Posts Tagged ‘linux kernel’

Apache Webserver: No space left on device: Couldn’t create accept lock /var/lock/apache2/accept.lock – Fix

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

If out of a sudden your Apache webserver crashes and is refusing to start up by manually trying to restart it through its init script on Debian Linux servers – /etc/init.d/apache2 and RPM based ones: /etc/init.d/httpd

Checking in php_error.log there was no shown errors related to loading PHP modules, however apache's error.log show following errors:

[Wed Apr 08 14:20:14 2015] [error] [client] client denied by server configuration: /var/www/sploits/info/trojans_info/tr_data/y3190.html
[Wed Apr 08 14:20:39 2015] [warn] pid file /var/run/ overwritten — Unclean shutdown of previous Apache run?
[Wed Apr 08 14:20:39 2015] [emerg] (28)No space left on device: Couldn't create accept lock (/var/lock/apache2/accept.lock.15974) (5)
[Wed Apr 08 14:25:39 2015] [warn] pid file /var/run/ overwritten — Unclean shutdown of previous Apache run?
[Wed Apr 08 14:25:39 2015] [emerg] (28)No space left on device: Couldn't create accept lock (/var/lock/apache2/accept.lock.16790) (5)
[Wed Apr 08 14:27:03 2015] [warn] pid file /var/run/ overwritten — Unclean shutdown of previous Apache run?
[Wed Apr 08 14:27:03 2015] [emerg] (28)No space left on device: Couldn't create accept lock (/var/lock/apache2/accept.lock.16826) (5)
[Wed Apr 08 14:27:53 2015] [warn] pid file /var/run/ overwritten — Unclean shutdown of previous Apache run?
[Wed Apr 08 14:27:53 2015] [emerg] (28)No space left on device: Couldn't create accept lock (/var/lock/apache2/accept.lock.16852) (5)
[Wed Apr 08 14:30:48 2015] [warn] pid file /var/run/ overwritten — Unclean shutdown of previous Apache run?
[Wed Apr 08 14:30:48 2015] [emerg] (28)No space left on device: Couldn't create accept lock (/var/lock/apache2/accept.lock.17710) (5)
[Wed Apr 08 14:31:21 2015] [warn] pid file /var/run/ overwritten — Unclean shutdown of previous Apache run?
[Wed Apr 08 14:31:21 2015] [emerg] (28)No space left on device: Couldn't create accept lock (/var/lock/apache2/accept.lock.17727) (5)
[Wed Apr 08 14:32:40 2015] [warn] pid file /var/run/ overwritten — Unclean shutdown of previous Apache run?
[Wed Apr 08 14:32:40 2015] [emerg] (28)No space left on device: Couldn't create accept lock (/var/lock/apache2/accept.lock.17780) (5)
[Wed Apr 08 14:38:32 2015] [warn] pid file /var/run/ overwritten — Unclean shutdown of previous Apache run?

As you can read the most likely reason behind above errors preventing for apache to start is /var/run/  unable to be properly written due to lack of disk space or due to disk quota set for users including for userID with which Apache is running.

First thing I did is of course to see how much free space is on the server:

df -h
Filesystem                     Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/vg00-rootvol       4.0G  1.7G  2.2G  44% /
udev                           7.8G  204K  7.8G   1% /dev
tmpfs                           24G     0   24G   0% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1                      486M   40M  422M   9% /boot
/dev/mapper/vg00-lv_crashdump 1008M   34M  924M   4% /crashdump
/dev/mapper/vg00-homevol       496M   26M  445M   6% /home
/dev/mapper/vg00-lv_opt         12G  1.4G  9.9G  13% /opt
/dev/mapper/vg00-tmpvol        2.0G   68M  1.9G   4% /tmp
/dev/mapper/vg00-varvol        7.9G  609M  6.9G   8% /var
/dev/mapper/vg00-crashvol      1.9G   35M  1.8G   2% /var/crash
/dev/mapper/vg00-auditvol      124M  5.6M  113M   5% /var/log/audit
/dev/mapper/vg00-webdienste     60G   12G   48G  19% /webservice


As visible from above df command output , there is enough disk on HDD, so this is definitely not the issue:

Then I Checked whether there is Quota enabled on the Linux server with repquota command shows there are no quotas enabled:

# repquota / var/
repquota: Mountpoint (or device) / not found or has no quota enabled.
repquota: Mountpoint (or device) /var not found or has no quota enabled.
repquota: Not all specified mountpoints are using quota.


So obviously the only few left possible reason for Apache failing to start after invoked via init script is  either due to left tainted semaphores or due to some server hardware  RAM problem / or a dying  hard disk with bad blocks.

