Search My Blog

Sunday, April 14, 2013

How to scan Linux for vulnerabilities with lynis

How to scan Linux for vulnerabilities with lynis

Linuxaria Everything about GNU-Linux and Open source

Pills, Review
 Add comments
Apr 122013

Article by Dan Nanni first published on

As a system administrator, Linux security technician or system auditor, your responsibility can involve any combination of these: software patch management, malware scanning, file integrity checks, security audit, configuration error checking, etc. If there is an automatic vulnerability scanning tool, it can save you a lot of time checking up on common security issues.

One such vulnerability scanner on Linux is lynis. This tool is actually supported on multiple platforms including CentOS, Debian, Fedora, FreeBSD, Mac OS and Ubuntu.

To install lynis on Linux, open a terminal and run the following commands:

$ wget  $ sudo tar xvfvz lynis-1.3.0.tar.gz -C /opt

To scan Linux for vulnerabilities with lynis, run the following.

$ cd /opt/lynis-1.3.0/  $ sudo /opt/lynis-1.3.0/lynis --check-all -Q

Once lynis starts scanning your system, it will perform auditing in a number of categories:

  • System tools: system binaries
  • Boot and services: boot loaders, startup services
  • Kernel: run level, loaded modules, kernel configuration, core dumps
  • Memory and processes: zombie processes, IO waiting processes
  • Users, groups and authentication: group IDs, sudoers, PAM configuration, password aging, default mask
  • Shells
  • File systems: mount points, /tmp files, root file system
  • Storage: usb-storage, firewire ohci
  • NFS
  • Software: name services: DNS search domain, BIND
  • Ports and packages: vulnerable/upgradable packages, security repository
  • Networking: nameservers, promiscuous interfaces, connections
  • Printers and spools: cups configuration
  • Software: e-mail and messaging
  • Software: firewalls: iptables, pf
  • Software: webserver: Apache, nginx
  • SSH support: SSH configuration
  • SNMP support
  • Databases: MySQL root password
  • LDAP services
  • Software: php: php options
  • Squid support
  • Logging and files: syslog daemon, log directories
  • Insecure services: inetd
  • Banners and identification
  • Scheduled tasks: crontab/cronjob, atd
  • Accounting: sysstat data, auditd
  • Time and synchronization: ntp daemon
  • Cryptography: SSL certificate expiration
  • Virtualization
  • Security frameworks: AppArmor, SELinux, grsecurity status
  • Software: file integrity
  • Software: malware scanners
  • Home directories: shell history files

The screenshot of lynis in action is shown below:


Once scanning is completed, the auditing report of your system is generated and stored in /var/log/lynis.log.

The audit report contains warnings for potential vulnerabilities detected by the tool. For example:

$ sudo grep Warning /var/log/lynis.log
[20:20:04] Warning: Root can directly login via SSH [test:SSH-7412] [impact:M]  [20:20:04] Warning: PHP option expose_php is possibly turned on, which can reveal useful information for attackers. [test:PHP-2372] [impact:M]  [20:20:06] Warning: No running NTP daemon or available client found [test:TIME-3104] [impact:M]

The audit report also contains a number of suggestions that can help harden your Linux system. For example:

$ sudo grep Suggestion /var/log/lynis.log
[20:19:41] Suggestion: Install a PAM module for password strength testing like pam_cracklib or pam_passwdqc [test:AUTH-9262]  [20:19:41] Suggestion: When possible set expire dates for all password protected accounts [test:AUTH-9282]  [20:19:41] Suggestion: Configure password aging limits to enforce password changing on a regular base [test:AUTH-9286]  [20:19:41] Suggestion: Default umask in /etc/profile could be more strict like 027 [test:AUTH-9328]  [20:19:42] Suggestion: Default umask in /etc/login.defs could be more strict like 027 [test:AUTH-9328]  [20:19:42] Suggestion: Default umask in /etc/init.d/rc could be more strict like 027 [test:AUTH-9328]  [20:19:42] Suggestion: To decrease the impact of a full /tmp file system, place /tmp on a separated partition [test:FILE-6310]  [20:19:42] Suggestion: Disable drivers like USB storage when not used, to prevent unauthorized storage or data theft [test:STRG-1840]  [20:19:42] Suggestion: Disable drivers like firewire storage when not used, to prevent unauthorized storage or data theft [test:STRG-1846]  [20:20:03] Suggestion: Install package apt-show-versions for patch management purposes [test:PKGS-7394]  . . . .

So what are you waiting for ?
One run can give you some good suggestion on how to improve the security of your system, a regular scan can help you in notice changes and malware.

Go there, more info in Comments...

Popular Posts:

No comments: