Posts Tagged ‘updates’

Install and configure rkhunter for improved security on a PCI DSS Linux / BSD servers with no access to Internet

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021


rkhunter or Rootkit Hunter scans systems for known and unknown rootkits. The tool is not new and most system administrators that has to mantain some good security servers perhaps already use it in their daily sysadmin tasks.

It does this by comparing SHA-1 Hashes of important files with known good ones in online databases, searching for default directories (of rootkits), wrong permissions, hidden files, suspicious strings in kernel modules, commmon backdoors, sniffers and exploits as well as other special tests mostly for Linux and FreeBSD though a ports for other UNIX operating systems like Solaris etc. are perhaps available. rkhunter is notable due to its inclusion in popular mainstream FOSS operating systems (CentOS, Fedora,Debian, Ubuntu etc.).

Even though rkhunter is not rapidly improved over the last 3 years (its last Official version release was on 20th of Febuary 2018), it is a good tool that helps to strengthen even further security and it is often a requirement for Unix servers systems that should follow the PCI DSS Standards (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards).

Configuring rkhunter is a pretty straight forward if you don't have too much requirements but I decided to write this article for the reason there are fwe interesting options that you might want to adopt in configuration to whitelist any files that are reported as Warnings, as well as how to set a configuration that sets a stricter security checks than the installation defaults. 

1. Install rkhunter .deb / .rpm package depending on the Linux distro or BSD

  • If you have to place it on a Redhat based distro CentOS / Redhat / Fedora

[root@Centos ~]# yum install -y rkhunter


  • On Debian distros the package name is equevallent to install there exec usual:

root@debian:~# apt install –yes rkhunter

  • On FreeBSD / NetBSD or other BSD forks you can install it from the BSD "World" ports system or install it from a precompiled binary.

freebsd# pkg install rkhunter

One important note to make here is to have a fully functional Alarming from rkhunter, you will have to have a fully functional configured postfix / exim / qmail whatever mail server to relay via official SMTP so you the Warning Alarm emails be able to reach your preferred Alarm email address. If you haven't installed postfix for example and configure it you might do.

– On Deb based distros 

[root@Centos ~]#yum install postfix

– On RPM based distros

root@debian:~# apt-get install –yes postfix

and as minimum, further on configure some functional Email Relay server within /etc/postfix/

# vi /etc/postfix/
relayhost = []

2. Prepare rkhunter.conf initial configuration

Depending on what kind of files are present on the filesystem it could be for some reasons some standard package binaries has to be excluded for verification, because they possess unusual permissions because of manual sys admin monification this is done with the rkhunter variable PKGMGR_NO_VRFY.

If remote logging is configured on the system via something like rsyslog you will want to specificly tell it to rkhunter so this check as a possible security issue is skipped via ALLOW_SYSLOG_REMOTE_LOGGING=1. 

In case if remote root login via SSH protocol is disabled via /etc/ssh/sshd_config
PermitRootLogin no variable, the variable to include is ALLOW_SSH_ROOT_USER=no

It is useful to also increase the hashing check algorithm for security default one SHA256 you might want to change to SHA512, this is done via rkhunter.conf var HASH_CMD=SHA512

Triggering new email Warnings has to be configured so you receive, new mails at a preconfigured mailbox of your choice via variable


# vi /etc/rkhunter.conf




# Needed for corosync/pacemaker since update 19.11.2020


# enabled ssh root access skip



# Email address to sent alert in case of Warnings


Optionally if you're using something specific such as corosync / pacemaker High Availability cluster or some specific software that is creating /dev/ files identified as potential Risks you might want to add more rkhunter.conf options like:

# Allow PCS/Pacemaker/Corosync
# Needed for corosync/pacemaker since update 19.11.2020

# tomboy creates this one
# created by libv4l
# created by spice video
# created by mdadm
# 389 Directory Server
# squid proxy
# squid ssl cache
# Allow podman


3. Set the proper mirror database URL location to internal network repository


Usually  file /var/lib/rkhunter/db/mirrors.dat does contain Internet server address where latest version of mirrors.dat could be fetched, below is how it looks by default on Debian 10 Linux.

root@debian:/var/lib/rkhunter/db# cat mirrors.dat 

As you can guess a machine that doesn't have access to the Internet neither directly, neither via some kind of secure proxy because it is in a Paranoic Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Network with many firewalls. What you can do then is setup another Mirror server (Apache / Nginx) within the local PCI secured LAN that gets regularly the database from official database on (by installing and running rkhunter –update command on the Mirror WebServer and copying data under some directory structure on the remote local LAN accessible server, to keep the DB uptodate you might want to setup a cron to periodically copy latest available rkhunter database towards the http://mirror-url/path-folder/)

# vi /var/lib/rkhunter/db/mirrors.dat


A mirror copy of entire db files from Debian 10.8 ( Buster ) ready for download are here.

