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Is Linux a Vulnerability in Your Data Security Posture?

BY SPIRION
February 22, 2023

Linux, is one of the most powerful operating systems in the planet, dominating cloud platforms and servers. It’s the power behind 90% of the public cloud workloads and nine of the top 10 public cloud providers. Enterprise use has soared as well. For years, Linux was primarily used by technical teams, but today, many sectors, including education, government, nuclear, and aviation, rely extensively on it.  In addition, with the rise of BYOD, companies now have a wide assortment of OS networks to manage, including machines running on Linux, Microsoft Windows and MacOS.

This growing adoption of Linux in business-critical applications and public cloud environments, including container deployments, has made it an attractive target for attackers. In fact, ransomware attacks on Linux systems increased by 75% in 2022.

In spite of its growing potential as an attack target, organizations often overlook Linux protection. Traditional endpoint security has been challenging for servers because of variations in the risk profiles of user endpoints, server workloads and different operating systems.  Linux also has earned a reputation as being the most secure operating system (or kernel to be more precise), so it’s seen as less of a priority.  But like all operating systems, it does have security vulnerabilities. One recent example is “PwnKit,” which allows any unprivileged user to gain root access to their target. This vulnerability was unknown for over a decade.

Besides external threats, internal ones – whether deliberate or inadvertent – are also common and extremely harmful.  Human error and insider threats are some of the main reasons for data loss and data theft, which can and do still occur even in a “secure” environment. This is true, regardless of the operating system. The first step in any cybersecurity program should be to protect your data, no matter where it exists. Banks aren’t interested in protecting empty safes.  It’s the money inside that matters. As the lifeblood of your organization, data is the valuable asset that must be protected. More specifically, the sensitive data that your organization collects as part of daily operations, including consumer data like credit cards, social security numbers, and bank account information, as well as sensitive company data like financial and intellectual property.

It’s challenging enough for companies to protect customer data and remain compliant with data privacy regulations. But the first and most essential step toward protecting it and remaining compliant: organization-wide awareness of where all the sensitive information you’ve collected exists. Data discovery tools can help you accurately identify data in any location or operating system, so you get the complete visibility needed to effectively protect it.

Data discovery helps businesses identify sensitive data stored on the cloud, on premises, or in employee endpoints to protect it or securely remove it. Data discovery can minimize both internal and external attack vectors: unauthorized employees storing confidential data on their computers and outsiders who manage to bypass the network defense and try to get access to the company’s records.

Spirion uniquely offers sensitive data discovery, classification, and remediation across all your OS – including Red Hat Linux

Spirion’s Sensitive Data Platform is a data protection and privacy solution that excels in securing sensitive data at rest via automated data discovery, classification, and remediation. Our discovery tool searches locations such as PDFs, images, cloud repositories, databases, and even employee laptops for sensitive data. No matter where your data ends up — whether it’s in the cloud or on-premise, unstructured or structured, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Windows or MacOS operating systems — Spirion can find it. It’s easy to set up automated classification, so once data is found, it’s instantly and accurately classified as sensitive.  If documents are classified as sensitive, Spirion Sensitive Data Platform can automate remediation actions like encrypting, quarantining or deleting data them.

Spirion recognizes the crucial importance to organizations to find sensitive data in their Linux environments. With a market share of more than 33% of total paid operating system environments, Red Hat Linux is the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform,* certified on hundreds of clouds and with thousands of hardware and software vendors.  Red Hat is a leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions and services, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers develop cloud-native applications and automate, secure and manage complex environments.   That’s why Spirion is committed to keeping your systems safe and secure with Red Hat Linux and supporting new updates as versions are released. Spirion now supports Red Hat Linux 9, the latest version.   Whether Red Hat Linux is installed on your servers or employee laptops, Spirion can discover the sensitive data contained in these machines and protect it.

In the case of cyber security, the one principle that is especially pivotal is that your security is only as strong as your weakest endpoint. Don’t let your Linux machines be that weakest link or an easy entrance point for actors looking to attack other systems.

To see our platform in action, you can watch a free demo here.