Securing my Raspberry Pi! Part 2

Checking out Lynis

Posted by Jessica Wilson on 2015-09-28

After having my raspberry pi webserver up for quite some time, I've been able to watch the different things that are thrown at it. It made me start thinking, what vulnerabilities do I already have that can be exploited? What have I inadvertently misconfigured to make things that much easier to break in, and crash my pi?

Vulnerability Management

The biggest question becomes, how do I identify the vulnerabilities I've created, or defaults I've left default without realizing I should/could change them. My solution -Lynis, an open source vulnerability auditing tool. It uses typical security standards, and creates a nice neatly packaged report.

Lynis is quite easy to install and run. You can either use a package manager such as yum or apt-get, or download the tarball and install that way. I would highly recommend downloading the tarball to install, as it will always be the most up to date method. You can use the method below to download Lynis

tar zxvf lynis-2.1.1.tar.gz
cd lynis

Do note - that is the most up to date version as of this post. After performing the above commands, you have to change ownership of a few files to ensure you can run this propery as root. By running it as root, Lynis is able to create logs.

sudo chown root:root -R include/<br>
sudo chown root:root lynis<br>
sudo ./lynis audit system

Once Lynis starts running, you will have to press Enter through each section. You can run it with -Q for "Quick" and have it run automatically, however, I personally would rather review each section before continuing, which is why I omitted it. Keep in mind, all vulnerability scanners can do is go through basic configurations and essentially only catch the lower hanging fruits, as it were. There is no way it could catch the next major Zero Day. I decided I wanted to pursue this because after reviewing my logs, the malicious attempts on my pi would have been low hanging fruit had I not updated my pi frequently, or allowed directory transversal, etc. This gave me a great way to clean up the little things.

So what were the results?

Of course, I will not reveal all my results, but an interesting one that I found was that I had left "Expose PHP" set to on, which was default. According to the expose_php boolean "Exposes to the world that PHP is installed on the server, which includes the PHP version within the HTTP header (e.g., X-Powered-By: PHP/5.3.7)." While this is not a critical area an attacker can get in at, it does give an attack intimate knowledge of my webserver which in turn can use to compromise my pi. While I could have done more research, and possibly discovered this flaw on my own, using Lynis was much more convenient way to find it. It was default configurations such as that I was worried about. Fixing this bad configuration was quite simple, I used the following steps:

vim /etc/php*/apache*/php.ini

Next I found this section in the file, and changed the option from "on" to "off" option

That was it! Again, such a simple thing to fix, but I am not sure I would have found it without the help of Lynis.

What's the plan from now on?

I'm going to continue to fix what Lynis already found for me. After that, I will most likely do a scan once a month or so, or whenever I start up a new service. If I am not constantly changing and updating things, I won't get any new results from the scan. So to me, it would be useless to run it too often. Unless of course, I want to see all the green okay messages, letting me know my system is fine :-)