Linux Kernel Security (SELinux vs AppArmor vs Grsecurity)

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Debian Linux, fedora linux, Gentoo Linux, GNU/Open source, Linux, Linux distribution, Networking, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Security, Slackware, Suse Linux, Ubuntu Linux last updated May 27, 2009

Linux kernel is the central component of Linux operating systems. It is responsible for managing the system’s resources, the communication between hardware and software and security. Kernel play a critical role in supporting security at higher levels. Unfortunately, stock kernel is not secured out of box. There are some important Linux kernel patches to secure your box. They differ significantly in how they are administered and how they integrate into the system. They also allow for easy control of access between processes and objects, processes and other processes, and objects and other objects. The following pros and cons list is based upon my personal experience.

Red Hat / CentOS VSFTPD FTP Server Configuration

Posted on in Categories CentOS, FTP Server, Howto, Iptables, Linux, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Security, User Management last updated May 21, 2009

Vsftpd (Very Secure FTP Daemon) is an FTP server for UNIX-like systems, including CentOS / RHEL / Fedora and other Linux distributions. It supports IPv6, SSL, locking users to their home directories and many other advanced features.

In this guide you will learn:

  1. Setup vsftpd to provide FTP service.
  2. Configure vsftpd.
  3. Configure Firewalls to protect the FTP server.
  4. Configure vsftpd with SSL/TLS.
  5. Setup vsftpd as download only anonymous internet server.
  6. Setup vsftpd with virtual users and more.

Firewall Builder: Generate The Web Server Firewall Cluster Running Linux or OpenBSD

Posted on in Categories Iptables, Linux, OpenBSD, Security last updated March 25, 2009
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This article continues mini-series started with the post Introduction to Firewall Builder 4.0. This article is also available as a section in the “Firewall Builder Cookbook” chapter of Firewall Builder Users Guide 4.0.

Firewall Builder 4.0 is currently in beta testing phase. If you find it interesting after reading this post, please download and try it out. Source code archives, binary deb and rpm packages for popular Linux distributions and commercially distributed Windows and Mac OS X packages are available for download here.

In this post I demonstrate how Firewall Builder can be used to generate firewall configuration for a clustered web server with multiple virtual IP addresses. The firewall is running on each web server in the cluster. This example assumes the cluster is built with heartbeat using “old” style configuration files, but which high availability software is used to build the cluster is not really essential. I start with the setup that consists of two identical servers running Linux but in the end of the article I am going to demonstrate how this configuration can be converted to OpenBSD with CARP.

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Linux Firewall Cluster Configuration with Firewall Builder v4.:

Firewall Builder: Convert Linux Iptables Configuration to OpenBSD and PF

Posted on in Categories Iptables, Linux, OpenBSD, Security last updated March 25, 2009

Lets see how much effort it is going to take to convert this configuration to entirely different firewall platform – PF on OpenBSD. There are different ways to do this. I could make a copy of each member firewall (linux-test-1 and linux-test-2), set platform and host OS in the copy to PF and OpenBSD and then create new cluster object. This would be a sensible way because it preserves old objects which helps to roll back in case something does not work out. However, to make the explanation shorter, I am going to make the changes in place by modifying existing objects.

Introduction to Firewall Builder 4.0

Posted on in Categories Iptables, PF Firewall, Security last updated March 16, 2009

This is the first article in the mini-series of two articles about Firewall Builder.

Systems administrators have a choice of modern Open Source and commercial firewall platforms at their disposal. They could use netfilter/iptables on Linux, PF, ipfilter, ipfw on OpenBSD and FreeBSD, Cisco ASA (PIX) and other commercial solutions. All these are powerful implementations with rich feature set and good performance. Unfortunately, managing security policy manually with all of these remains non-trivial task for several reasons. Even though the configuration language can be complex and overwhelming with its multitude of features and options, this is not the most difficult problem in my opinion. Administrator who manages netfilter/iptables, PF or Cisco firewall all the time quickly becomes an expert in their platform of choice. To do the job right, they need to understand internal path of the packet inside Linux or BSD kernel and its interaction with different parts of packet filtering engine. Things get significantly more difficult in the installations using different OS and platforms where the administrator needs to switch from netfilter/iptables to PF to Cisco routers and ASA to implement coordinated changes across multiple devices. This is where making changes get complicated and probability of human error increases. Unfortunately typos and more significant errors in firewall or router access list configurations lead to either service downtime or security problems, both expensive in terms of damage and time required to fix.

Do You Blame Users For IT Security?

Posted on in Categories Linux, Linux desktop, Security, Sys admin, UNIX, Windows, windows vista last updated March 12, 2009

An interesting article published by security guru Bruce Schneier:

Blaming the victim is common in IT: users are to blame because they don’t patch their systems, choose lousy passwords, fall for phishing attacks, and so on. But, while users are, and will continue to be, a major source of security problems, focusing on them is an unhelpful way to think.

=> Blaming the user is easy – but it’s better to bypass them altogether

Uninstall IE8 Under Windows 7

Posted on in Categories Security, Windows, Windows server, windows vista last updated March 5, 2009

IE (Internet explore) was first released as part of the add-on package Plus! for Windows 95 in 1995. IE is fully integrated into MS operating system. IE has been subjected to many security vulnerabilities such as spyware, adware, and computer viruses. Removing Internet Explorer does have a number of consequences. Applications that depend on libraries installed by IE will fail to function, or have unexpected behaviors. A just-leaked build of Windows 7 lets users remove Internet Explorer (IE), the first time that Microsoft has offered the option since it integrated the browser with Windows in 1997.

Security Through Obscurity: MAC Address Filtering ( Layer 2 Filtering )

Posted on in Categories data center, fedora linux, FreeBSD, Gentoo Linux, GNU/Open source, Hardware, Iptables, Linux, Networking, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Security, Ubuntu Linux, UNIX, Windows, windows vista, Wireless networking last updated February 17, 2009

MAC Filtering (layer 2 address filtering) refers to a security access control methodology whereby the 48-bit address assigned to each network card is used to determine access to the network. Iptables, pf, and IPFW can block a certain MAC address on a network, just like an IP. One can deny or allow from MAC address like 00:1e:2a:47:42:8d using open source firewalls. MAC address filtering is often used to secure LAN or wireless network / devices. Is this technique effective?