So what are Semaphores? Generally speaking Semaphores are apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals between applications (something like sockets).They're used for communicating between the active processes of a certain application. In the case of Apache, they’re used to communicate between the parent and child processes, hence if Apache can’t properly write and coordinate these things down, then it can’t communicate properly with all of the processes it starts and hence the Main HTTPD process can't spawn probably its childs preventing Webserver to enter "started mode" and write its PID file.

To check general information about system semaphore arrays there is the ipcs -s command, however my experience is that ipcs -a is more useful (because it lists generally all kind of semaphores) including Semaphore Shared Memory Signals which are the most likely to cause you the problem.

ipcs -a

—— Shared Memory Segments ——–
key        shmid      owner      perms      bytes      nattch     status

—— Semaphore Arrays ——–
key        semid      owner      perms      nsems
0x00000000 22970368   www-data   600        1

—— Message Queues ——–
key        msqid      owner      perms      used-bytes   messages

As you see in my case there is a Semaphore Arrays which had to be cleaned to make Apache2 be able to start again.

To clean all left semaphores (arrays) preventing Apache from start properly, use below for one liner bash loop:

for i in `ipcs -s | awk '/www-data/ {print $2}'`; do (ipcrm -s $i); done
ipcrm -m 0x63637069

Note that above for loop is specific to Debian on CentOS / Fedora / RHEL and other Linuxes the username with which stucked semaphores might stay will be apache or httpd

Depending on the user with which the Apache Webserver is running, run above loop like so:

For RPM based distros (CentOS / RHEL):


for i in `ipcs -s | awk '/apache/ {print $2}'`; do (ipcrm -s $i); done
ipcrm -m 0x63637069

For other distros such as Slackware or FreeBSD or any custom compiled Apache webserver:

for i in `ipcs -s | awk '/httpd/ {print $2}'`; do (ipcrm -s $i); done
ipcrm -m 0x63637069

If there is also Shared Memory Segments you can remove them with ipcrm i.e.:

ipcrm -m 0x63637069

An alternative way to get rid of left uncleaned semaphores is with xargs:

ipcs -s | grep nobody | awk ‘ { print $2 } ‘ | xargs ipcrm

Even though this fixes the issue I understood my problems were due to exceeding semaphores, to check default number of set semaphores on Linux Kernel level as well as few Semaphore related values run below sysctl:

sysctl -a | egrep kernel.sem\|kernel.msgmni
kernel.msgmni = 15904

kernel.sem = 250        32000   32      128

As you can see the number of maximum semaphores is quite large so in my case the failure because of left semaphores was most likely due to some kind of Cracker / Automated bot scanner attack or someone trying malicious against the webserver or simply because of some kind of Apache bug or enormous high load the server faced.

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Preventing packages on Debian and Ubuntu Linux to not update on system updates

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

On Debian based GNU / Linux distros, there are some critical packages which need to be disabled to update during the common routine apt-get update && apt-get upgrade which is a almost daily part of Debian sysadmin living. Example for packages which are good to mark not to upgrade are for example; linux kernel, java virtual machine, adobe flash plugin,  etc.

Setting a package to omit upgrade on system package update for adobe flash plugin for example is with:

# echo adobe-flashplugin hold | dpkg –set-selections
debian:~# echo adobe-flash-properties-gtk hold | dpkg --set-selections
debian:~# echo flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound hold | dpkg --set-selections

To do deb package update on hold for kernel;


debian:~# echo linux-image-generic hold | dpkg --set-selections
debian:~# echo linux-image-3.2.0-38-generic | dpkg --set-selections

Do the same for as many packages which seem to break up on updates and when, you explicitly want remove the hold/s run:

debian:~# echo adobe-flashplugin install | dpkg --set-selections
debian:~# echo linux-image-generic install | dpkg --set-selections




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Resolving “nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.” flood message in dmesg Linux kernel log

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

On many busy servers, you might encounter in /var/log/syslog or dmesg kernel log messages like

nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet

to appear repeatingly:

[1737157.057528] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.160357] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.260534] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.361837] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.462305] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.564270] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.666836] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.767348] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.868338] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.969828] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.969928] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet
[1737157.989828] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet
[1737162.214084] __ratelimit: 83 callbacks suppressed

There are two type of servers, I've encountered this message on:

1. Xen OpenVZ / VPS (Virtual Private Servers)
2. ISPs – Internet Providers with heavy traffic NAT network routers

I. What is the meaning of nf_conntrack: table full dropping packet error message

In short, this message is received because the nf_conntrack kernel maximum number assigned value gets reached.
The common reason for that is a heavy traffic passing by the server or very often a DoS or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Sometimes encountering the err is a result of a bad server planning (incorrect data about expected traffic load by a company/companeis) or simply a sys admin error…

