Posts Tagged ‘data security’

Install and use personal Own Cloud on Debian Linux for better shared data security – OwnCloud a Free Software replacement for Google Drive

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

owncloud-self-hosted-cloud-file-sharing-and-storage-service-for-gnu-linux-howto-install-on-debian

Basicly I am against the use of any Cloud type of service but as nowadays Cloud usage is almost inevitable and most of the times you need some kind of service to store and access remotely your Data from multiple devices such as DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud etc. and using some kind of infrastructure to execute high-performance computing is invitable just like the Private Cloud paid services online are booming nowdays, I decided to give a to research and test what is available as a free software in the field of Clouding (your data) 🙂

Undoubfully, it is really nice fact that there are Free Software / Open Source alternatives to run your Own personal Cloud to store your data from multiple locations on a single point.

The most popular and leading Cloud Collaboration service (which is OpenSource but unfortunately not under GPLv2 / GPV3 – e.g. not fully free software) is OwnCloud.

ownCloud is a flexible self-hosted PHP and Javascript based web application used for data synchronization and file sharing (where its remote file access capabilites are realized by Sabre/Dav an open source WebDav server.
OwnCloud allows end user to easily Store / Manage files, Calendars, Contacts, To-Do lists (user and group administration via OpenID and LDAP), public URLs can be easily, created, the users can interact with browser-based ODF (Open Document Format) word processor , there is a Bookmarking, URL Shortening service integrated, Gallery RSS Feed and Document Viewer tools such as PDF viewer etc. which makes it a great alternative to the popular Google Drive, iCloud, DropBox etc.

The main advantage of using a self-hosted Cloud is that Your data is hosted and managed by you (on your server and your hard drives) and not by some God knows who third party provider such as the upmentioned.
In other words by using OwnCloud you manage your own data and you don't share it ot on demand with the Security Agencies with CIA, MI6, Mussad … (as it is very likely most of publicly offered Cloud storage services keeps track on the data stored on them).

The other disadvantage of Cloud Computing is that the stored data on such is usually stored on multiple servers and you can never know for sure where your data is physically located, which in my opinion is way worse than the option with Self Hosted Cloud where you know where your data belongs and you can do whatever you want with your data keep it secret / delete it or share it on your demand.

OwnCloud has its clients for most popular Mobile (Smart Phone) platforms – an Android client is available in Google Play Store as well as in Apple iTunes besides the clients available for FreeBSD OS, the GNOME desktop integration package and Raspberry Pi.

For those who are looking for additional advanced features an Enterprise version of OwnCloud is also available aiming business use and included software support.

Assuming you have a homebrew server or have hired a dedidacted or VPS server (such as the Ones we provide) ,Installing OwnCloud on GNU / Linux is a relatively easy
task and it will take no more than 15 minutes to 2 hours of your life.
In that article I am going to give you a specific instructions on how to install on Debian GNU / Linux 9 but installing on RPM based distros is similar and straightfoward process.
 

1. Install MySQL / MariaDB database server backend
 

By default OwnCloud does use SQLite as a backend data storage but as SQLite stores its data in a file and is becoming quickly slow, is generally speaking slowre than relational databases such as MariaDB server (or the now almost becoming obsolete MySQL Community server).
Hence in this article I will explain how to install OwnCloud with MariaDB as a backend.

If you don't have it installed already, e.g. it is a new dedicated server install MariaDB with:
 

server:~# apt-get install –yes mariadb-server


Assuming you're install on a (brand new fresh Linux install – you might want to install also the following set of tools / services).

 

server:~# systemctl start mariadb
server:~# systemctl enable mariadb
server:~# mysql_secure_installation


mysql_secure_installation – is to finalize and secure MariaDB installation and set the root password.
 

2. Create necessery database and users for OwnCloud to the database server
 

linux:~# mysql -u root -p
MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE DATABASE owncloud CHARACTER SET utf8;
MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON owncloud.* TO 'owncloud'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'owncloud_passwd';
MariaDB [(none)]> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
MariaDB [(none)]> \q

 

3. Install Apache + PHP necessery deb packages
 

As of time of writting the article on Debian 9.0 the required packages for a working Apache + PHP install for OwnCloud are as follows.

 

server:~# apt-get install –yes apache2 mariadb-server libapache2-mod-php7.0 \
openssl php-imagick php7.0-common php7.0-curl php7.0-gd \
php7.0-imap php7.0-intl php7.0-json php7.0-ldap php7.0-mbstring \
php7.0-mcrypt php7.0-mysql php7.0-pgsql php-smbclient php-ssh2 \
php7.0-sqlite3 php7.0-xml php7.0-zip php-redis php-apcu

 

4. Install Redis to use as a Memory Cache for accelerated / better performance ownCloud service


Redis is an in-memory kept key-value database that is similar to Memcached so OwnCloud could use it to cache stored data files. To install latest redis-server on Debian 9:
 

server:~# apt-get install –yes redis-server

5. Install ownCloud software packages on the server

Unfortunately, default package repositories on Debian 9 does not provide owncloud server packages but only some owncloud-client packages are provided, that's perhaps the packages issued by owncloud does not match debian packages.

