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Tighter security tops RHEL 6.7 updates

New security features and predictive analysis of performance issues are two of the new features users will find in RHEL 6.7.

RHEL 6.7 updates tighten up security for Linux servers and include support for containers.

The update, which Red Hat released last week, includes a number of minor version updates. Topping the list for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) were changes made to the default configurations of the encryption settings for several server applications for things, such as Apache and Dovecot

The older "security-dubious encryption protocols" that were the default setting were phased out, said Scott Dowdle, a longtime Linux user and blogger at MontanaLinux.org.

Before RHEL 6.7, users with a security scanner had to dig into the encryption protocol settings for server applications and turn much of it off manually to avoid it showing up as vulnerable, he said.

"I'm definitely glad to see Red Hat has taken the time and effort to adjust the default configurations with this release so that administrators with new installations won't have to go through all of that hassle," Dowdle said.

Other security updates in RHEL 6.7 include read-only mounting of removable media, a measure designed to reduce data theft or loss by actions, such as an employee copying data onto a USB drive.

RHEL 6.7 also includes a tool called Security Content Automation Protocol Workbench, which measures the compliance of RHEL systems against enterprise-specific security guidelines and criteria.

"The new security standards [to which] the software has been made compatible are interesting, but only a few customers will see that as a reason why they must upgrade," said Sander van Vugt, an independent technology trainer and Linux expert, who is also a TechTarget contributor.

Instead, RHEL users will likely update for the sake of staying current, he said.

I'm definitely glad to see Red Hat has taken the time and effort to adjust the default configurations with this release so that administrators with new installations won't have to go through all of that hassle.
Scott Dowdlelongtime Linux user and blogger at MontanaLinux.org

Some of the other features available in RHEL 6.7 include compatibility with Red Hat Access Insights. Insights is a new service from Red Hat that analyzes user data against Red Hat's database of known issues to help anticipate reliability, availability, security and performance issues, such as configuration mistakes or security vulnerabilities. It is designed to reduce the time spent searching for fixes and resolving problems.

The base image of RHEL 6.7 is also available, which allows enterprises to "keep their operations intact as they explore and transition to container-based application infrastructure," according to Red Hat.

Robert Gates covers data centers, data center strategies, server technologies, converged and hyperconverged infrastructure and open source operating systems for SearchDataCenter. Follow him on Twitter @RBGatesTT.

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