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Linux Gazette: Building a Secure Gateway, part II

Jul 15, 2000, 20:13 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chris Stoddard)

"In the last article, we installed Linux with only those packages we absolutly needed. (If you have not read my previous article, you should do so now, as it is the base from which this is built on.) Now comes the detail work, turning your gateway into fortress. The first thing to understand is there is no way to be completely secure. There is just not enough time to do it all, Corporations employ huge IT departments, whose sole purpose in life is to secure their networks, and still they get cracked. Just accept it and get on with your life. Our real goal here is to keep honest people honest, keep the Script Kiddies out and slow the rest down, giving you opprotunity to discover them. Ideally, this should be done right after the clean install, before the system ever gets put on the Internet. This article assumes you know something about Linux, how to install it, how to edit various configuration files, and that you can log in as root."

"I also assume you are setting up a firewall system and have no intention of running DNS, DHCP, web, ftp or telnet server. If you intend to run any of these services, I recommend setting up seperate machines. Setup a DMZ on your network, a system which is secured but allows connections from system outside your network. This way if an intruder does penetrate your server, he will have to start all over to penetrate your firewall system and you will hopefully discovered his breakin before he is able to get access to your internal network."

"In the world of Computer Security, Knowledge is Power. Frankly the Security Experts are always one step behind the Crackers, most security issues are not discovered by the Experts, but by the Crackers and are plugged only after they have been exploited. You need to keep up to date on new problems, at the very least you should be updating the packages as they come out. Type "rpm -qa > packages.txt", this gives you a list of the packages and version numbers installed on your system, then go to Redhat's web site and download the updated packages. While you are there you should read the security advisories and implement any changes they suggest. If you are really proactive, subscribe to both the BugTraq and CERT mailing lists."

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