Secure Software Development: CII Best Practices

Best Practices from the Core Infrastructure Initiative Last month the Core Infrastructure Initiative, or CII, launched their CII best practices project. Its primary goal is to gamify the process of building more secure software. Let’s have a look at the project, and how it can help. Open Source and Security If we look in the open source world of software, we see that many projects were created by volunteers. While doing this voluntary, this doesn’t say anything about the quality of the […]

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Audit Installed Compilers and Their Packages

Compilers and security Compilers can be the gateway for an attacker. By misusing a possible weakness in your system(s), a compiler is often used to build the related exploit code. One way to prevent this is to determine what compilers are installed and remove (or restrict) them. Comparing Installed Packages and Compilers One way to audit the system is creating a list of common compilers and packages, then match these with the installed packages. Common compilers Some of the tools found related […]

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Vulnerability Scanning: The Destiny to Disappointment?

The Need Of Vulnerability Management Our digital world is full of hardware and software components. The big difference between the two is the quality. When hardware ships with defects, people will return it and talk badly about it. For software it is fine if things are not perfect from the beginning. It can be improved upon in steps, until most of its users are happy with it. Developers of this software often are some level of pressure. We already know […]

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How the web changes with HTTP/2: Performance and Security

Changes to the web: HTTP/2 Performance and Security On invitation by the Dutch consultancy firm Snow, I attended their Snow Unix Event (SUE). It was the third time in a row, with again an impressive lineup of speakers. As I worked previously for the company, I expected no less than that. The theme was about knowledge sharing. That sounds like an invitation to also share some of the biggest insights I learned. Let’s start with the HTTP/2 insights by Daniel […]

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How Linux Security Fails to be Simple

Linux Security Should be Simple, Right? Why that is not a reality, and we might never achieve it. Linux gained great popularity over the last 10 years, powering our servers and smartphones. With all the efforts put in creating more secure software, it seems installing security updates will remain a weekly task. Will this ever change? Security is Hard Properly securing a system means different things for different people. So let’s take the assumption that every system has a particular […]

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Linux DNS Tuning for Performance and Resilience

DNS Configuration on Linux We often don’t realize the importance of DNS, or name resolving in our infrastructure. The impact when things go (slightly) wrong is huge. Time to have a good look at improving our DNS configuration. How DNS resolving works When your Linux system needs to know the IP address of a particular host, it will use gethostbyname(3) function. This will use the nsswitch configuration stored in /etc/nsswitch.conf. For the related hosts line, it will determine how to […]

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What is the ‘toor’ user on FreeBSD?

What is the ‘toor’ user on FreeBSD? Linux and *BSD systems have by default a root user installed. As it has a user ID of zero (0), it gains the highest level of permissions from the kernel. On FreeBSD systems, there is also the ‘toor’ user, with the equal high-level user ID of zero. It is simply the reversed version of ‘root’, and installed as a backup account. By default, it has no shell assigned, so it can’t log in. […]

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