Sep 29 2008

Vista and defense in depth

Category: Information Security,Vista SecurityDISC @ 3:47 pm

To be competitive and successful in today’s business environment demands a serious consideration of information security. Sometime low risk item could damage your company business and can lead to lose sensitive data. To recover from the aftermath of an incident can be a costly proposition.

One way to deal with the new threats is to be vigilant and know your weaknesses by assessing your infrastructure. On the other hand it helps a great deal to have an operating system which comes with built in security controls which you can turn on and off based on your security needs. Microsoft claims that Vista is the most secure operating system yet and was built with security as a top priority. However with all these built in security features, you may need to make some configuration changes to fit in your security requirements.

Windows Vista comes with many built in security features to protect your business assets. Below are the new security features.


In the past access was the top priority for Microsoft operating system (open by default – start locking down as needed). Now in Vista the control is a top priority (closed by default – start opening up as needed).
Vista security development life cycle (SDLC) follows defense in depth model which compartmentalized and makes it tough for the intruder to get to the crown jewel. At the same time intruder risk the chance of detection at every layer. Defense in Depth model:


Vista Service Hardening:
Vista service hardening is designed to run services with the least possible privileges. Four different features are utilized to achieve service hardening.

o Service isolation
o Least privilege
o Restricted network access
o Session 0 isolation

Service isolation – is a method by which a service can access an object without having a super user access account to secure the objects like registry keys.

Least privilege – Based on best practice each service should utilize the least privilege necessary to accomplish the task. Under Vista, when service initiate, it request for specific privileges provided by the local system.

Restricted network access – Under Vista, a service access can be restricted by TCP/UDP port, protocol, and direction that network traffic is flowing. Restricted network access will limit attack vector by blocking unnecessary ports, protocols and direction of the traffic.

Session 0 isolation – Vista does not allow any user application to run with session 0. All user applications must run in session 1 or higher. Only services and other non-user facing application run on session 0, to maintain isolation between services and user application.

Service hardening, when combined with other security features provides a tough defense. This defense in multiple layers is aimed to safeguard your system and also enables your business to be successful by keeping the threats at acceptable distance.

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Tags: closed by default, compartmentalize, defense in depth, incident, intruder, least privilege, open by default, restricted network access, safeguard, sdlc, security features, sensitive data, service hardening, service isolation, session isolation