software platforms e. Oracle Java Platform and Microsoft. NET Framework. In addition, vendors may provide guidance on configuring their products securely. For example, Microsoft provides security baselines for their products on their Microsoft Security Guidance blog [1].

In such cases, vendor guidance should be followed to assist in securely configuring their products. While some vendors may release new application versions to address security vulnerabilities, others may release patches. If new application versions and patches for applications are not installed it can allow an adversary to easily compromise workstations. This is especially important for key applications that interact with content from untrusted sources such as office productivity suites e.

To reduce this risk, new application versions and patches for applications should be applied in an appropriate timeframe as determined by the severity of security vulnerabilities they address and any mitigating measures already in place.

In cases where a previous version of an application continues to receive support in the form of patches, it still should be upgraded to the latest version to receive the benefit of any new security functionality.

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For more information on determining the severity of security vulnerabilities and timeframes for applying new application versions and patches for applications see the Assessing Security Vulnerabilities and Applying Patches publication [4].The Windows 10 operating system was released about 15 months ago and is being used increasingly for both private and business purposes.

Initial enthusiasm for Windows 10 was muted and has not increased much since the launch. The graphical interface e. Scant attention was paid to improving security functions and settings. Some of these functions were even withheld from enterprise customers, such as Credential and Device Guard. Based on the CIS Microsoft Windows 10 BenchmarksI have created a checklist that can be used to harden Windows 10 in both the private and business domain.

The hardening checklist can be used for all Windows versions, but the GroupPolicyEditor is not integrated into Windows 10 Home; adjustments have to be carried out directly in the registry.

To protect against unauthorized physical access, the hard drive should be encrypted. The integrated BitLocker function can be used for this. Ideally, Bitlocker should be used in combination with SecureBoot. The integrated Windows Defender solution can be used as anti-virus software. Windows Defender offers adequate protection against known malware and has not been found to have any serious weaknesses. According to an analysisby Will Dormannthis is not yet the case with the current version of Windows EMET should therefore continue to be operated on a correctly hardened system.

In Windows 10, the properties of Windows Update were altered. After a certain amount of time, Windows updates are installed automatically and the system is re-started. This has not been popular with users and has led to the recommendation to deactivate the Windows update processes.

This year, there have been at least three privilege escalation vulnerabilities MSMSand MSfor which functioning exploits were published within a few days of the patch being released.

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An eight-digit password can be worked out in just a few hours. A new security function blocks untrustworthy fonts truetype fonts but is not active in the default settings. This function should therefore be activated. A few vulnerabilities were found in Windows which enable a privilege escalation up to kernel level of the operating system when a font is opened or viewed.

It is now possible to deactivate the support for untrustworthy fonts in order to mitigate the vulnerability. For example, user behavior can be analyzed by capturing telemetry data.

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These include the storage function OneDrive and the speech recognition software Cortana. Most of these issues can be managed using group policies and deactivated if required. It is therefore possible to switch off the logging and transmission of error messages to Microsoft, reduce the capturing of telemetry data to a minimum it can only be switched off completely in the Enterprise versionand deactivate cloud applications such as OneDrive or Cortana.

Security-related events must be logged and assessed on a hardened system.In the past, we left defining the security configuration for Windows 10 as a task for every customer to sort out.

As a result, we saw as many different configurations as we saw customers. Standardization has many advantages, so we developed a security configuration framework to help simplify security configuration while still allowing enough flexibility to allow you to balance security, productivity, and user experience.

We are defining discrete prescriptive Windows 10 security configurations levels 5 through 1 to meet many of the common device scenarios we see today in the enterprise.

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This is the question security professionals must constantly ask themselves. Achieving early wins is a key aspect to driving business value from the investment in this deployment. Clearly, a key aspect for a security configuration framework is to help drive a smart set of priorities. Understanding where you lie in a continuum of security is also valuable.

You see, there is no perfect score in security; everyone could always get better.