– Checking the current maximum nf_conntrack value assigned on host:

linux:~# cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/netfilter/ip_conntrack_max

– Alternative way to check the current kernel values for nf_conntrack is through:

linux:~# /sbin/sysctl -a|grep -i nf_conntrack_max
error: permission denied on key 'net.ipv4.route.flush'
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max = 65536
error: permission denied on key 'net.ipv6.route.flush'
net.nf_conntrack_max = 65536

– Check the current sysctl nf_conntrack active connections

To check present connection tracking opened on a system:


linux:~# /sbin/sysctl net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_count
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_count = 12742

The shown connections are assigned dynamicly on each new succesful TCP / IP NAT-ted connection. Btw, on a systems that work normally without the dmesg log being flooded with the message, the output of lsmod is:

linux:~# /sbin/lsmod | egrep 'ip_tables|conntrack'
ip_tables 9899 1 iptable_filter
x_tables 14175 1 ip_tables

On servers which are encountering nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet error, you can see, when issuing lsmod, extra modules related to nf_conntrack are shown as loaded:

linux:~# /sbin/lsmod | egrep 'ip_tables|conntrack'
nf_conntrack_ipv4 10346 3 iptable_nat,nf_nat
nf_conntrack 60975 4 ipt_MASQUERADE,iptable_nat,nf_nat,nf_conntrack_ipv4
nf_defrag_ipv4 1073 1 nf_conntrack_ipv4
ip_tables 9899 2 iptable_nat,iptable_filter
x_tables 14175 3 ipt_MASQUERADE,iptable_nat,ip_tables


II. Remove completely nf_conntrack support if it is not really necessery

It is a good practice to limit or try to omit completely use of any iptables NAT rules to prevent yourself from ending with flooding your kernel log with the messages and respectively stop your system from dropping connections.

Another option is to completely remove any modules related to nf_conntrack, iptables_nat and nf_nat.
To remove nf_conntrack support from the Linux kernel, if for instance the system is not used for Network Address Translation use:

/sbin/rmmod iptable_nat
/sbin/rmmod ipt_MASQUERADE
/sbin/rmmod rmmod nf_nat
/sbin/rmmod rmmod nf_conntrack_ipv4
/sbin/rmmod nf_conntrack
/sbin/rmmod nf_defrag_ipv4

Once the modules are removed, be sure to not use iptables -t nat .. rules. Even attempt to list, if there are any NAT related rules with iptables -t nat -L -n will force the kernel to load the nf_conntrack modules again.

Btw nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet. message is observable across all GNU / Linux distributions, so this is not some kind of local distribution bug or Linux kernel (distro) customization.

III. Fixing the nf_conntrack … dropping packets error

– One temporary, fix if you need to keep your iptables NAT rules is:

linux:~# sysctl -w net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max=131072

I say temporary, because raising the nf_conntrack_max doesn't guarantee, things will get smoothly from now on.
However on many not so heavily traffic loaded servers just raising the net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max=131072 to a high enough value will be enough to resolve the hassle.

– Increasing the size of nf_conntrack hash-table

The Hash table hashsize value, which stores lists of conntrack-entries should be increased propertionally, whenever net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max is raised.

linux:~# echo 32768 > /sys/module/nf_conntrack/parameters/hashsize
The rule to calculate the right value to set is:
hashsize = nf_conntrack_max / 4

– To permanently store the made changes ;a) put into /etc/sysctl.conf:

linux:~# echo 'net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_count = 131072' >> /etc/sysctl.conf
linux:~# /sbin/sysct -p

b) put in /etc/rc.local (before the exit 0 line):

echo 32768 > /sys/module/nf_conntrack/parameters/hashsize

Note: Be careful with this variable, according to my experience raising it to too high value (especially on XEN patched kernels) could freeze the system.
Also raising the value to a too high number can freeze a regular Linux server running on old hardware.

– For the diagnosis of nf_conntrack stuff there is ;

/proc/sys/net/netfilter kernel memory stored directory. There you can find some values dynamically stored which gives info concerning nf_conntrack operations in "real time":

linux:~# cd /proc/sys/net/netfilter
linux:/proc/sys/net/netfilter# ls -al nf_log/

total 0
dr-xr-xr-x 0 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 ./
dr-xr-xr-x 0 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 ../
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 0
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 1
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 10
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 11
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 12
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 2
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 3
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 4
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 5
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 6
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 7
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 8
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 9


