The core of the computing environment is an operating system that provides users with easy-to-use and a common interface to the software and the hardware. Security flaws in the operating system give cybercriminals the chance to take advantage of your computer security vulnerabilities. It gives hackers the ability to steal data and to damage both software and hardware. They also pose a major threat to your organization as they can leak confidential data or make money thefts.
You can protect your operating system from the modern cyber threats by being aware of the various vulnerabilities or security flaws that are putting your system at a risk. You can secure those issues before a hacker can get into it.
What is Operating System Vulnerability?
In simple words, a vulnerability in the operating system means a weakness or flaw in the system and its network that can cause serious damages when exploited by an attacker or cybercriminal. It poses a cyber threat depending upon the motives of the attacker. These operating system flaws can exist because of different system components, software programs or an individual program.
Listed below are some of the major security flaws in an operating system:
1. Software flaws
Humans compose operating systems with thousands of codes and during the development time, hundreds of flaws are introduced in those codes. This is because humans program and debug each operating system. These flaws in an operating system can range from simple error messages or unwanted behavior to high-scale data corruption and operating system crashes. These flaws or weaknesses can have great consequences and cause major damages to data productivity and management. To ensure system stability, these vulnerabilities are frequently fixed, called patches, in the form of updates by the operating system manufacturers such as Apple and Microsoft.
Malware is an intentional malicious software that causes damage to a computer by hijacking an operating system. Spyware, viruses, and trojans are the most common types of malware that perform attacker tasks in an operating system. Cybercriminals generally turn the operating system into zombies or bots by undermining the system security controls. After that, they are forced to join a network of several other operating systems for a large-scale attack on governments or other organizations. Malware is generally installed introduced in an operating system by plugging in an infected USB or running an infected file.
For verification and authentication, almost all the operating systems have a login method of different users to access the computer files. They are provided passwords and usernames to access separate domains on a single system. However, security experts consider passwords to be an unsecured authentication method as most of the passwords can be guessed easily or recovered or stored. This is known as authentication spoofing. It is a major threat to operating systems where a person impersonates another authorized user.
4. Physical access
A cybercriminal with physical access to the operating system can easily steal or modify data on the system’s hard drive. This is possible because the operating system configuration and code are on the hard drive of the system. This is why most commercial servers are monitored by armed security guards and are stored in locked rooms.
These are the major vulnerabilities that the operating system of your organization might be exposed to. By looking for and protecting them, you can secure your system with the most major threats that attackers pose.