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HomeCIS ControlsCIS Control 11: Secure Configuration for Network Devices, such as Firewalls, Routers and Switches

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CIS Control 11

Secure Configuration for Network Devices, such as Firewalls, Routers and Switches

Key Principle:

Establish, implement, and actively manage (track, report on, correct) the security configuration of network infrastructure devices using a rigorous configuration management and change control process in order to prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerable services and settings.

Why is this CIS Control critical?

As delivered from manufacturers and resellers, the default configurations for network infrastructure devices are geared for ease-of-deployment and ease-of-use – not security. Open services and ports, default accounts (including service accounts) or passwords, support for older (vulnerable) protocols, pre-installation of unneeded software; all can be exploitable in their default state. The management of the secure configurations for networking devices is not a one-time event, but a process that involves regularly reevaluating not only the configuration items but also the allowed traffic flows. Attackers take advantage of network devices becoming less securely configured over time as users demand exceptions for specific business needs. Sometimes the exceptions are deployed and then left undone when they are no longer applicable to the business needs. In some cases, the security risk of the exception is neither properly analyzed nor measured against the associated business need and can change over time. Attackers search for vulnerable default settings, gaps or inconsistencies in firewall rule sets, routers, and switches and use those holes to penetrate defenses. They exploit flaws in these devices to gain access to networks, redirect traffic on a network, and intercept information while in transmission. Through such actions, the attacker gains access to sensitive data, alters important information, or even uses a compromised machine to pose as another trusted system on the network.

Main Points:
  • Compare all network device configuration against approved security configurations defined for each network device in use and alert when any deviations are discovered.
  • Manage all network devices using multi-factor authentication and encrypted sessions.

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