IV. Decreasing other nf_conntrack NAT time-out values to prevent server against DoS attacks

Generally, the default value for nf_conntrack_* time-outs are (unnecessery) large.
Therefore, for large flows of traffic even if you increase nf_conntrack_max, still shorty you can get a nf_conntrack overflow table resulting in dropping server connections. To make this not happen, check and decrease the other nf_conntrack timeout connection tracking values:

linux:~# sysctl -a | grep conntrack | grep timeout
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_generic_timeout = 600
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_sent = 120
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_recv = 60
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 432000
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_fin_wait = 120
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_close_wait = 60
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_last_ack = 30
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_time_wait = 120
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_close = 10
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_max_retrans = 300
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_unacknowledged = 300
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_udp_timeout = 30
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_udp_timeout_stream = 180
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_icmp_timeout = 30
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_events_retry_timeout = 15
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_generic_timeout = 600
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_sent = 120
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_sent2 = 120
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_recv = 60
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 432000
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_fin_wait = 120
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_close_wait = 60
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_last_ack = 30
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_time_wait = 120
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_close = 10
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_max_retrans = 300
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_udp_timeout = 30
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_udp_timeout_stream = 180
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_icmp_timeout = 30

All the timeouts are in seconds. net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_generic_timeout as you see is quite high – 600 secs = (10 minutes).
This kind of value means any NAT-ted connection not responding can stay hanging for 10 minutes!

The value net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 432000 is quite high too (5 days!)
If this values, are not lowered the server will be an easy target for anyone who would like to flood it with excessive connections, once this happens the server will quick reach even the raised up value for net.nf_conntrack_max and the initial connection dropping will re-occur again …

With all said, to prevent the server from malicious users, situated behind the NAT plaguing you with Denial of Service attacks:

Lower net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_generic_timeout to 60 – 120 seconds and net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established to stmh. like 54000

linux:~# sysctl -w net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_generic_timeout = 120
linux:~# sysctl -w net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 54000

This timeout should work fine on the router without creating interruptions for regular NAT users. After changing the values and monitoring for at least few days make the changes permanent by adding them to /etc/sysctl.conf

linux:~# echo 'net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_generic_timeout = 120' >> /etc/sysctl.conf
linux:~# echo 'net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 54000' >> /etc/sysctl.conf

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Boost local network performance (Increase network thoroughput) by enabling Jumbo Frames on GNU / Linux

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Jumbo Frames boost local network performance in GNU / Linux

So what is Jumbo Frames? and why, when and how it can increase the network thoroughput on Linux?

Jumbo Frames are Ethernet frames with more than 1500 bytes of payload. They can carry up to 9000 bytes of payload. Many Gigabit switches and network cards supports them.
Jumbo frames is a networking standard for many educational networks like AARNET. Unfortunately most commercial ISPs doesn't support them and therefore enabling Jumbo frames will rarely increase bandwidth thoroughput for information transfers over the internet.
Hopefully in the years to come with the constant increase of bandwidths and betterment of connectivity, jumbo frames package transfers will be supported by most ISPs as well.
Jumbo frames network support is just great for is small local – home networks and company / corporation office intranets.

Thus enabling Jumbo Frame is absolutely essential for "local" ethernet networks, where large file transfers occur frequently. Such networks are networks where, there is often a Video or Audio streaming with high quality like HD quality on servers running File Sharing services like Samba, local FTP sites,Webservers etc.

One other advantage of enabling jumbo frames is reduce of general server overhead and decrease in CPU load / (CPU usage), when transferring large or enormous sized files.Therefore having jumbo frames enabled on office network routers with GNU / Linux or any other *nix OS is vital.

Jumbo Frames traffic is supported in GNU / Linux kernel since version 2.6.17+ in earlier 2.4.x it was possible through external third party kernel patches.

1. Manually increase MTU to 9000 with ifconfig to enable Jumbo frames

debian:~# /sbin/ifconfig eth0 mtu 9000

The default MTU on most GNU / Linux (if not all) is 1500, to check the default set MTU with ifconfig:

linux:~# /sbin/ifconfig eth0|grep -i mtu

To take advantage of Jumbo Frames, all that has to be done is increase the default Maximum Transmission Unit from 1500 to 9000

For those who don't know MTU is the largest physical packet size that can be transferred over the network. MTU is measured by default in bytes. If a information has to be transferred over the network which exceeds the lets say 1500 MTU (bytes), it will be chopped and transferred in few packs each of 1500 size.

