Distributing SSH keys: using ssh-copy-id, manually or automated

Distribution of SSH keys When you want to allow public key authentication, you have to first create a SSH keypair. Next step is then the distribution of the public key to the other systems. Let’s have a look at a few options, including using the ssh-copy-id utility. Option 1: Manually In the past, you had to log in manually to the new system and do things yourself. Especially if you created your key with a tool like PuTTYgen on Windows. […]

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Security Integration: Configuration Management and Auditing

Configuration Management and Auditing Increased strength when combining tools for automation and security of IT environments Tools like Ansible, Chef, and Puppet are used a lot for rapid deployment and keeping systems properly configured. These tools in itself are great for ensuring consistency over your systems. So what is Configuration Management? Configuration management is the art of keeping systems properly configured. Usually companies start small, which equals manual configuration. Each time a new system is deployed, it is configured manually. […]

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Using unattended-upgrades on Debian and Ubuntu

Using unattended-upgrades on Debian and Ubuntu To counter the biggest threat to software packages, they should be updated on a regular basis. Vulnerabilities are discovered on a daily basis, which also requires we monitor daily. Software patching takes time, especially when testing and reboots are needed. Fortunately, systems running Debian and Ubuntu can use unattended-upgrades to achieve automated patch management for security updates. Installation With most software packages, unattended-upgrades has to be installed. root@system:~# apt-get install unattended-upgrades If you are […]

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Why Linux Security Hardening Scripts Might Backfire

Why Linux Security Hardening Scripts Might Backfire System administrators and engineers love to automate things. In the quest to get everything replaced by a script, automated hardening of systems is often requested. Unfortunately this automation might later backfire, resulting in a damaged trust in system hardening. Why System Hardening? The act of increasing system defenses is a good practice. It helps protecting your valuable data, so it can only be used by authorized people. System hardening itself consists of minimizing […]

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Security Automation for Linux: Are Humans Still Needed?

Security automation for Linux: Are humans still needed? The problem with humans is that they are smart yet slow at the same time. They can’t react to simultaneous events and aren’t always working. Besides that, they make mistakes, have to deal with budgets and internal company politics. Information security is impacted by these effects as well. As you might have guessed the solution is in automation. SCAP (Security Content Automation Protocol) is one of the answers. Especially the automation part is interesting, […]

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OpenSCAP on CentOS 7 – Installing from source

OpenSCAP on CentOS 7 Installing from source Security automation is hot and we love it. One way is using the OpenSCAP toolkit. Unfortunately it is not mature enough, so you might want to build and install it from source. We share our findings while creating our test environment. Install required components On our minimum installed CentOS 7 system, we need to install a few components. Most are related to compiling C++ and parsing XML files. Since we like to use […]

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CAATTs for Linux: Lynis

CAATTs for Linux Within the field of the audit profession the usage of CAAT (Computer-assisted audit techniques) or CAATTs (computer-assisted audit tools and techniques) is growing. Lynis is filling this gap for Linux and Unix based systems. It’s a well-known and stable tool in this area and improves the audit process by automation. Only a few items could then be checked manually. This saves time, makes the audit more predictable and increases the quality of the overall audit. Lynis Based […]

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