Update entire file property db and check for rkhunter db updates


# rkhunter –update && rkhunter –propupdate

[ Rootkit Hunter version 1.4.6 ]

Checking rkhunter data files…
  Checking file mirrors.dat                                  [ Skipped ]
  Checking file programs_bad.dat                             [ No update ]
  Checking file backdoorports.dat                            [ No update ]
  Checking file suspscan.dat                                 [ No update ]
  Checking file i18n/cn                                      [ No update ]
  Checking file i18n/de                                      [ No update ]
  Checking file i18n/en                                      [ No update ]
  Checking file i18n/tr                                      [ No update ]
  Checking file i18n/tr.utf8                                 [ No update ]
  Checking file i18n/zh                                      [ No update ]
  Checking file i18n/zh.utf8                                 [ No update ]
  Checking file i18n/ja                                      [ No update ]



4. Initiate a first time check and see whether something is not triggering Warnings

# rkhunter –check


As you might have to run the rkhunter multiple times, there is annoying Press Enter prompt, between checks. The idea of it is that you're able to inspect what went on but since usually, inspecting /var/log/rkhunter/rkhunter.log is much more easier, I prefer to skip this with –skip-keypress option.

# rkhunter –check  –skip-keypress

5. Whitelist additional files and dev triggering false warnings alerts

You have to keep in mind many files which are considered to not be officially PCI compatible and potentially dangerous such as lynx browser curl, telnet etc. might trigger Warning, after checking them thoroughfully with some AntiVirus software such as Clamav and checking the MD5 checksum compared to a clean installed .deb / .rpm package on another RootKit, Virus, Spyware etc. Clean system (be it virtual machine or a Testing / Staging) machine you might want to simply whitelist the files which are incorrectly detected as dangerous for the system security.

Again this can be achieved with


Some Cluster softwares that are preparing their own /dev/ temporary files such as Pacemaker / Corosync might also trigger alarms, so you might want to suppress this as well with ALLOWDEVFILE


If Warnings are found check what is the issue and if necessery white list files due to incorrect permissions in /etc/rkhunter.conf .


Re-run the check until all appears clean as in below screenshot.


Fixing Checking for a system logging configuration file [ Warning ]

If you happen to get some message like, message appears when rkhunter -C is done on legacy CentOS release 6.10 (Final) servers:

[13:45:29] Checking for a system logging configuration file [ Warning ]
[13:45:29] Warning: The 'systemd-journald' daemon is running, but no configuration file can be found.
[13:45:29] Checking if syslog remote logging is allowed [ Allowed ]

To fix it, you will have to disable SYSLOG_CONFIG_FILE at all.


Linux: Howto Fix “N: Repository ‘ buster InRelease’ changed its ‘Version’ value from ‘10.9’ to ‘10.10’” error to resolve apt-get release update issue

Friday, August 13th, 2021

Linux's surprises and disorganization is continuously growing day by day and I start to realize it is becoming mostly impossible to support easily this piece of hackware bundled together.
Usually so far during the last 5 – 7 years, I rarely had any general issues with using:

 apt-get update && apt-get upgrade && apt-get dist-upgrade 

to raise a server's working stable Debian Linux version packages e.g. version X.Y to verzion X.Z (for example up the release from Debian Jessie from 8.1 to 8.2). 

Today I just tried to follow this well known and established procedure that, of course nowdays is better to be done with the newer "apt" command instead with the legacy "apt-get"
And the set of 


# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade && apt-get dist-upgrade


has triggered below shitty error:

root@zabbix:~# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Get:1 buster/updates InRelease [65.4 kB]
Get:2 buster InRelease [122 kB]
Get:3 buster/updates/non-free Sources [688 B]
Get:4 buster InRelease [7096 B]
Get:5 buster/updates/main Sources [198 kB]
Get:6 buster/updates/main amd64 Packages [300 kB]
Get:7 buster/updates/main Translation-en [157 kB]
Get:8 buster/updates/non-free amd64 Packages [556 B]
Get:9 buster/main Sources [7836 kB]
Get:10 buster/main Sources [1192 B]
Get:11 buster/main amd64 Packages [4785 B]
Get:12 buster/non-free Sources [85.7 kB]
Get:13 buster/contrib Sources [42.5 kB]
Get:14 buster/main amd64 Packages [7907 kB]
Get:15 buster/main Translation-en [5968 kB]
Get:16 buster/main amd64 Contents (deb) [37.3 MB]
Get:17 buster/contrib amd64 Packages [50.1 kB]
Get:18 buster/non-free amd64 Packages [87.7 kB]
Get:19 buster/non-free Translation-en [88.9 kB]
Get:20 buster/non-free amd64 Contents (deb) [861 kB]
Fetched 61.1 MB in 22s (2774 kB/s)
Reading package lists… Done
N: Repository ' buster InRelease' changed its 'Version' value from '10.9' to '10.10'

