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Bulletproof Your System: Linux Security Best Practices

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Linux is a popular choice for most developers for its versatility, security features, and robustness. The more tech savvy individuals prefer it, as it provides the perfect environment to manage and create servers, and for development purposes. But no matter how good the system is, no system is immune to threats. To keep your Linux environment healthy it is important to understand the fundamentals of Linux security. Moreover, one must also be aware of the best security practices. Our blog today is focused on the important aspects of Linux security which will help you secure your own system effectively. 

The Fundamentals of Linux Security 

Group Management and User

Various users can access Linux at the same time, hence it’s called a multi-user operating system. Effective group and user management is important for maintaining Linux security.

  • All users have their own unique user ID (UID) and a home directory
  • Users can be compiled into groups, allowing admin to define what permissions to give each user or group.

Best Practices

  • Create unique and strong passwords for each of your users
  • Create different accounts for different roles.
  • Delete inactive user accounts and review the system regularly.
  • Instead of logging in as a root user, you can use the sudo command to get temporary admin privileges

Ownership and File Permissions

Linux has a permission model that controls access to directories and files. Every file has a group, owner, and sets of permissions for who can execute, write, and read the file. 

  • Group permissions apply to the files group users
  • Owner permissions apply to the file owner
  • Other permissions will apply to all other users

Best Practices

  • You can set appropriate permissions by using the chmod command
  • You can change file ownership by choosing the chown command
  • Avoid giving write permissions to all users (chmod 777)
  • Do regular audits of file permissions to see if they are set correctly.

Using AppArmor and SELinux

AppArmore and Security-Enhanced Linux are Linux kernel security modules that provide extra access control.

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  • AppArmor: It is much simpler to use and set up compared to SELinux. It restricts program capabilities by user profiles.
  • SELinux: It is a complex system to configure but is more granular. It is used to implement mandatory access control (MAC) policies. 

Best Practices

  • Update and regularly review your Linux security policies
  • Predefine your profiles and policies from the very start
  • Configure and enable AppArmor or SELinux according to your needs

Essential Security Tools


Firewalls can control outgoing and incoming network traffic based on determined security rules previously set in the system. Linux provides various firewall solutions:

  • UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall): has a very easy to use interface and is ideal for new users
  • Iptables: A strong and flexible firewall tool that is more suited for experienced users.

Best Practices

  • Set the firewall rules to allow only necessary traffic to pass through
  • Use iptables for complex configurations and ufw for straightforward ones. 
  • Regularly update and review the firewall rules

SSH Security 

SSH security is essential to protecting remote access. Secure Shell (SSH) is a secure remote login protocol and other secure network services over insecure networks. 

Best Practices:

  • Disable root login through SSH
  • Instead of passwords use SSH keys for authentication
  • Change default SSH port to non-standard port from 22
  • Use two factor authentication (2FA) for SSH access. 

Intrusion Detection Systems

The intrusion detection system (IDS) keeps a check on system activities for policy violations and malicious actions. 

  • Tripwire: Is used to monitor file integrity and alert admin about changes. 
  • AIDE (Advanced Intrusion Detection System): Similar to Tripwire, AIDE is a file integrity checker that scans the file system and compares it with a baseline database. 

Best Practices

  • Investigate all suspicious activities as soon as possible and review IDS alerts regularly. 
  • Run and regularly update the IDS to detect unauthorized changes to the system. 

Monitoring and Log Management 

Logs are essential for investigating Linux security problems and diagnosing system issues. By regularly collecting, storing, and analyzing log data from different system components you can effectively manage your logs.  

Best Practices

  • Use logrotate and rsyslog which are centralized logging solutions to manage files.
  • Regularly check all logs to check for unusual activities
  • Install log analysis tools like ELK stack or Logwatch, Elasticsearcg, Kibana, etc. 

Hardening Linux Systems

Kernel and Software Updates

The Linux kernel is a vital software that should be installed and kept updated to ensure the security of your Linux systems. There are regular patch updates that help protect systems against new Linux security threats. 

