Paranoid Penguin - Security Features in Debian 3.1
I'd be remiss if I didn't at least briefly discuss one of my favorite characteristics of Debian, and the main reason I'm running it on my new Web server—Debian's relatively glacial release schedule. On the one hand, the delay in releasing Debian 3.1 (three years, or 21 dog/computer years after 3.0) was a bit extreme, and the Debian team has pledged a more predictable release cycle, probably one year from now on. But it's also true that stability enhances security.
Put another way, if you use Debian to run the latest desktop applications, or other things that depend on the very latest hardware drivers, you may be happier with the Debian variant Ubuntu, which has a predictable and short (six-month) release cycle. If, however, you want to build an appliance system that chugs along in a corner, requiring little ongoing maintenance other than regular security patches, Debian's longer release cycle is positively luxurious. In many situations, it's preferable to run somewhat-outdated but fully security-patched applications than it is to have to upgrade the entire operating system every six months (or sooner). I admit, however, that I am among the world's laziest system administrators!
Like UNIX itself, Debian provides the security-minded user with maximal power, flexibility and variety of tools, at the cost of complexity. Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 is probably not for you if you have an aversion to man pages or Google. But it's very flexible indeed. This article scratches only the surface of Debian's potential as a platform for secure server operations or for security scanning and auditing.
Next month, I'll conclude my “Security Features” trilogy with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Until then, take care!
Resources for this article: /article/8885.
Mick Bauer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Network Security Architect for one of the US's largest banks. He is the author of the O'Reilly book Linux Server Security, 2nd edition (formerly called Building Secure Servers With Linux), an occasional presenter at information security conferences and composer of the “Network Engineering Polka”.
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- PostgreSQL, the NoSQL Database
- Sharing Admin Privileges for Many Hosts Securely
- HPC Cluster Grant Accepting Applications!
- Internet of Things Blows Away CES, and it May Be Hunting for YOU Next
- Designing with Linux
- Wondershaper—QOS in a Pinch
- Ideal Backups with zbackup
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 beta available on IBM Power Platform
- Slow System? iotop Is Your Friend
- January 2015 Issue of Linux Journal: Security
Editorial Advisory Panel
Thank you to our 2014 Editorial Advisors!
- Jeff Parent
- Brad Baillio
- Nick Baronian
- Steve Case
- Chadalavada Kalyana
- Caleb Cullen
- Keir Davis
- Michael Eager
- Nick Faltys
- Dennis Frey
- Philip Jacob
- Jay Kruizenga
- Steve Marquez
- Dave McAllister
- Craig Oda
- Mike Roberts
- Chris Stark
- Patrick Swartz
- David Lynch
- Alicia Gibb
- Thomas Quinlan
- Carson McDonald
- Kristen Shoemaker
- Charnell Luchich
- James Walker
- Victor Gregorio
- Hari Boukis
- Brian Conner
- David Lane