As of time of writting this article, the latest available OwnCloud server  version package for Debian is OC 10.

a) Add necessery GPG keys

The repositories to use are provided by owncloud.org, to use them we need to first add the necessery gpg key to verify the binaries have a legit checksum.
 

server:~# wget -qO- https://download.owncloud.org/download/repositories/stable/Debian_9.0/Release.key | sudo apt-key add –

 

b) Add owncloud.org repositories in separete sources.list file

 

server:~# echo 'deb https://download.owncloud.org/download/repositories/stable/Debian_9.0/ /' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list

 

c) Enable https transports for the apt install tool

 

server:~# apt-get –yes install apt-transport-https

 

d) Update Debian apt cache list files and install the pack

 

server:~# apt-get update

 

server:~# apt-get install –yes owncloud-files

 

By default owncloud store file location is /var/www/owncloud but on many servers that location is not really appropriate because /var/www might be situated on a hard drive partition whose size is not big enough, if that's the case just move the folder to another partition and create a symbolic link in /var/www/owncloud pointing to it …


6. Create necessery Apache configurations to make your new self-hosted cloud accessible
 

a) Create Apache config file

 

server:~# vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/owncloud.conf

 

 

Alias /owncloud "/var/www/owncloud/"

<Directory /var/www/owncloud/>
Options +FollowSymlinks
AllowOverride All

<IfModule mod_dav.c>
Dav off
</IfModule>

SetEnv HOME /var/www/owncloud
SetEnv HTTP_HOME /var/www/owncloud

</Directory>

b) Enable Mod_Dav (WebDAV) if it is not enabled yet

 

server:~# ln -sf ../mods-available/dav_fs.conf
server:~# ln -sf ../mods-available/dav_fs.load
server:~# ln -sf ../mods-available/dav.load
server:~# ln -sf ../mods-available/dav_lock.load

c) Set proper permissions for /var/www/owncloud to make upload work properly

 

chown -R www-data: /var/www/owncloud/


d) Restart Apache WebServer (to make new configuration affective)

 

 

server:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart


7. Finalize  OwnCloud Install
 

Access OwnCloud Web Interface to finish the database creation and set the administrator password for the New Self-Hosted cloud
 

http://Your_server_ip_address/owncloud/

By default the Web interface is accessible in unencrypted (insecure) http:// it is a recommended practice (if you already don't have an HTTPS SSL certificate install for the IP or the domain to install one either a self-signed certificate or even better to use LetsEncrypt CertBot to easily create a valid SSL for free for your domain

 

installing-OwnCloud-Web-Config-User-Pass-interface-Owncloud-10-on-Debian-9-Linux-howto

Just fill in in your desired user / pass and pass on the database user / password / db name (if required you can set also a different location for the data directory from the default one /var/www/owncloud/data.

Click Finish Setup and That's all folks!

owncloud-server-web-ui-interface

OwnCloud is successfully installed on the server, you can now go and download a Mobile App or Desktop application for whatever OS you're using and start using it as a Dropbox replacement. In a certain moment you might want to consult also the official UserManual documentation as you would probably need further information on how to manage your owncloud.

Enjoy !

How to improve your web browser security – Better securing your personal identity privacy on the Net

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

improve-browser-security-howto-improve-firefox-chrome-security
Nowadays internet privacy has become a taboo. Many people do understand how vital is it to protect your privacy online.
Unfortunately not much has done much in order to improve their state of security whilst on the net.
In this article you’re about to find out how trusted and secure is the browsing in the Internet and next to it you will find some possibleways and thoughts how you can improve your personal privacy and the amount of information your browser reveals about your (habits, interestest, and, lifestyle) while surfing online.
There are a lot of private information that can leak through a simple web serarch, let’s say you decide to search for some kind of sickness and it’s treatment.. just few minutes later the paid advertisement popping up will be showing up targetting ads related to your previous sickness google search.
This is tiny bit of information your browser reveals, however there is much much more. So let me give you a few more examples:
Let’s say you visit a website with an Adobe Flash browser player enabled. It’s very likely that the website will have flash advertisement this popular this day. If that is the scenario it’s very likely that the flash application is built to use тхе so called flash cookies supported.
You might have never heard about flash cookies but anyways this one of cookies are one of the most malicious cookies ever invented.
One of the main reason they’re so dubious is the fact THEY NEVER EXPIRE!
Though as with normal cookies flash cookies are used for storing user details, let’s say your profile details or settings concerning your youtube video player etc. and this sound nice, market guys use the same features to track what you do online.
Using flash cookies for instance everybody who cratefted a specific adobe flash page is able to list your flash cookies stored browser history!
To partly setup the behaviour of your Flash player and change the defailt flash player settings for good use the flashplayer settings manager

It’s really odd that the only way to configure flash is to configure it via adobe’s webpage this is much sneaky since, God only knows what kind of information as well probably your whole flash browser history and flash cookies is being sent Adobe for later analysis.
Moreover the flash player is a propriatary software and this makes it even more likely to have included some extra spying software and stuff alike ..

