Linux Security Principle: Containment of Failure

Containment of Failure Everyone who used Windows 95 or 98 in the past is familiar with the concept of failure. One crashing application was enough to bring the system to a halt. Fortunately, Linux systems have a strong foundation, including privilege separation and memory management. When things go wrong, the impact is reduced to a minimum. This is called containment. Linux Memory Management Memory is like your the storage capacity of your brain. Every bit should be stored properly, or otherwise […]

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Missing Packages: Don’t Trust External Repositories!

Missing packages… If you are in the business of system administration, you know the big dilemma when it comes to installing software: missing packages. Yes, a lot of packages are available in the repositories of your Linux distribution, but not the one you need. Or when it is, it is horribly outdated. So you reach out to external resources, like community maintained repositories, right? With Lynis, we face this same issue. While most of the distributions have Lynis in the […]

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Security Defenses to Fortify your Linux Systems

How to Fortify your Linux Systems Create a Linux security fortress; implementing security defenses using towers, bridges, and guards. Still many companies have difficulties implementing basic security measures. Even after years of websites being defaced, and customer records stolen, the same mistakes are made over and over again. While this all might sound like an unsolvable situation, information security is getting attention from more people. If you are responsible for the system management of Linux systems, ignoring security is no […]

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Quick Tip: Disable Adobe Flash Player in Chrome

How to disable Flash The end of Adobe’s Flash Player is near. Most of the remaining Flash on the web are advertisements or “fancy” movies, created years ago. If you don’t need Flash any longer, these steps help you to disable it in Chrome. Step 1: Open plugins Go to chrome://plugins This will show an overview of all your plugins. Step 2: Disable Abode Flash Player Press Disable on the Adobe Flash Player. The color of the plugin changes and […]

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The ultimate strace cheat sheet

Strace cheat sheet The strace utility is very powerful to learn what a new or running process is doing. Due to its diversity of monitoring options, the tool is less accessible at first. This strace cheat sheet helps with getting the best out of this tool. Normally cheat sheets come in a single 1 page PDF. In this case, we combined it all within a blog post. First section shows an explanation per area, the bottom of the post contains […]

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Monitor file access by Linux processes

Process Auditing: Disk and File Activity Processes are the running workforce on a Linux system. Each process has a particular goal, like forking child processes, handling incoming user requests of monitoring other processes. As a system administrator or IT auditor, you might want to know at some point what disk activity occurs in a process. In this article, we have a look at a few options to quickly reveal what is occuring in a process, including disk and file activity. Monitor syscalls […]

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Three Lessons for Security Professionals: Be a Donkey!

Security Professionals: Be a Donkey! How being a donkey can help you succeed in your daily work. The donkey is considered to be a stupid animal in most of the western world. Actually, we might be pretty wrong about our current believes. As security professionals, we can definitely learn something from these friendly-looking creatures. 1) Learn Quickly We have a Dutch saying “A donkey does not bump into the same stone twice”. The thought is that if you make the […]

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Forget Linux Vulnerability Scanning: Get Better Defenses

Building Defenses Beyond Linux Vulnerability Scanning Every month or so, I get a few questions about the vulnerability capabilities Lynis has to offer. It made me think about this subject and I realized something: Many security professionals are still focusing too much on vulnerabilities. They want to know their security gaps, so they can know where they stand. While this isn’t a bad approach, there might be a better solution. The solution I will discuss today is to focus on (permanent) […]

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