Because high-availability and fault-tolerant systems need strong security

Does it make sense to have high-availability and fault-tolerance without strong security? We at XYPRO don’t think so. We recognize that companies run their most important business applications and processes on the NonStop server platform and keeping those assets safe from data loss, tampering and inadvertent harm is mission critical.

XYPRO has been providing NonStop security solutions for over 30 years—we’ve literally written the books on NonStop security—and we’ve assembled an informal “Top 10” list of NonStop security fundamentals. Over the next couple months, we’ll count down our list of Top 10 NonStop security fundamentals—your discussion, feedback and debate are welcome. Here’s #10 on our list.

#10: Secure the default system access settings

To facilitate initial configuration and set-up, HPE NonStop servers come with a number of default security settings. To have a well-protected NonStop system many of these default settings need to be addressed.

Protect or Delete NULL.NULL. NonStop servers are shipped with the default userid NULL.NULL (0,0). NULL.NULL is an out-of-the-box userid that is not password protected and gives non-privileged system access. With unprotected NULL.NULL, there is a risk that unauthorized users will be able to gain access to the system and explore system settings, users and files and potentially discover and exploit system vulnerabilities. To protect the system, the NULL.NULL userid should be deleted or, if that’s not possible, the risk should be mitigated by renaming the 0,0 userid to something other than “NULL.NULL”, assigning a strong password, and expiring or “freezing” the 0,0 userid so that it can’t be used to logon to the system.

Remove compilers from production systems. Compilers are dangerous because code can be inserted or deleted to circumvent previously implemented controls. Additionally, language compilers might be used to develop test or hacking programs to access sensitive data. To protect applications from inadvertent or malicious changes or outages, compilers and related utilities should be removed or very tightly locked down on secure systems.

Configure Safeguard auditing in order to meet PCI requirements. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an important industry security standard developed to protect sensitive cardholder data and a key requirement for PCI DSS compliance is to “track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data”. Within NonStop, the Safeguard utility on NonStop provides the capability to monitor and audit security-related events. While some Safeguard events are always audited, most need to be configured to enable auditing. Properly configuring Safeguard to audit all PCI DSS-related security events is an important step in setting up a new NonStop system (or in ensuring PCI compliance for an existing system).

Add and configure Safeguard security groups. There are six valid Safeguard security groups but they do not exist on the shipped system and must be added. Using these security groups, specific users can be delegated the authority to execute certain restricted Safeguard commands. Until these groups are created, the restricted commands can be executed by any SUPER group member.

Add and configure Safeguard OBJECTTYPE records. Safeguard uses OBJECTTYPEs to control who can create protection records for a particular type of object or device. Without OBJECTTYPE records, any local member of the SUPER group can add a protection record for an object or device name and thereby gain control of that object or device. To protect objects and reduce possibility of misuse, add all the necessary OBJECTTYPEs and assign these to a non-super group security administrator.

Secure sensitive objects. As shipped, there are several sensitive objects in Guardian that must be protected: TANDUMP, DIVER, USERID, and USERIDAK. Each of these objects has power capabilities within Guardian and should be secured to have SUPER only access.

To follow along with the rest of this blog series on the NonStop Security Fundamentals Top 10 List go to

More in-depth information and guidance on these security subjects are available in XYPRO’s NonStop security handbooks: HPE NonStop Server Security: A Practical Handbook and Securing HPE NonStop Servers in an Open Systems World: TCP/IP, OSS and SQL.

You may also contact XYPRO for assistance. For over 30 years, XYPRO has provided NonStop security solutions and services that help companies protect their NonStop systems and comply with industry regulations (such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOX).