The Essential Elements of Linux Security
The Linux operating system is a powerful, immense collection of code. Its users enjoy an incredible amount of control over their environments.
Because Linux lets you, the root user, command and manipulate its operations without a complaint, it's your responsibility to fortify and harden a freshly installed Linux distro, lest you want your server box exploited when it makes its first appearance on the internet.
Laying Off Unnecessary Services
One of the most important steps administrators take to fortify the security of a newly installed Linux distro is to kill off all unnecessary network services—also known as daemons—from the get-to.
Running unused services is not only a wasteful drain on system resources, but it also increases the probability of said service being exploited, allowing unauthorized root access to outsiders for malicious intentions; so it's always a good idea to run only essential network services, making sure you're running the latest, stable releases.
The Red Hat distribution is a popular choice with system administrators, so let's discuss how to disable unwanted daemons for this particular distro.
liquidbinary@arrakis:~$ chkconfig --list | grep on
The above command will spit forth quite a lot of enabled services on your system. For Red Hat, the “/etc/init.d” directory is where all runlevel services reside; navigate to this directory and have a look around.
You'll need to figure out what services you don't want wildly running. For example, let's say you want to disable the “NFS” daemon—the network file system service.
liquidbinary@arrakis:~$ chkconfig nfs off
This should disable the “NFS” service; the next time you boot up your system, the NFS daemon will not be automatically loaded.
An obvious way to keep your Linux environment secure is to select a good root password. Never create a password that can be figured out just by knowing your favorite pet or your hobbies.
A good rule to follow when creating your root password is to use a combination of letters and numbers. Give several of your letters upper and lower cases to further hinder “guess” attempts at the root password.
Solid Linux Security can be obtained by combining the above techniques with a bevy of other Linux security procedures outlined all over the web and by using common sense when administrating your system.
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