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What we really need to drive is a cycle of continuous improvement. But without an absolute target to pursue, how do you get a sense of how good is good enough? Looking at the posture of others is helpful. Being the best in security is of course aspirational, but being the worst is something you must avoid! I want to be careful not to overemphasize the competitive aspect here. Why is this so important? Because bad people have, through innovations of commerce on the dark web, devised a system of cooperation that is shockingly effective.

In an environment of inherent distrust think about it — literally everyone involved is, by definition, untrustworthythey work together. Through the top recommendations, we suggest a prioritized list for securing your devices, with a relative ranking of the overall impact to your security posture. We are also exploring ways to provide useful comparisons using this framework. Secure score represents our best recommendations for securing your endpoint devices among other things.

We thought we should supplement secure score to help people in all these scenarios with the security configuration framework. The security configuration framework is designed to assist with exactly this scenario. Rather than making an itemized list, we grouped recommendations into coherent and discrete groups, which makes it easier for you to see where you stand in terms of your defensive posture.

In this initial draft, we have defined 5 discrete levels of security configuration. We are releasing this draft version to gather additional feedback from organizations looking to organize their device security hardening program.

windows 10 cyber security checklist

We are eager to gather feedback on how we could make this guidance more useful, and if there are security controls and configurations you feel may be misplaced or missing! Questions, concerns, or insights on this story? Follow us on Twitter MsftSecIntel. Skip to main content This site uses cookies for analytics, personalized content and ads.

By continuing to browse this site, you agree to this use.There are no current plans to develop a STIG. STIG Topics. Privacy and Security Section Site Map.

SCORE: Checklists & Step-by-Step Guides

Login with CAC. Apache 2. Apache Server 2. Apple OS X Rel 7. BIND 9. BlackBerry UEM Canonical Ubuntu Citrix XenDesktop 7.

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Comment Matrix Comment Matrix. Docker Enterprise 2. Google Android Google Android 9. Infoblox 7. Jamf Pro v McAfee Antivirus 8. McAfee Application Control 8. McAfee Virus Scan 8. McAfee VirusScan 8. Microsoft IIS Microsoft IIS 8. Mobile Iron Core v9.

MobileIron Core v MongoDB Enterprise Advanced 3. Oracle Oracle Database 19c Oracle Database 19c Currently under development with no release date. PostgreSQL 9. Samsung Android OS 10 with Knox 3. Samsung Android OS 7 with Knox 3.Hardening an operating system OS is one of the most important steps toward sound information security.

As operating systems evolve over time and add more features and capabilities, hardening needs to be adjusted to keep up with changes in OS technology.

Windows 10 comes stacked with an array of features, apps and software that need to be properly configured to ensure the system is as hardened as possible. This article will detail the top Windows 10 hardening techniques, from installation settings to Windows updates and everything in between.

Take action to secure your business

Hardening refers to reducing the attack surface that attackers have available to them. It is based on the principle of least privilege, or to configure a computer system to only do what you do normally and nothing more. Hardening is an integral part of information security and comprises the principles of deter, deny, delay and detection and hardening covers the first three. It is strongly recommended that Windows 10 be installed fresh on a system. Previously used systems may have malware, spyware and who knows what else from web browsing, and pre-installed systems may contain an absurd amount of bloatware.

Create or locate a suitable installation media for your Windows 10 system a trusted USB drive, preferably.

Even in fresh installations of Windows 10, a system likely has unnecessary programs installed. These programs expand the attack surface and become potential points of entry for attackers.

Installed programs should be reviewed then the unneeded deleted. Verify that all installed programs are legitimate and not pirated software, which could be filled with bloat and malware. Hard drives should be encrypted. Windows 10 comes with BitLocker as its built-in encryption solution and the encryption process is easy. Later editions of Windows 10 come with TPM enabled by default, making it one less thing to think about.

windows 10 cyber security checklist

Secure boot should be used in conjunction with encryption. It will link the hard drive to the system hardware and ensure that only Microsoft-trusted firmware is used upon boot.

