What’s New in Lynis 2: Features

Lynis 2.x Features Lynis 2.x will bring security auditing of Linux and Unix systems to a new level. In this blog post we share some exciting new features. Release of Lynis 2 is planned for February 2015. Overview: History Lynis 2.x Plugins Systemd Support File Integrity Monitoring Containers & Virtualization Operating Systems Focus on Simplicity Free and Commercial Support   History Lynis has been created in 2007, as a follow-up on the well-known tool Rootkit Hunter (rkhunter). Both tools are […]

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Linux Audit Framework 101 – Basic Rules for Configuration

Starting with Linux auditing can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there is a great feature in the Linux kernel to watch events and log them for us. To give you a quick start to use the Linux Audit Framework, we have collected some basic rules for configuring the audit daemon and its rules. Main Configuration By default the configuration values in /etc/audit/audit.conf are suitable for most systems. If you know your system is very low or very high (e.g. mainframe) on resources, […]

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Monitoring Linux File access, Changes and Data Modifications

Monitoring File access, Changes and Data Modifications   Linux has several solutions to monitor what happens with your data. From changing contents to who accessed particular information, and at what time. For our auditing toolkit Lynis, we researched and tested several solutions over the last few years. In this article we have a look at these solutions to monitor file access, changes and modifications to the data and beyond. What is Data? Data is a collection of bits, ordered in […]

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Using Open Source Auditing Tools as alternative to CIS Benchmarks

Using Open Source Auditing Tools An alternative to CIS Benchmarks and hardening guides Hardening guides, and the CIS benchmarks in particular, are a great resource to check your system for possible weaknesses and conduct system hardening. But who has the time to read it cover to cover, and apply every single step? In this article, we have a look at the alternative: open source auditing tools. Time.. Hardening is a time-consuming task. As security specialists, we know that. It involves […]

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Finding setuid binaries on Linux and BSD

Finding setuid binaries for Linux and BSD systems Why setuid? Binaries with the setuid bit enabled, are being executed as if they were running under the context of the root user. This enables normal (non-privileged) users to use special privileges, like opening sockets. While this seems unnecessary for a normal user, it is actually needed for simple commands like ping. Finding files with setuid bit To discover all files with the setuid bit, we can use the find command. Depending […]

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Perform NetBSD security audit with pkg_admin

Perform NetBSD security audit Security audit of NetBSD software packages with pkg_admin NetBSD is especially known for it’s diverse platforms it can run on. What is less known is the ability to audit the installed packages. In this article we have a look on how to audit NetBSD and ensure the file integrity of your packages. Performing a security audit is easy, as long as you use the right tool! Packages When using packages, their metadata will be installed in […]

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PCI DSS (v3) Linux: No write access to shared system binaries (A.1.2.c)

No write access to shared system binaries A.1.2.c Verify that an entity‚Äôs users do not have write access to shared system binaries Shared system binaries should be protected, as they form the basis of your system. PCI compliance (A.1.2.c) demands that users do not have write access to shared systems binaries. The only exception is of course the root user, so software upgrades are still possible. Paths for system binaries Depending on the distribution used there are several directories which […]

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Alternatives to Bastille Linux: system hardening with Lynis

System hardening with Lynis Many people used Bastille Linux to harden their Linux systems. Unfortunately the website of Bastille seems very outdated, including the tool. This resulted in people searching for a great alternative to replace this tool. We found the alternative by actually combining different solutions, being more powerful. Security automation is hot, so forget Bastille and do it the right way. Automatic hardening makes sense Most system administrators can’t keep up with the new technologies and security threats. […]

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PCI DSS (v3) for Linux: Auditing application processes (A.1.2.a)

PCI DSS (v3) Linux: Auditing application processes (A.1.2.a) A.1.2.a Verify the user ID of any application process is not a privileged user (root/admin). For Unix and Linux based systems, processes should run as a non-privileged user where possible. However to be able to start, a process is usually started with root permissions (uid 0). This is required to open the required sockets (e.g. bind to port 80). After the initial start, the process drops its privileges by switching to another […]

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Yum plugins: Available plugins and built-in security support

Enhancing yum Determine available plugins and built-in security support To enhance the support in our auditing tool Lynis, we wanted to know if yum supports security related functions by using a plugin or having it as built-in functionality. Yum Yum, or Yellowdog Updater Modified, is a software management tool for Linux based systems. Usually it is used on systems running SuSE or Red Hat based (like RHEL, Fedora or CentOS). Plugins extend the functionality of yum, to improve its functionality. […]

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PCI DSS (v3) Linux: Restrict log file viewing (A.1.2.d)

Restrict log file viewing A.1.2.d Verify that viewing of log entries is restricted to the owning entity. To limit exposure to information, PCI DSS requires access of logging to only the entity owning that log file. In other words, we have to search for those entries which can be seen by others. Search related log files By default, most log files on Linux based systems will be stored in /var/log. We can do a quick check for any files which […]

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Creating audit trails – Logging commands on Linux with Snoopy

Creating audit trails Logging commands on Linux with Snoopy Our customers often want to set-up an audit trail for accounting purposes. When something happens, they want to be able to see what happened, when it did and by whom. Defining an audit trail is also becoming mandatory for compliance, like PCI. One possible solution we cover is using Snoopy, a small library to log executed commands. How it works Snoopy is a wrapper around the execve() function. This is a […]

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Linux Security Scanning for Dummies

Linux Security Scanning for Dummies Every system needs some level of protection. Still, many people simply forget to do it, or can not find the time to properly do it. To be as efficient and effective as possible, let’s take at a structured way for security scanning your Linux machines. The 5 dummy steps are: 1. Focus on risk Like not every company is a bank, our systems are not all part of a top secret mission. We have to […]

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Linux security: Reviewing log files

Linux security: Reviewing log files Log files are the precious collection of system events. Still many people don’t use them, until it is really needed. Let’s go from the reactive use of log files to a proactive stance. The Logging Dilemma Capturing events helps in troubleshooting. By defining what events are ignored and which ones are logged, we get a quick overview on the status of a system. The dilemma is usually in how much logging is enough to get […]

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How and why Linux daemons drop privileges

How and why Linux daemons drop privileges In this article we have a look at the privileges of Linux daemons and dropping privileges in particular. The samples provided are in C. Why drop privileges? Some daemons need root permissions to start. This happens for example when a daemon wants to bind to a low port (<1024). However running network based daemons with root permissions is considered to be a serious risk. In case of compromise of the process, an attacker […]

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