As I used to realize nowdays, as Linux started originally as 'Hackers' operating system, its legacy is just one big hack and everything from simple maintenance up to the higher and more sophisticated things requires a workaround 'hack''.


This time the hack to resolve error:

N: Repository ' buster InRelease' changed its 'Version' value from '10.9' to '10.10'

is up to running cmd:

debian-server:~# apt-get update –allow-releaseinfo-change
Поп:1 buster-backports InRelease
Поп:2 stable InRelease
Поп:3 stable/updates InRelease
Изт:5 buster InRelease [6837 B]
Изт:6 stretch InRelease [44,8 kB]
Изт:7 buster/main amd64 Packages [317 kB]
Игн:4  InRelease
Изт:8  Release [964 B]
Изт:9 buster/main i386 Packages [314 kB]
Изт:10  Release.gpg [481 B]
Грш:10  Release.gpg
  Следните подписи са невалидни: DDA2C105C4B73A6649AD2BBD47AE7F72479BC94B
Грш:11 generic InRelease
  403  Forbidden [IP: 443]
Четене на списъците с пакети… Готово
N: Repository ' buster InRelease' changed its 'Suite' value from '' to 'buster'
W: An error occurred during the signature verification. The repository is not updated and the previous index files will be used. GPG error:  Release: 


Onwards to upgrade the system up to the latest .deb packages, as usual run:

# apt-get -y update && apt-get upgrade -y


and updates should be applied as usual with some prompts on whether you prefer to keep or replace existing service configuration and some information on some general changes that might affect your installed services. In a few minutes and few prompts hopefully your Debian OS should be up to the latest stable.

Upgrade Debian Linux 9 to 10 Stretch to Buster and Disable graphical service load boot on Debian 10 Linux / Debian Buster is out

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019


I've just took a time to upgrade my Debian 9 Stretch Linux to Debian Buster on my old school Laptop (that turned 11 years old) Lenovo Thinkpad R61 . The upgrade went more or less without severe issues except few things.

The overall procedure followed is described n a few websites out there already and comes up to;


0. Set the proper repository location in /etc/apt/sources.list

Before update the sources.list used are:

deb [arch=amd64,i386] buster main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] buster main contrib non-free


deb [arch=amd64,i386] buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] buster/updates main contrib non-free

deb [arch=amd64,i386] buster-updates main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] buster-updates main contrib non-free

deb buster-backports main

For people that had stretch defined in /etc/apt/sources.list you should change them to buster or stable, easiest and quickest way to omit editting with vim / nano etc. is run as root or via sudo:

sed -i 's/stretch/buster/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
sed -i 's/stretch/buster/g' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/*.list

The minimum of config in sources.list after the modification should be

deb buster main
deb buster-updates main
deb buster/updates main

Or if you want to always be with latest stable packages (which is my practice for notebooks):

deb stable main
deb stable-updates main
deb stable/updates main


1. Getting list of hold packages if such exist and unholding them, e.g.


apt-mark showhold

Same could also be done via dpkg

dpkg –get-selections | grep hold

To unhold a package if such is found:

echo "package_name install"|sudo dpkg –set-selections

For those who don't know what hold package is this is usually package you want to keep at certain version all the time even though after running apt-get upgrade to get the latest package versions.

2. Use df -h and assure you have at least 5 – 10 GB free space on root directory / before proceed

df -h /

3. Update packages list to set new set repos as default

apt update


4. apt upgrade

apt upgrade

Here some 10 – 15 times you have to confirm what you want to do with configuration that has changed if you're unsure about the config (and it is not critical service) you're aware as such as Apache / MySQL / SMTP etc. it is best to install the latest maintainer version.

Hopefully here you will not get fatal errors that will interrupt it.