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Best Practices

  • Schedule regular checkups and updates using package managers like yum, apt, or dnf.
  • You can also use tools like unattended upgrades to automate Linux security updates. 

Minimizing Attack Surface

Reducing the number of applications and services running on your system will minimize potential attacks. As fewer systems are active to overtake. Chances are that you will be hacked through a third party server, aka a live working application with its own cloud servers

Best Practices

  • Delete or disable application and services that are not being used
  • Tools like ss or netstat can list open ports and services. 
  • Grant only necessary permissions to applications and services using the principle of least privilege (PoLp)

Disk Encryption

Encrypting sensitive data has the benefit of ensuring file protection even if the physical storage is in the hands of a malicious user. 

Best Practices

  • Use LUKS (Linux Unified Key Setup) for full disk encryption
  • Use tools like eCryptfs to encrypt sensitive data

Securing Network Services

Attackers commonly target the network services. Hence, securing such services is vital to maintaining Linux security.

Best Practices

  • Use more secure protocols for instance use HTTPS instead of HTTP or STFP instead of FTP
  • You can restrict network services by using IP whitelisting and firewall rules
  • Regularly check your network services for vulnerabilities 

Implementation of Advanced Security Measures

Vpn Using

Virtual private networks (VPNs) provide secure remote access and protect data in transit by encrypting network traffic. Think of it as an extra layer of security that a hacker must bypass in order to access your system. 

Best Practices

  • Use strong encryption software like WireGuard or OpenVPN
  • Restrict access control through your VPN so that only authorized users can access your system. 

Two Factor Authentication

This adds an extra layer of security to your system as the hacker would need to bypass an extra lock system. 

Best Practices

  • Use 2-factor authentication for admin access and critical services
  • Use reliable 2FA methods like authenticators and tokens. 

Compliance and Security Audits 

Regularly auditing your system helps you identify and fix all security problems. Keeping your system up to date with the latest security standards can also go a long way in making your environment secure. 

Best Practices

  • Follow security standards like ISO and CIS
  • Use tools like Lynic and OpenScap to conduct regular security audits.

How to Make Hosting on Linux Secure?

Linux may be a popular system for development and management. But like any other platform it has its vulnerabilities. You can keep your Linux hosting environment free from malicious entities. Follow these steps to keep your hosting on Linux secure:

Keep it Minimal

Only install the software that you need. Installing unnecessary services not only takes ram and memory it also creates Linux security vulnerabilities. You can use tools like yum list or dpkg -I to find and remove packages that are not needed.

User Management

Create a dedicated user with sudo privileges for admin based tasks, instead of using your root account. This minimizes all damage that may come from compromised accounts.

Strong Password

Create unique passwords for all your users. Consider 2 factor authentication and related login layers to offer more protection.


Disable login passwords and rely solely on SSH keys. Such keys are like digital passports and grants access to the ones that have them.

Add a Firewall

A firewall controls all incoming and outgoing traffic and most Linux systems have a built-in firewall like iptables. You can configure such firewalls to deny unathorized access. Making Linux security environment easier to manage.

Keep Softwares Updates

Regularly update your Linux system and the software in it. Updates often include security patches that fix vunerabilies. Regularly keeping your softwares upto date enhances your Linux security.

Keep Monitoring

Secuirty is a 24/7 kind of a problem. So it is important to never let your guard down. Monitor servers regularly to check for suspicious activities. Use tools lile Fail2ban that blocks IP addresses that have repeated failed login attempts.


Keeping your Linux system requires you to combine fundamental security practices with a multi-layered protection approach. This means that keep your system updated, do regular security audits, layer your passwords with various authentication protocols, etc. By following the instructions and advice in this blog, you should have no problem enhancing your security. Remember that security is a constant process, that requires a proactive approach. Moreover, given how quickly software is updated and technology is moving forward, you should regularly interact with the Linux communities. Until next time guys, Good Luck!

Mubashir Ijaz

I write to help and inform people about various topics. My passion for learning and to share knowledge allows me excel as a content creator
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