MTUs differ on different netework topologies. Just for info here are the few main MTUs for main network types existing today:

  • 16 MBit/Sec Token Ring – default MTU (17914)
  • 4 Mbits/Sec Token Ring – default MTU (4464)
  • FDDI – default MTU (4352)
  • Ethernet – def MTU (1500)
  • IEEE 802.3/802.2 standard – def MTU (1492)
  • X.25 (dial up etc.) – def MTU (576)
  • Jumbo Frames – def max MTU (9000)

Setting the MTU packet frames to 9000 to enable Jumbo Frames is done with:

linux:~# /sbin/ifconfig eth0 mtu 9000

If the command returns nothing, this most likely means now the server can communicate on eth0 with MTUs of each 9000 and therefore the network thoroughput will be better. In other case, if the network card driver or card is not a gigabit one the cmd will return error:

SIOCSIFMTU: Invalid argument

2. Enabling Jumbo Frames on Debian / Ubuntu etc. "the Debian way"

a.) Jumbo Frames on ethernet interfaces with static IP address assigned Edit /etc/network/interfaces and you should have for each of the interfaces you would like to set the Jumbo Frames, records similar to:

Raising the MTU to 9000 if for one time can be done again manually with ifconfig

debian:~# /sbin/ifconfig eth0 mtu 9000

iface eth0 inet static
mtu 9000

For each of the interfaces (eth1, eth2 etc.), add a chunk similar to one above changing the changing the IPs, Gateway and Netmask.

If the server is with two gigabit cards (eth0, eth1) supporting Jumbo frames add to /etc/network/interfaces :

iface eth0 inet static
mtu 9000

iface eth1 inet static
mtu 9000

b.) Jumbo Frames on ethernet interfaces with dynamic IP obtained via DHCP

Again in /etc/network/interfaces put:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp
post-up /sbin/ifconfig eth0 mtu 9000

3. Setting Jumbo Frames on Fedora / CentOS / RHEL "the Redhat way"

Enabling jumbo frames on all Gigabit lan interfaces (eth0, eth1, eth2 …) in Fedora / CentOS / RHEL is done through files:

  • /etc/sysconfig/network-script/ifcfg-eth0
  • /etc/sysconfig/network-script/ifcfg-eth1

etc. …
append in each one at the end of the respective config:


[root@fedora ~]# echo 'MTU=9000' >> /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth

a quick way to set Maximum Transmission Unit to 9000 for all network interfaces on on Redhat based distros is by executing the following loop:

[root@centos ~]# for i in $(echo /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth*); do \echo 'MTU=9000' >> $i

P.S.: Be sure that all your interfaces are supporting MTU=9000, otherwise increase while the MTU setting is set will return SIOCSIFMTU: Invalid argument err.
The above loop is to be used only, in case you have a group of identical machines with Lan Cards supporting Gigabit networks and loaded kernel drivers supporting MTU up to 9000.

Some Intel and Realtek Gigabit cards supports only a maximum MTU of 7000, 7500 etc., so if you own a card like this check what is the max MTU the card supports and set it in the lan device configuration.
If increasing the MTU is done on remote server through SSH connection, be extremely cautious as restarting the network might leave your server inaccessible.

To check if each of the server interfaces are "Gigabit ready":

[root@centos ~]# /sbin/ethtool eth0|grep -i 1000BaseT
1000baseT/Half 1000baseT/Full
1000baseT/Half 1000baseT/Full

If you're 100% sure there will be no troubles with enabling MTU > 1500, initiate a network reload:

[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/network restart

4. Enable Jumbo Frames on Slackware Linux

To list the ethernet devices and check they are Gigabit ones issue:

bash-4.1# lspci | grep [Ee]ther
0c:00.0 Ethernet controller: D-Link System Inc Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (rev 11)
0c:01.0 Ethernet controller: D-Link System Inc Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (rev 11)

Setting up jumbo frames on Slackware Linux has two ways; the slackware way and the "universal" Linux way:

a.) the Slackware way

On Slackware Linux, all kind of network configurations are done in /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf

Usual config for eth0 and eth1 interfaces looks like so:

# Config information for eth0:
# Config information for eth1:

To raise the MTU to 9000, the variables MTU[0]="9000" and MTU[1]="9000" has to be included after each interface config block, e.g.:

# Config information for eth0:
# Config information for eth1:

bash-4.1# /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 restart

b.) The "Universal" Linux way

This way is working on most if not all Linux distributions.
Insert in /etc/rc.local:

/sbin/ifconfig eth0 mtu 9000 up
/sbin/ifconfig eth1 mtu 9000 up

5. Check if Jumbo Frames are properly enabled

There are at least two ways to display the MTU settings for eths.

a.) Using grepping the MTU from ifconfig

linux:~# /sbin/ifconfig eth0|grep -i mtu
linux:~# /sbin/ifconfig eth1|grep -i mtu

b.) Using ip command from iproute2 package to get MTU

linux:~# ip route get
local dev lo src
cache mtu 9000 advmss 1460 hoplimit 64

linux:~# ip route show dev wlan0 proto kernel scope link src
default via

You see MTU is now set to 9000, so the two server lans, are now able to communicate with increased network thoroughput.
Enjoy the accelerated network transfers 😉


