System Auditing

Auditing is the process of ensuring correct implementation with predefined policies. This blog focuses on the specifics when it comes to technical system auditing.

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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Linux vulnerabilities: from detection to treatment

If you worked with a computer the last decade, you know the importance of keeping your software up-to-date. Those who don’t, are stacking up vulnerabilities, waiting for them to being exploited by others. Although Linux and most software are open sourceĀ and can be reviewed, security flaws in software packages remain. While it isn’t easy to close every vulnerability on your system, we can at least create a stable process around it. This guide explains what is available, from vulnerability to […]

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In-depth Linux Guide to Achieve PCI DSS Compliance and Certification

If you work for a company which accepts, processes, or stores credit card details, you might be familiar with the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS). The standard itself is very detailed. Still, it sometimes unclear on what specifically to implement and when. This guide will help with translating the PCI standard to technical security controls on Linux systems. This document has the goal to help you further secure your network and pass the PCI DSS audit. It is important to […]

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Tiger is History, Long Live Modern Alternatives!

The History and Alternatives to the Tiger Security Tool Recently I saw some tweets showing up from an old friend: Tiger. Surprised to see it being promoted, as I know the tool for years, but never seen any new releases in the last years. Both are actually a shame. An outdated tool is usually of lower value. Promoting old tools might actually disappoint others and harm the initial trust in the software. History of Tiger In its day, the tool […]

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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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PCI DSS (v3) Linux: Logging of administrative actions with root privileges (10.2.2)

PCI DSS: Logging of administrative actions with root privileges Companies who need to comply with the PCI DSS standard need to log all actions which are executed by the root user or those accounts with similar administrative privileges. 10.2.2 Verify all actions taken by any individual with root or administrative privileges are logged. The Linux kernel allows the monitoring of executed commands. This monitoring and logging can be done with the Linux audit framework. Using this framework, we can monitor […]

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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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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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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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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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Security Audits – How to Prioritize Audit Findings

Security Audits – How to Prioritize Audit Findings Technical audits or vulnerability scans will reveal a lot of findings. They can be overwhelmed and forcing the reviewer to freeze, not knowing where to start. To overcome this issue, we should prioritize the findings and determine the consequences of each finding for our company. While an open directory listing on a web server might in one situation not be preferred, it would make sense for others. It is the context which […]

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Audit security events on Unix systems

Audit security events on Unix systems Protecting computer networks consists of implementing preventative measures, but especially properly implementing detection methods. These digital tripwires can be used for intrusion detection, or proper handling security events on Unix systems. Security events First we have to define a few events which are or can be security related. To get easily started, we focus on 3 tips to implement security events on Unix systems. 1. File changes Some files you don’t want to change […]

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Hardening Guides and Tools for Red Hat Linux (RHEL)

Hardening Guides and Tools for Red Hat Linux (RHEL) System hardening is an important part in securing computer networks. Each system should get the appropriate security measures to provide a minimum level of trust. In this post we have a look at some of the options when securing a Red Hat based system. This information applies to Red Hat Linux (RHEL), Fedora, CentOS, Scientific Linux and others. Red Hat Red Hat itself has a hardening guide for RHEL 4 and […]

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Auditing Linux processes: The Deep Dive!

Auditing Linux processes From the initial start of the Linux operating system, the first processes are already born. In this article we have a look on dealing with processes. In particular we look at how to do process auditing. Whenever you are an auditor, system administrator or just a Linux enthusiast, you can’t ignore processes and should know how to deal with them. Process listing For most people working on Linux systems, it might be obvious to display running processes […]

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Auditing Linux: what to audit?

Auditing Linux: what to audit? In this article we answer the big question on Linux systems “what to audit?”. Where do you start and what is useful to audit? We apply our three C‘s in this article to determine what we should look for when auditing a Linux system. Current state What is the current state of the system and how does it compare to previous time? Ideal situation: compare current state of the system with a predefined baseline or […]

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