Designing and Using DMZ Networks to Protect Internet Servers
It would seem to be common sense that each host on a DMZ must be thoroughly nailed down. But sure enough, one commonly encounters organizations paranoid (prudent) enough to have a DMZ but not quite paranoid enough to secure their DMZ properly. The good news is that with a little time and a properly suspicious attitude, you can significantly lower any system's exposure to compromise by script kiddies.
Always run the latest stable version of your operating system, software and kernel, and keep current with security patches as they are released.
If everyone followed this simple and obvious tenet, the “Rumors from the Underground” list of hacked web pages on www.hackernews.com would be a lot shorter. As we discussed last month in “Securing DNS”, the vast majority of DNS-based hacks don't apply to the most recent versions of BIND; the same can safely be said for most other Linux network software packages. We all know this, but we don't always find the time to follow through.
A program you don't use for anything important is a program you've got little reason to maintain properly and is, therefore, an obvious target for attackers. This is an even easier thing to fix than old software. At setup time, simply delete or rename all unneeded links in the appropriate runlevel directory in /etc/rc.d/.
For example, if you're configuring a web server that doesn't need to be its own DNS server, you would enter something like the following:
mv /etc/rc.d/rc2.d/S30named /etc/rc.d/rc2.d/disabled_S30named
(Note that your named startup script may have a different name and may exist in different or additional subdirectories of /etc/rc.d.)
While any unneeded service should be disabled, the following deserve particular attention:
RPCservices: Sun's Remote Procedure Control protocol (which is included nowadays on virtually all flavors of UNIX) lets you execute commands on a remote system via rsh, rcp, rlogin, nfs, etc. Unfortunately, it isn't a very secure protocol, especially for use on DMZ hosts. You shouldn't be offering these services to the outside world—if you need their functionality, use ssh (the Secure Shell), which was specifically designed as a replacement for rpc services. Disable (rename) the nfsd and nfsclientd scripts in all subdirectories of /etc/rc.d in which they appear, and comment out the lines corresponding to any r-commands in /etc/inetd.conf. (Warning: local processes sometimes require the RPC portmapper, aka rpcbind—disable this with care, and try re-enabling it if other things stop working).
inetd: The Internet Dæmon is a handy way to use a single process (i.e., inetd) to listen on multiple ports and to invoke the services on whose behalf it's listening on an as-needed basis. Its useful life, however, is drawing to a close: even with TCP Wrappers (which allow one to turn on very granular logging for each inetd service), it isn't as secure as simply running each service as a dæmon. (An FTP server really has no reason not to be running FTPD processes all the time.) Furthermore, most of the services enabled by default in inetd.conf are unnecessary, insecure or both. If you must use inetd, edit /etc/inetd.conf to disable all services you don't need (or never heard of). Note: many rpc services are started in inetd.conf.
linuxconfd: While there aren't any known exploitable bugs in the current version of linuxconf (a system administration tool that can be accessed remotely), CERT reports that this service is commonly scanned for and may be used by attackers to identify systems with other vulnerabilities (CERT Current Activity page 7/31/2000, www.cert.org/current/current_activity.html).
sendmail: Many people think that sendmail, which is enabled by default on most versions of UNIX, is necessary even on hosts that send e-mail only to themselves (e.g., administrative messages such as Ctrl+tab output sent to root by the crontab dæmon). This is not so: sendmail (or postfix, qmail, etc.) is needed only on hosts that must deliver mail to or receive mail from other hosts. sendmail is usually started in /etc/rc.d/rc2.d or /etc/rc.d/rc3.d.
Telnet, FTP and POP: These three protocols have one very nasty characteristic in common: they require users to enter a username and password that are sent in clear text over the network. Telnet and FTP are easily replaced with ssh and its file-transfer utility scp; e-mail can either be automatically forwarded to a different host, left on the DMZ host and read through a ssh session or downloaded via POP using a “local forward” to ssh (i.e., piped through an encrypted Secure Shell session). All three of these services are usually invoked by inetd. These dæmons are usually started by inetd.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide