Security professional Michael Boelen writes about Linux security, system hardening, and related subjects. He worked as a consultant for multinational companies before he started CISOfy. Michael is involved with open source software and created several projects. Among them are Rootkit Hunter (rkhunter), a malware scanner for Linux and other platforms. He is also the creator and lead developer of Lynis, a tool that helps with hardening Linux systems. You can find more information about Michael on his website https://michaelboelen.com or via Twitter.

How to promote your open source project

Getting more out of your project (including more users!) Do you have an open source project, yet you feel that it could more users? You are not alone! Many other open source projects have the same problem. The good news is that with only a few steps, you can new and more active users. Time to learn how promotion can be done without the pushy tricks that marketing and salespeople use.     Traction is everything Traction in software projects is similar […]

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OpenSSH security and hardening

SSH or Secure Shell is the popular protocol for doing system administration on Linux systems. It runs on most systems, often with its default configuration. As this service opens up a potential gateway into the system, it is one of the steps to hardening a Linux system. This article covers the SSH security tips to secure the OpenSSH service and increase the defenses of the system. OpenSSH security OpenSSH is under development by the security fanatics from the OpenBSD project. Every new […]

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The 101 of ELF files on Linux: Understanding and Analysis

Some of the true craftsmanship in the world we take for granted. One of these things is the common tools on Linux, like ps and ls. Even though the commands might be perceived as simple, there is more to it when looking under the hood. This is where ELF or the Executable and Linkable Format comes in. A file format that used a lot, yet truly understood by only a few. Let’s get this understanding with this introduction tutorial! By reading […]

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Livepatch: Linux kernel updates without rebooting

If you run a Linux server, software patching is a task that will have to be performed on a regular basis. Although most programs can be auto-restarted with a tool like needrestart, there is one exception: the kernel. Wouldn’t it be a nice if we could update the kernel without the mandatory reboot? Here is livepatch, the feature of the Linux kernel that makes it possible. Let’s discover how it works and if you can use it on your system. […]

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How to secure a Linux system

Every Linux system will benefit from more security, especially if it contains sensitive data. With so many resources available on the internet, one might think that securing Linux has become easy. We know it is not. Linux system hardening takes a good amount of understanding about how the Linux kernel works. It also requires a good understanding of the operating system principles. In this guide, we will help you to get this understanding and provide you with tips and tools. The […]

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BPFILTER: the next-generation Linux firewall

The Linux community has a continuous drive to enhance the GNU/Linux kernel. When we look at network traffic filtering, we moved from ipchains to iptables. More recently we saw the introduction of nftables. Next in line is BPFILTER, part of the development work for the Linux 4.18 kernel. What is BPFILTER? BPFILTER is short for BPF based packet filtering framework. In other words, it is a framework that does packet filtering and is based on BPF. Interestingly, BPF itself is an acronym […]

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How to become a Linux security expert?

Years ago it was a challenge to find screenshots of devices running Linux. Nowadays, Linux can power phones, TV’s, computer systems, mainframes, and many more devices. With more devices, the demand for Linux knowledge will continue to grow. At the same time, the demand for security is higher than ever. All the media attention and regulations like GDPR, asks for more Linux security specialists. In this post, the goal is to answer the question: How to become a Linux security expert?   […]

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The state of Linux security in 2017

Linux security (2017 edition) The year is closing, so it is time to review Linux security. Like last year, we look at the state of Linux security. A collection of the finest moments. Did we forget something important? Let us know in the comments. This post will remain updated in the upcoming weeks. As this post may appear on HN, Reddit, Slashdot, and other high-traffic sites, this post is heavily cached. Comments may show up with some delay.   January: MongoDB, Debian […]

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Troubleshooting a full /boot partition on Ubuntu

A regular issue with systems running Ubuntu is that may fill up the /boot partition. You might have discovered it when running apt, which refused to work. That is unfortunate, as you also need apt to resolve the issue. After trying several options, we found a way to resolve this catch 22, with just three steps. Opposed to other solutions, you don’t need to move files or do other tricky things on your system. Still a word of caution: any tasks you […]

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Linux security myths

Myth busting: Linux security As the author of Lynis, I have to run several Linux systems for testing Linux security defenses. And if you do something long enough, some get to see you as a Linux security expert. When that happens, you get asked questions. Surprisingly they are often related to some of the myths. Time to share a few I got asked. If you received this link from me directly, then most likely you asked one :) Linux systems […]

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Postfix Hardening Guide for Security and Privacy

Postfix is a common software component on servers for receiving or sending email. It has a lot of configuration options available, including those to improve your Postfix security. This Postfix security and privacy guide will help with hardening your Postfix configuration. After you are finished, your system will have improved defenses against spam, abuse, and leaking sensitive data. Why Postfix hardening? Every service that is connected to the internet is sooner or later to be abused by automated scripts. For example, […]

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Understanding what runs on your Linux system (and why)

Linux processes and daemons Each Linux system has a bunch of processes running. Most of these processes might be familiar to you if you regularly use a command like ps or top to display them. Processes may look like just an item in a list. They are actually complicated pieces of code that are tamed by a memory manager. To truly understand how your system is running, knowledge of process (or memory) management is of great help. So let’s make […]

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Vulnerable packages on FreeBSD: pkg audit

Auditing FreeBSD with pkg audit FreeBSD is definitely another beast than Linux. In some areas, FreeBSD is really a powerful operating system. Package management is maybe not the first one you may think of. Typically FreeBSD users have two options when it comes to installing packages. Ports collection The ports tree allows the administration to build software they need, with the compilation flags he or she prefers. This makes the software optimized and typically the last versions are available. The downside […]

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Troubleshooting guide for Lynis

Troubleshooting Lynis This document helps with solving most common issues experienced when running Lynis. Errors No hostid and/or hostid2 found Some systems do not have the OpenSSH server package installed. In this case, the hostid2 value may be missing. During the upload it may result in an error. Error: No hostid and/or hostid2 found. Can not upload report file. To see what Lynis discovered, use the show command. lynis show hostids If the hostid2 is missing, we can tell Lynis […]

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Configure the time zone (TZ) on Linux systems

Having the right time set on a Linux system is important for data synchronization, forensics, and troubleshooting. Next step is to configure the correct time zone. This article will help you: See the current time configuration Learn how to configure the time zone Time zone information We will have a look on how to check and configure the time zone on Linux systems. Show current time zone Most new Linux distributions use systemd now. With the timedatectl command we can quickly see the […]

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