P.S. It is best to run apt-update either in VTTY (Virtual console session) with screen or tmux or via a physical tty (if this is not a remote server) as during the updates your GUI access to the gnome-terminal or konsole / xterm whatever console used might get cut. Thus it is best to do it with command:

screen apt upgrade


5. Run dist-upgrade to finalize the upgrade from Stertch to Buster


Once all is completed of the new installed packages, you will need to finally do, once again it is best to run via screen, if you don't have installed screen install it:


if [ $(which screen) ]; then echo 'Installed'; else apt-get install –yes screen ; fi

screen apt dist-upgrade

Here once again you should set whether old configuration to some e services has to stay or the new Debian maintainer package shipped one will overwrite the old and locally modified (due to some reason), here do wisely whatever you will otherwise some configured services might not boot as expected on next boot.


6. What if you get packages failed on update

If you get a certain package failed to configure after installed due to some reason, if it is a systemd service use:


journalctl -xe |head -n 50

or fully observer output of journalctl -xe and decide on yourself.

In most cases

dpkg-reconfigure failed-package-name

should do the trick or at least give you more hints on how to solve it.


Also if a package seems to be in inconsistent or broken state after upgrade  and simple dpkg-reconfigure doesn't help, a good command
that can help you is


dpkg-reconfigure -f package_name


or you can try to workaround a failed package setup with:

dpkg –configure -a

If dpkg-reconfigure doesn't help either as I experienced in prior of Debian from Debian 6 -> 7 an Debian 7 ->8 updates on some Computers, then a very useful thing to try is:

apt-get update –fix-missing 

apt-get install -f

At certain cases the only work around to be able to complete the package upgrade is to to remove the package with apt remove but due to config errors even that is not possible to work around this as final resort run:

dpkg –remove –force-remove-reinstreq


7. Clean up ununeeded packages


Some packages are left over due to package dependencies from Stretch and not needed in buster anymore to remove them.

apt autoremove


8. Reboot system once all upgrade is over




9. Verify your just upgraded Debian is in a good state


root@noah:~# uname -a;
Linux noah 4.19.0-5-rt-amd64 #1 SMP PREEMPT RT Debian 4.19.37-5 (2019-06-19) x86_64 GNU/Linux


root@noah:~# cat /etc/
Debian GNU/Linux 10


root@noah:~# lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:    Debian
Description:    Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
Release:    10
Codename:    buster


root@noah:~# hostnamectl
   Static hostname: noah
         Icon name: computer-laptop
           Chassis: laptop
        Machine ID: 4759d9c2f20265938692146351a07929
           Boot ID: 256eb64ffa5e413b8f959f7ef43d919f
  Operating System: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
            Kernel: Linux 4.19.0-5-rt-amd64
      Architecture: x86-64


10. Remove annoying picture short animation with debian logo looping



By default Debian 10 boots up with annoying screen hiding all the status of loaded services state .e.g. you cannot see the services that shows in [ FAILED ] state and  which do show as [ OK ] to revert back the old behavior I'm used to for historical reasons and as it shows a lot of good Boot time debugging info, in previous Debian distributions this was possible  by setting the right configuration options in /etc/default/grub

which so far in my config was like so

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash scsi_mod.use_blk_mq=y dm_mod.use_blk_mq=y zswap.enabled=1 text"

Note that zswap.enabled=1 passed option is because my notebook is pretty old machine from 2008 with 4GB of memory and zswap does accelerate performance when working with swap – especially helpful on Older PCs for more you can read more about zswap on ArchLinux wiki
After modifying this configuration to load the new config into grub the cmd is:


As this was not working and tried number of reboots finally I found that annoying animated gif like picture shown up is caused by plymouth below is excerpts from Plymouth's manual page:

       "The plymouth sends commands to a running plymouthd. This is used during the boot process to control the display of the graphical boot splash."

Plymouth has a set of themes one can set:


# plymouth-set-default-theme -l


I tried to change that theme to make the boot process as text boot as I'm used to historically with cmd:

update-alternatives –config text.plymouth

As after reboot I hoped the PC will start booting in text but this does not happened so the final fix to turn back to textmode service boot was to completely remove plymouth

apt-get remove –yes plymouth

How to disable Microsoft Widnows XP annoying Updates Available / Updates disabled notification

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

veryone knows, how M$ Windows updates the PC at stake. Besides that you know if updates are Disabled, the annoying picture showing a red like X under bottom left (Start menu panel) corner. Even if updates are Enabled often on the bottom part there is the yellow ! sign pushing the user to update:

Microsoft Windows Your Computer might be at risk menu screenshot

Thanksfully there is work around. To remove notification use:

Start (Menu) -> Control Panel -> Security Center -> Change the way Security center alerts me

Microsoft Windows XP SP3 Security Center - Change the way Security Center alerts me

Windows XP alert settings change disable automatic updates

No more update notifications. Enjoy 🙂