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Creator of Linux kernel Linus Torvalds with a biblical name, Pope Linus second Pope of Rome

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Western Roman Catholic Pope Linus picture, Pope after Saint apostle Peter

Linus's name is encountered once in the Scriptures (The Holy Bible) in the second book part of the New Testament scriptures:

I really like King James English version of the bible, here is the text extracted from there, mentioning Linus's name:

2 Timothy 4:21
Doe thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee,
and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. (From KJV 1611 Translation)

Here is a modernized version of the same verse taken from the New American Standard Bible Version (1995):

2 Timothy 4:21
Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you,
also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

- New American Standard Version (1995)

Other curious fact maybe, even uknown to Linus Torvalds himself is Saint Linus used to be the first bishop of Rome, after the Apostles bishopship.
This makes Saint Linus the second in place Roman Catholic Pope after Saint Peter in early Western Church. There are some early sources which says Pope Clement I was the second pope of Rome, however probably this sources are erroneous, since some very important early written sources like the Apostolic Constitutions states Linus was the first bishop of Rome and was ordained by St. Paul. The same documents says Pope Linus was succeeded by Pope Clement – ordained by saint Peter.

Below's paste is taken directly from cofirming about Pope Linus being the sacond Roman Catholic Pope:

(a net), a Christian at Rome, known to St. Paul and to
Timothy, (2 Timothy 4:21) who was the first bishop of Rome after the apostles. (A.D. 64.)

Something Pope Linus is known with is, to have issued a church decree that woman should cover their heads in church.This ancient church tradition is still observed more or less in the Orthodox Church. It is not known much about how Saint Pope ruled the early Western Church but since the western and eastern Church used to be in communion in these early days, this means the nowdays Roman Catholic saint Linus is probably a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well.
According to some unprovable written sources Pope Linus later suffered martyrdom and was buried in Vatican Hill next to saint apostle Peter.

St. Linus according to Church tradition passed away in the 1st securury A.D.
Below's paste is taken directly from a multilingual website location for reading the bible

(a net), a Christian at Rome, known to St. Paul and to
Timothy, (2 Timothy 4:21) who was the first bishop of Rome after the apostles. (A.D. 64.)

I've merged a picture of how saint Linus used to look with one of the pictures of Linus Torvalds. It's rather funny they actually look alike 😉 🙂 🙂

Saint Linus and Linus Torvalds creator of GNU Linux kernel

The creator of GNU/Linux kernel Linus Torvalds might not be a saint in Christian sense, but his deed is definitely saintly as he initiated the creation of the Linux kernel and decided to share its source and publish it under GPL (General Public License).
The phenomenon of GNU / Linux Free Operating System existent today and specific type of development is definitely a miracle. The general philosophy of sharing with neighbor your software is also very close to the Christian philosophy of sharing. Actually too many of the ideas of the free software and "open source" movements resemble purely Christian ideas.

The software sharing philosophy has become a reality thanks to Richard Stallman and his GNU Project, however the existence of GNU / Linux as a complete operating system become reality thanks to the Linus torvalds kernel efforts which is known under the code name Linux. Talking about names, maybe not much will know, that Linux kernel used to have a different name in the early stage of its development, its first code name was FreaX

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How to disable IPv6 on Debian / Ubuntu / CentOS and RHEL Linux

Friday, December 9th, 2011

I have few servers, which have automatically enabled IPv6 protocols (IPv6 gets automatically enabled on Debian), as well as on most latest Linux distribituions nowdays.

Disabling IPv6 network protocol on Linux if not used has 2 reasons:

1. Security (It’s well known security practice to disable anything not used on a server)
Besides that IPv6 has been known for few criticil security vulnerabilities, which has historically affected the Linux kernel.
2. Performance (Sometimes disabling IPv6 could have positive impact on IPv4 especially on heavy traffic network servers).
I’ve red people claiming disabling IPv6 improves the DNS performance, however since this is not rumors and did not check it personally I cannot positively confirm this.

Disabling IPv6 on all GNU / Linuces can be achieved by changing the kernel sysctl settings net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 by default net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 equals 1 which means IPv6 is enabled, hence to disable IPv6 I issued:

server:~# sysctl net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6=0

To set it permanently on system boot I put the setting also in /etc/sysctl.conf :

server:~# echo 'net.ipv6.conf.all.disable = 1 >> /etc/sysctl.conf

The aforedescribed methods should be working on most Linux kernels version > 2.6.27 in that number it should work 100% on recent versions of Fedora, CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu.

