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Linux workstation security checklist

This is a set of recommendations used by the Linux Foundation for their systems administrators. All of LF employees are remote workers and we use this set of guidelines to ensure that a sysadmin’s system passes core security requirements in order to reduce the risk of it becoming an attack vector against the rest of our infrastructure.

Even if your systems administrators are not remote workers, chances are that they perform a lot of their work either from a portable laptop in a work environment, or set up their home systems to access the work infrastructure for after-hours/emergency support. In either case, you can adapt this set of recommendations to suit your environment.

This, by no means, is an exhaustive « workstation hardening » document, but rather an attempt at a set of baseline recommendations to avoid most glaring security errors without introducing too much inconvenience. You may read this document and think it is way too paranoid, while someone else may think this barely scratches the surface. Security is just like driving on the highway — anyone going slower than you is an idiot, while anyone driving faster than you is a crazy person. These guidelines are merely a basic set of core safety rules that is neither exhaustive, nor a replacement for experience, vigilance, and common sense.

Each section is split into two areas:

  • The checklist that can be adapted to your project’s needs

  • Free-form list of considerations that explain what dictated these decisions