Open Source Software and Linux

Feb 11 2009   6:47PM GMT

How secure is your network? (Part 1)

John Little Profile: Xjlittle

After reading this article I began to wonder how secure my home network really is. After giving the article much thought I concluded that my home network is probably not as secure as I would want.

Sure it’s secure, probably above and beyond most home networks. I use iptables as my firewall. Connections from the internet are directed to a particular machine based on the inbound port. SSH connections from the outside are directed to one machine so that you must be able to get to that machine to reach the rest of the network. My web server uses standard apache security. Seems reasonably secure for a home network. Maybe.

After all I’m not a millionaire. I don’t have other people’s confidential information on my network. I’m not the FAA or a bank. No one in their right mind would try and extort money from me based on the information contained on my network. Besides, what little I could give them wouldn’t make it worth their time. However these justifications just don’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

Crackers don’t necessarily just want those things. Sometimes it is just vandalism by tearing up someone’s machine. Or they may want to use a machine to setup a DOS attack. It could be that they want to use the mail server as a mail relay for spam. Whatever it is I don’t want to have to take the time to clean up after them. After all if they can break into the networks listed in the article it would seem rather arrogant of me to think that they couldn’t break into mine.

The question then becomes what to do to make it more secure. Below I’ve created a scope sheet of sorts of work that needs to be done.

1. Disallow ssh root logins
2. Disallow su to root except for certain users
3. Disallow internal ssh logins to any machine on the network. These logins must come from the “jump” machine

What else can I do? I’ll give that some thought. If you have suggestions post them in the comments. It is always interesting to hear how other people secure their networks above and beyond the norms.

In my next post I’ll describe the changes that I’ve made based on the scope of work above.


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