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Super simple hardening

A super simple way to make Ubuntu servers connected to the Internet somewhat more secure.


I create alot of Ubuntu test servers, and I wanted some way to make them more secure. I did alot of research on securing Ubuntu servers, and I boiled it down to a simple process to harden them. After doing this process for some time, I converted it into a number of simple Bash shell scripts that can be run in order to harden / further secure an Ubuntu server. The result is this repo.


Before running these scripts, please read the license file that comes with these scripts.

Also note that these scripts address certain security risks that an Ubuntu server might have connected to the Internet. There are other risks that these scripts do not address. If in doubt, consult a Unix security expert before running these scripts.

The Steps


You need to be root to run these scripts.

Before you start running the steps, do the following

  1. enter: cd /tmp
  2. enter: apt-get -y update
  3. enter: apt-get -y install git
  4. enter: git clone
  5. enter: cd super*
  6. enter: chmod +x *.sh

You are now ready to run the shell scripts to

Running this script adds a user that is goint to be part of the sudo and adm groups. This script also lets you set a password. You may want to add more than one userid. When you run this program, pass the name of the new user as a parameter.

  • E.g., enter: ./ newuser

You will be prompted for a password for the new user, newuser

Once runs successful, you can now log in to the system with the userid newuser. Do this now.

Running this script backs up files that will be changed in step 3. The backed up files will have a name of backup.yyyymmdd_hhmmss.filename

Before running, you will need to change the file sshd_config.add. There is a line in this file that starts with the word AllowUsers. For every user you created with, list that user on this line.

  • E.g., if you added two users, newuser1 and newuser2, then the line should read:
    • AllowUsers newuser1 newuser2

Running this script will change files to make the server more secure. It changes the following files:

  • /etc/ssh/sshd_config - to prevent ssh login for root
  • /etc/fstab - to secure shared memory
  • /etc/host.conf - to prevent IP Spoofing
  • /etc/sysctl.conf - to disable IPv6, ICMP and broadcast requests.

Running this script will reverse the files changed by You need to pass the backup prefix backup.yyyymmdd_hhmmss attached to the backup files. Enter:

  • To get the name of the backup prefix, enter: ls backup*
    • you can see the prefix attached to files in your current directory

Only run this if you feel something has gone wrong or if you want to reverse the changes made with for any reason.

Running this script runs the tail command against each of the changed files, so you can see that the changes have occurred after Or if you run this after running, you can see that the changes made have been reversed.

Running this script installs a number of software packages that can help make your system more secure. Specifically it adds:

  • logwatch - a tool to scan your logs for security attacks
  • ufw - a software filewall
  • denyhosts - a tool to help with DDoS attacks
  • clamav and clamtk - antivirus software

I recommend running logwatch regularly and if you don't already have a firewall, then at least use ufw. Use Google/Bing/Duckduckgo to get more information on this tools.

After the script adds those tool, it runs an update on all packages.


After running all of these steps, restart sshd to prevent ssh login as root. But before you do, login to your server with root and at least one other new user that you create. Ok, now to restart sshd, enter:

  • service ssh restart

Now try and ssh to the server and login as root. You should be unsuccessful. However you should be able to ssh into the server as the newuser and then you should be able to use sudo to run the commands you need.

If you want to run a logwatch report to see what kind of attacks that people or machines are trying to run against your Ubuntu server, enter:

  • logwatch

One last note

This approach has worked for me. It's far from the last word on Ubuntu server security, but it will help. If you have better approaches to securing your servers, stick with what you think is best.


A super simple way to harden your server







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