To disable IPv6 protocol on Debian Lenny its necessery to blackist the ipv6 module in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist by issuing:

echo 'blacklist ipv6' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist

On Fedora / CentOS there is a another universal “Redhat” way disable IPv6.

On them disabling IPv6 is done by editting /etc/sysconfig/network and adding:


I would be happy to hear how people achieved disabling the IPv6, since on earlier and (various by distro) Linuxes the way to disable the IPv6 is probably different.

Alto to stop Iptables IPV6 on CentOS / Fedora and RHEL issue:

# service ip6tables stop

# service ip6tables off

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A sysctl Linux variable to change randomly temporary the PC mac address for IPv6 and increase anonymity on IPv6 networks

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

To prevent tracking and increase anonymity in IPv6 networks the Linux kernel has a variable to change randomly the MAC identifier. This feature will be very useful in terms of security in the short future, when all the IPv4 IP addresses are finished. The UIE (Extended Unified Udentifier) for an ipv6 address can be changed with command:

sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.all.use_tempaddr=2 Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 has the UIE enabled by default, enabling the random MAC changes automatically for a host cvan be done as usual by adding the net.ipv6.conf.all_use_tempaddr=2 to /etc/sysctl.conf

On an IPv6 network every ifconfig eth0 down and ifconfig eth0 up will instruct the lan card to be set a different MAC address for the ipv6 ip on the interface.

Changing the UIE randomly however also have security downsides if the host gets infected with a Virus or Worm. The security downsides of the enabled UIE affects mainly Windows hosts on IPv6 networks as UIE variable is enabled by default there.I’ve found this great tip in an article in the latest Linux Magazine October 2011. Its the first time I saw a paper Linux Magazine, the magazine contains a lot of helpful info on the latest Linux developments and latest trends in the Linux world. Subscription to receive the magazine via normal post is for the magazine costs 6.65 EUR per month (80 EUR) yearly. The 80 euro yearly includes 12 CDS (each magazine is bundled with a newly launched new version of a Linux distribution).
There is also a cheaper subscription for the magazine which costs 64.90 EUR.

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How to make NAT enable hosts in a local network to access the internet, create port forwarding to local IPs behind the router using iptables

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

I’m bulding new iptables firewall on one Linux server. The Debian GNU/Linux is required to act as firewall do Network Adress Translation for a small network of office PCs as well as forward some of the inbound ports to hosts from the local network located behind the router.

The local network besides the router had an IP addressing in the class C network e.g. (

First I procceded and enabled the Network Address Translation via the Linux kernel variable:

linux:~# sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
linux:~# echo 'net.ipv4.ip_forward=1' >> /etc/sysctl.conf

Initially I even forgot to switch on the net.ipv4.ip_forward to 1 (by default this value is set to 0) – GNU/Linux’s default network behaviour is not predetermined to act as network router.
However, since I haven’t configured Network Address Translation for quite some time it completely slipped my mind!

Anyways next the actual iptables rule which makes NAT possible I used is:

linux:~# /sbin/iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s ! -d -j SNAT --to-source

Whether is the External IP address assigned to the router on eth0

With this very simple rules now Network the local network is capable of accessing the Internet withotu problem.

It’s a good time to say that still many system administrators, still erroneously use MASQUERADE rules instead of SNAT .
IP MASQUERADING is an ancestry from ipchains and these days should be completely abandonded, especially where no often change of primary IP address to access the internet is made.
For dial-ups or other kind of networking, where the IP addresses are often changed still IP MASQUERADING might be a good idea though.

My next goal was to make the Linux router to do port forwarding of Traffic which arrives on port 80 to a IIS server assigned with a local IP address of
I did the webserver (port 80), port forwarding from IP to with the iptables rule:

linux:~# /sbin/iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -d -p tcp -m tcp --dport 80 -j DNAT --to-destination

There was a requirement to do port forwarding for a Windows remote Desktop running on standard port 3389 from the router to the internal Windows IP address running the IIS webserver, however the company required me to only allow access to the rdesktop 3389 port to certain real IP addresses.
Initially I thought about using the above PREROUTING rule which makes the port redirection to the IIS server and only change port 80 to port 3389 , and then use filter table INPUT chain rules like:

/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -s xx1.xx2.xx3.xx4,1xx,2xx,3xx,4xx, -p tcp -m tcp --dport 3389 -j ACCEPT/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 3389 -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-port-unreachable

However this did not work out, so I decided to give a try to do the same within the filter table using the FORWARD chain, like so:

FORWARD/sbin/iptables -A FORWARD -p tcp -m tcp -s xx1.xx2.xx3.xx4,1xx,2xx,3xx,4xx, -p tcp -m tcp --dport 3389 -j ACCEPT
/sbin/iptables -A FORWARD -p tcp -m tcp --dport 3389 -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-port-unreachable

Adding this rules did not added any filtering to the forwarded remote desktop port. I suspected that somehow probably my above PREROUTING nat rules are read before any other rules and therefore automatically allows any IP address to port fortward traffic.
I’ve checked the iptables documentation and it seems my guess was partially right.