Make sure that the Windows 10 system is caught up on all updates, patches and service packs. A Windows 10 system that is not caught up on the latest updates and patches or service packs is an easier target for attackers. The system should be checked for both rogue services and those that came pre-installed OOBE. Microsoft integrated a free antivirus AV solution into Windows 10 that does not have major weaknesses and actually works, unlike most free AV solutions.

Windows Defender should be turned on by default; to check on this, open the Windows Defender dashboard.

windows 10 cyber security checklist

This technique is too large to give anything but a brief overview, as organizations have their own specific needs and Windows has an enormous amount of group policy. Organizations with an IT department normally have baseline of group policy settings that are configured for every new Windows 10 machine that is onboarded. A Windows 10 system should comply with this group policy baseline upon first boot. Passwords are one group policy setting that is pretty universal across organizations. A password group policy should mandate complex passwords and set a password reset interval.

Make sure that controlled folder access is on. Keep in mind that this will prevent applications from creating files within the documents folder. Authentication needs to be hardened as it can be a glaring expanse of attack surface.

The best way to do this is to set multi-factor authentication. This can include a complex password as one of the factors, with the other either being a PIN, gesture, biometrics or picture password.Print the checklist and check off each item you complete to ensure that you cover the critical steps for securing your server.

The ISO uses this checklist during risk assessments as part of the process to verify server security. The CIS document outlines in much greater detail how to complete each step. All steps are recommended. It includes updates for additional Microsoft products, just like Microsoft Update, and provides additional administrative control for software deployment.

In addition to detailing missing patches, this tool also performs checks on basic security settings and provides information on remediating any issues found. Upguard This is a compliance management tool that ensures basic patching and compliance is being consistently managed this product is fairly inexpensive and can integrated with Splunk.

The Information Resources Use and Security Policy requires passwords be a minimum of 8 characters in length. If this option is enabled, the system will store passwords using a weak form of encryption that is susceptible to compromise.

This configuration is disabled by default. For further password protections: 1. Update Active Directory functional level to R2 or higher. Implement MS KBs and Instead of the CIS recommended values, the account lockout policy should be configured as follows:. Any account with this role is permitted to log in to the console. By default, this includes users in the Administrators, Users, and Backup Operators groups.

It's unlikely that non-administrative users require this level of access and, in cases where the server is not physically secured, granting this right may facilitate a compromise of the device. You may add localized information to the banner as long as the university banner is included. Logon information for domain accounts can be cached locally to allow users who have previously authenticated to do so again even if a domain controller cannot be contacted. By default 10 accounts will be cached locally, but there is a risk that in the event of a compromise an attacker could locate the cached credentials and use a brute force attack to discover the passwords.

Therefore, it is recommended that this value be reduced so that fewer credentials will be placed at risk, and credentials will be cached for shorter periods of time in the case of devices that are logged into frequently by multiple users.

The Account Logon audit policy logs the results of validation tests of credentials submitted for user account logon requests. The server that is authoritative for the credentials must have this audit policy enabled.

For domain member machines, this policy will only log events for local user accounts. The university requires the following event log settings instead of those recommended by the CIS Benchmark:. These are minimum requirements. The most important log here is the security log. The further your logs go back, the easier it will be to respond in the event of a breach. In rare cases, a breach may go on for months before detection.

You may increase the number of days that you keep, or you may set the log files to not overwrite events.

windows 10 cyber security checklist

Note that if the event log reaches its maximum size and no events older than the number of days you specified exist to be deleted, or if you have disabled overwriting of events, no new events will be logged. This may happen deliberately as an attempt by an attacker to cover his tracks. Splunk licenses are available through ITS at no charge. ITS also maintains a centrally-managed Splunk service that may be leveraged. If using Splunk: Ensure all key systems and services are logging to Splunk and that verbosity is appropriately set.

Some remote administration tools, such as Microsoft Systems Management Server, require remote registry access to managed devices. Disabling remote registry access may cause such services to fail.


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