Ensuring that your IBM i isn’t Vulnerable to Attacks

data_breachIf you believe your IBM i is 100% secure from attacks both inside and outside the firewall, then you are probably at risk. Many companies are under a false sense of security that their data is safe just because it resides on IBM i. A good IBM i administrator should be able to demonstrate that their systems are being proactively assessed and interrogated to minimize the risk of security vulnerabilities. Regardless of architecture, no system is 100% secure. However, when security is viewed as an operating strategy rather than a goal the chances of a breach with data loss is reduced substantially.

[Get 5 Tips to Improving Your IBM i Security]

Where is your system vulnerable?

The IBM i is probably the most securable system available, but it doesn’t come that way.  You have to know how to configure the system properly to make it secure.  This requires knowledge about proper security levels, password levels, authorities and more. Even a well-managed system may still be exposed, without you realizing it. Having your IBM i assessed by an IBM i Security expert can help ensure that your system is as protected as it can be.

Poorly implemented password policies are one of the most prevalent risks faced by IBM i shops. Limiting password lengths to only 10 characters is extremely risky.  It makes it easier for someone to hack into your system, therefore putting your data and business at risk. In addition to not requiring strong enough passwords, too many shops still have users with default passwords.  If you still have users with default passwords, you really should take the time to change them.  You’re not the only one who knows what the default passwords are, it’s like leaving your front door wide open.  Anyone can get it and harm your system.

Almost every system has users with elevated authorities, but the question is do they need that level of authority to perform their job on a day to day basis?  If the answer is no, then you should really reset their authority to the most appropriately level.  Too many users’ with *ALLOBJ authority or *SECADM rights expose your system to harm or loss.  Do you know how many users have elevated authorities on your system?

IBM i applications are notorious for having more authority granted to their objects than what is really necessary to execute the application functions.  Sometimes when trouble shooting a problem, the solution is to decrease the object level security and sometimes people forget to go back and reset it to the higher level. Excessive object level authorities really expose your system to threats.  It’s important to assess your object level security and set it to the lowest level possible in order to protect your business.

Another potential threat is due to the fact that the IFS is not secure out of the box.  It is up to you to ensure that your IFS directory is secure from external and internal threats. Defining access rights properly is crucial to protecting your companies IFS data.  Not only is your data exposed to loss, your IFS is exposed to infected files.  While it’s true that the IBM i can’t get infected by a virus, the IFS can carry a virus which can spread. It’s important to secure your IFS properly, so that you’re not at risk of losing critical company data or spreading a virus.

These are just a few of the things you need to check in order to assess your system for security vulnerabilities.  There are others you need to consider such as, the version of Java you are running, whether or not your ciphers are current, is TELNET unencrypted and are you logging FTP access.

iTech Solutions offers a Security Assessment that will check these things and more. We can help you to determine which items put you at the most risk, so you can mitigate your vulnerabilities quickly.

Security is not set it and forget it

Companies often set their IBM I security and forget about it, thinking their job is done. The truth is you should be reviewing your security on a regular basis to ensure that things haven’t changed.  An administrator can change a system value or provide a user with elevated authorities to solve a problem and may not go back and clean up. Having a second set of eyes reviewing the state of your system security and providing you with a detailed report and in depth review, will improve your security and protect your data.

Download iTech’s “Five Tips for Improving your IBM i Security for some tips on how to improve your security.

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