When some kind of network traffic enters the iptables firewall it first goes through the PREROUTING channel and then the traffic flows in a certain order.
iptables packet flow diagram

The iptables network packets flow is clearly seen in above’s diagram a thorough looks gives a very good idea on how packet is being processed by iptables

Finally as I couldn’t think about a good solution on how to only filter the port redirected traffic, which always firstly entered in the POSTROUTING chain, I’ve consulted with the guys in in #Netfilter.

I’m quite thanksful as a guy nicknamed Olipro has given me a pretty good picture on the port forwarding POSTROUTING problem and has provided me with a very logical easy and great fix.
He suggested that I only do port forwarding for certain IP addresses instead of allowing all IP addresses and then lookup for a way to allow only some of them and filter the rest.

The iptables rule to restrict the incoming traffic to the remote desktop forwarded port 3389 to few only allowed IP addresses looks like so:

linux:~# /sbin/iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -d -s xx1.xx2.xx3.xx4,1xx,2xx,3xx,4xx, -p tcp -m tcp –dport 3389 -j DNAT –to-destination

Now the three sample IPs passed xx1.xx2.xx3.xx4,1xx,2xx,3xx,4xx, has added to port forward traffic on 3389 to

By the way I did not know that newer versions of iptables support passing by multiple IP addresses to the –source or –destination IP. This is really great feature I’ve learned from the good guys from #Netfilter. However one should be careful when using the multiple IPs with -s or -d, it’s really important that the passed consequent IPs has no space between the , delimiter.

Now that’s all my task is completed. All computerse inside the Network on the Linux router freely can access the Internet, all IPs are also capable to access the IIS server located behind the NAT as well as only certain IPs are capable of accessing to the IIS remote desktop.
Hope the article helps somebody 😉

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How to improve Linux kernel security with GrSecurity / Maximum Linux kernel security with GrSecurity

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

In short I’ll explain here what is Grsecurity for all those who have not used it yet and what kind of capabilities concerning enhanced kernel security it has.

Grsecurity is a combination of patches for the Linux kernel accenting at the improving kernel security.

The typical application of GrSecurity is in the field of Linux systems which are administered through SSH/Shell, e.g. (remote hosts), though you can also configure grsecurity on a normal Linux desktop system if you want a super secured Linux desktop ;).

GrSecurity is used heavily to protect server system which require a multiple users to have access to the shell.

On systems where multiple user access is required it’s a well known fact that (malicious users, crackers or dumb script kiddies) get administrator (root) privileges with a some just poped in 0 day root kernel exploit.
If you’re an administrator of a system (let’s say a web hosting) server with multiple users having access to the shell it’s also common that exploits aiming at hanging in certain daemon service is executed by some of the users.
In other occasions you have users which are trying to DoS the server with some 0 day Denial of Service exploit.
In all this cases GrSecurity having a kernel with grsecurity is priceless.

Installing grsecurity patched kernel is an easy task for Debian and Ubuntu and is explained in one of my previous articles.
This article aims to explain in short some configuration options for a GrSecurity tightened kernel, when one have to compile a new kernel from source.

I would skip the details on how to compile the kernel and simply show you some picture screens with GrSecurity configuration options which are working well and needs to be set-up before a make command is issued to compile the new kernel.

After preparing the kernel source for compilation and issuing:

linux:/usr/src/kernel-source$ make menuconfig

You will have to select options like the ones you see in the pictures below:

[nggallery id=”8″]

After completing and saving your kernel config file, continue as usual with an ordinary kernel compilation, e.g.:

linux:/usr/src/kernel-source$ make
linux:/usr/src/kernel-source$ make modules
linux:/usr/src/kernel-source$ su root
linux:/usr/src/kernel-source# make modules_install
linux:/usr/src/kernel-source# make install
linux:/usr/src/kernel-source# mkinitrd -o initrd.img-2.6.xx 2.6.xx

Also make sure the grub is properly configured to load the newly compiled and installed kernel.

After a system reboot, if all is fine you should be able to boot up the grsecurity tightened newly compiled kernel, but be careful and make sure you have a backup solution before you reboot, don’t blame me if your new grsecurity patched kernel fails to boot! You’re on your own boy 😉
This article is written thanks to based originally on his article in Bulgarian. If you’re a Bulgarian you might also checkout static’s blog

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