To see all the stored information by flash about a websites you have visited check out:

flashplayer settings manager

Honestly I was quite shocked when I saw many websites I have visited for the rest 1.5+ year listed.

From hence since we know how “evil” flash storage manager cookies are, one sure step to increase your browser privacy is to periodically get rid of Flash Storage (Flash Cookies).
To achieve periodical flash cookies wipe out on Linux, below I provide you with a tiny .tcsh script which is tested and is working on Debian and Ubuntu. Get rid of Local Flash Storage shell script for Linux
(Stores data of the websites you have visited using your browser flash player)

To check your general Browser security The Electronic Frontier Foundation has developed a special website to test your browser anonymity visit penoptickclick.eff.org and click the > TEST ME button

In my case all my installed browser plugins were listed as well many information related to what kind of browser I use the version on the architecture I’m running on etc. etc.
Thereafter navigate to about:config and set the variable dom.storage.enabled to false . This will completely disable the DOM cookies which by the way never expire!
DOM cookies aren’t so widely used yet but still it’s possible that some websites online has stareted using them, since they’re completely junky and bad designed for instance DOM a cookie can contant up to (100KB) of information. then it’s best that you disable them completely.
Another recommendable thing to disable on your Iceweasel / Firefox that will tighten up your security is the keyword.enabled variable click twice on it and assure yourself it reads false
Disabling it will prevent the google word suggest to appear each time you type something in Google search box, albeit not every character you type will be sent to Google.

Also a really nice worthy reading is the article explaining dom cookies
Take some time and read it to get a better idea on DOM cookies what they are and why you don’t want them.
Likewise take a look at Flash Cookie Forensics for a bit more insight on the flash cookies

After reading the article about flash cookies, I came to the conclusion that maybe it’s best that they’re completely enabled. Anyways if they’re disabled then many websites won’t work properly which is something we don’t want.
It’s rather strange that the only available way to control your flash and disable the flash cookies is via Flashplayer Web Based Setting Manager
Since it’s “Web Based Manager” and it is hosted on Adobe’s web site this probably means that everything you do through it gets logged by Adobe, not so nice (neither secure) heh ..

It’s recommended also to install and configure the following list of extra Firefox plugins to ensure a bit more Anonimity while surfing on the Internet.

  • Adblock Plus
  • AntiSocial
  • BeeFree
  • Beef Taco
  • BetterPrivacy
  • DownloadHelper
  • Download Statusbar
  • Live HTTP Headers
  • No FB Tracking
  • NoScript
  • RefControl

Now configure AdBlock plus to work with EasyPrivacy+EasyList (by default it works only with EasyList).
To subscribe for ABP EasyPrivacy click here

BeeFree Mozilla Addon .
Is under the GNU GPL license and it helps you defend a bit more your privacy. It’s advantage use is to prevent search engines from knowing which links from their search results is most probably for you to check. Looks like a promising and great stuff
It is said in the add-on website that as a side effect of using the plugin it will probably increase your browser speed.
This post has highly adopted information from the Bulgarian Article by Anton Zinoviev, 2010 About your web browser and the inviolability of your personal life
Big thanks to Anton Zinoviev for the time and effort taken to research on the topic of browser security and write this wonderful thoroughful article.
To configure the BeeFree Firefox security tightening browser addon you will have to type in your browser URL address bar once again
about:config
Now you will have to look up for the following browser config keys:

extensions.beefree.websites.default.header.accept-charset.action
a
Set it’s value to be 2 e.g. extensions.beefree.websites.default.header.accept-charset.action = 2
Now look for the key value extensions.beefree.websites.default.header.accept-charset.value.text and set it’s value to:
*/*
Changing the extensions.beefree.websites.default.header.accept-charset.action = */* will make BeeFree compatible to some securing anti spam programs.
Last thing to do to complete the BeeFree configuration create the key value extensions.beefree.website.generic.header.useragent.action
To create this one press on a random key the last mouse button and select New -> Integer
The value for the newly created extensions.beefree.website.generic.header.useragent.action should be set to 4
Creating this key will instruct beefree to protect your browser from revealing it’s browser version variable.
Interesting to say each restart of the browser will make BeeFree to select a random Firefox Linux or Windows version, dependant of the OS type you use.

The AntiSocial addon will prevent your browser from revealing information to Facebook about your personal interests. It blocks the facebook elements which are being embedded to your browser by some websites.

No FB Tracking stops facebook of keeping an eye on you through the buttons “I like”. Using this buttons facebook can track you even if you’re not logged in or registered in the social network.

Installing all this plugins would take you time but considering the privacy is invaluable time shouldn’t be a concern of you.
Also some of the plugins like NoScript make take some time until you’re used to it but it’s worth to learn using it.
BetterPrivacy is able and will delete all flash cookies when your browser exits, this will prevent that some sites pry on you through the shitty flash cookies technology, this type of cookies NEVER EXPIRE! Hard to swallow but a fact …

In Linux this plugin is reported to work correctly however, in Windows there are dubious reports about it.
This is just a brief overview about how to improve your browsing privacy and therefore general personal data security, there is plenty much already red and said on topic, however I hope this could be some kind of basis for my dear reader for a later research on the topic.