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Free Security Hardened Virtual Machine Image

Perhaps I am a bit sensitive to the topic of security, but I could not let a "first" go by without comment. Back in 1999 and 2000, Sun was _the_ first commercial operating system vendor to publish not only detailed security guidance but also a tool that allowed organizations to harden the security configuration of their systems in accordance with Sun's best practices and their own policies. That tool, known as the Solaris Security Toolkit, continued to be enhanced and evolve for nearly a decade supporting new versions of the Solaris OS and adding new capabilities such as auditing. Recently, it has taken its next step forward as an OpenSolaris project. Best of luck to Jason (the new project leader)!

But, this was not the _first_ that compelled me to write today. Yes, there has been another!

Working together for more than six years, Sun and the Center for Internet Security have consistently collaborated on best-in-class, supportable and complete security hardening guidance for the Solaris operating system. The latest version (previously discussed), developed for the Solaris 10 operating system, was completed with substantial contributions from Sun, CIS, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), as well as the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

Building upon this solid foundation, this week, Sun and the Center for Internet Security are proud to announce a new _first_. We have collaborated to adapt the security recommendations published in the Solaris 10 Benchmark to the OpenSolaris operating system. This alone may be an interesting _first_, but we have gone farther. We have adapted the recommendations to meet the needs of virtual machine images running in Cloud Computing environments. All of our findings and recommendations are freely available and can be found at the Sun OpenSolaris AMI Hardening Wiki. But that is not all!

We have worked with the Sun's OpenSolaris on EC2 team to develop the _first_ vendor-provided machine image that has been hardened based upon industry-accepted and vendor supported security recommendations. As a further commitment to our "Secure by Default" strategy, we have made this AMI publicly available (AMI ID: ami-35ac4a5c) so that anyone can quickly and easily make use of it without having to apply the security hardening steps manually. Interested? Learn more about this AMI from the OpenSolaris on EC2 announcement. Of course, this will also be available for the Sun Cloud too!

Special thanks to Blake Frantz (CIS), Lew Tucker (Sun), Sujeet Vasudevan (Sun), and Divyen Patel (Sun) - without whom this new _first_ would not have been possible!

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More Stories By Glenn Brunette

Glenn Brunette is a Distinguished Engineer and Chief Security Architect at Sun Microsystems. For over 15 years, he has designed and delivered security architectures and solutions supporting a wide array of global customers. Currently, he has focused his efforts on improving security for cloud computing and other highly dynamic and scalable architectures.

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