Archive for the ‘Computer Security’ Category

How to fix rkhunter checking dev for suspisiocus files, solve rkhunter checking if SSH root access is allowed warning

Friday, November 20th, 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes


On a server if you have a rkhunter running and you suddenly you get some weird Warnings for suspicious files under dev, like show in in the screenshot and you're puzzled how comes this happened as so far it was not reported before the regular package patching update conducted …

root@haproxy-server ~]# rkhunter –check


To investigate further I've checked rkhunter produced log /var/log/rkhunter.log for a verobose message and found more specifics there on what is the exact files which rkhunter finds suspicious.
To further investigate what exactly are this suspicious files for or where, they're used for something on the system or in reality it is a hacker who hacked our supposibly PCI compliant system,
I've used the good old fuser command which is capable to show which system process is actively using a file. To have fuser report for each file from /var/log/rkhunter.log with below shell loop:

[root@haproxy-server ~]#  for i in $(tail -n 50 /var/log/rkhunter/rkhunter.log|grep -i /dev/shm|awk '{ print $2 }'|sed -e 's#:##g'); do fuser -v $i; done
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     hacluster   1851 ….m attrd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd
                     BEN.        PID ZUGR.  BEFEHL
                     root       1783 ….m corosync
                     root       1844 ….m pacemakerd

As you see from the output all the /dev/shm/qb/ files in question are currently opened by the corosync / pacemaker and necessery for proper work of the haproxy cluster processes running on the machines.

How to solve the /dev/ suspcisios files rkhunter warning?

To solve we need to tell rkhunter not check against this files this is done via  /etc/rkhunter.conf first I thought this is done by EXISTWHITELIST= but then it seems there is  a special option for rkhunter whitelisting /dev type of files only ALLOWDEVFILE.

Hence to resolve the warning for the upcoming planned early PCI audit and save us troubles we had to add on running OS which is CentOS Linux release 7.8.2003 (Core) in /etc/rkhunter.conf



# rkhunter –check

and Voila, the warning should be no more.


Another thing is on another machine the warnings produced by rkhunter were a bit different as rkhunter has mistakenly detected the root login is enabled where in reality PermitRootLogin was set to no in /etc/ssh/sshd_config


As the problem was experienced on some machines and on others it was not.
I've done the standard boringconfig comparison we sysadmins do to tell
why stuff differs.
The result was on first machine where we had everything working as expected and
PermitRootLogin no was recognized the correct configuration was:

— SNAP —
— END —

On the second server where the problem was experienced the values was:

— SNAP —
— END —

Note that, the warning produced regarding the rsyslog remote logging is allowed is perfectly fine as, we had enabled remote logging to a central log server on the machines, this is done with:

This is done with config options under /etc/rsyslog.conf

# Configure Remote rsyslog logging server

Improve wordpress admin password encryption authentication keys security with WordPress Unique Authentication Keys and Salts

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Reading Time: 5 minutes


Having a wordpress blog or website with an admistrator and access via a Secured SSL channel is common nowadays. However there are plenty of SSL encryption leaks already out there and many of which are either slow to be patched or the hosting companies does not care enough to patch on time the libssl Linux libraries / webserver level. Taking that in consideration many websites hosted on some unmaintained one-time run not-frequently updated Linux servers are still vulneable and it might happen that, if you paid for some shared hosting in the past and someone else besides you hosted the website and forget you even your wordpress installation is still living on one of this SSL vulnerable hosts. In situations like that malicious hackers could break up the SSL security up to some level or even if the SSL is secured use MITM (MAN IN THE MIDDLE) attack to simulate your well secured and trusted SSID Name WIFi network to  redirects the network traffic you use (via an SSL transparent Proxy) to connect to WordPress Administrator Dashbiard via Once your traffic is going through the malicious hax0r even if you haven't used the password to authenticate every time, e.g. you have saved the password in browser and WordPress Admin Panel authentication is achieved via a Cookie the cookies generated and used one time by Woddpress site could be easily stealed one time and later from the vicious 1337 h4x0r and reverse the hash with an interceptor Tool and login to your wordpress …

Therefore to improve the wordpress site security it very important to have configured WordPress Unique Authentication Keys and Salts (known also as the WordPress security keys).

They're used by WordPress installation to have a uniquely generated different key and Salt from the default one to the opened WordPress Blog / Site Admin session every time.

So what are the Authentication Unique Keys and Salts and why they are Used?

Like with almost any other web application, when PHP session is opened to WordPress, the code creates a number of Cookies stored locally on your computer.

Two of the cookies created are called:


First  cookie is used only in the admin pages (WordPress dashboard), while the second cookie is used throughout WordPress to determine if you are logged in to WordPress or not. Note: [hash] is a random hashed value typically assigned to your session, therefore in reality the cookies name would be named something like wordpress_ffc02f68bc9926448e9222893b6c29a9.

WordPress session stores your authentication details (i.e. WordPress username and password) in both of the above mentioned cookies.

The authentication details are hashed, hence it is almost impossible for anyone to reverse the hash and guess your password through a cookie should it be stolen. By almost impossible it also means that with today’s computers it is practically unfeasible to do so.

WordPress security keys are made up of four authentication keys and four hashing salts (random generated data) that when used together they add an extra layer to your cookies and passwords. 

The authentication details in these cookies are hashed using the random pattern specified in the WordPress security keys. I will not get into too much details but as you might have heard in Cryptography Salts and Keys are important – an indepth explanation on Salts Cryptography (here). A good reading for those who want to know more on how does the authentication based and salts work is on stackexchange.

How to Set up Salt and Key Authentication on WordPress

To be used by WP Salts and Key should be configured under wp-config.php usually they look like so:


!!! Note !!!  that generating (manually or generated via a random generator program), the definition strings you have to use a random string value of more than 60 characters to prevent predictability 

The default on any newly installed WordPress Website is to have the 4 definitions with _KEY and the four _SALTs to be unconfigured strings looks something like:


Most people never ever take a look at wp-config.php as only the Web GUI Is used for any maintainance, tasks so there is a great chance that if you never heard specifically by some WordPress Security Expert forum or some Security plugin (such as WP Titan Anti Spam & Security) installed to report the WP KEY / SALT you might have never noticed it in the config.

There are 8 WordPress security keys in current WP Installs, but not all of them have been introduced at the same time.
Historically they were introduced in WP versions in below order:

WordPress 2.7: NONCE_KEY

Setting a custom random generated values is an easy task as there is already online Wordpress Security key Random generator.
You can visit above address and you will get an automatic randomly generated values which could be straight copy / pasted to your wp-config.php.

Howeever if you're a paranoic on the guessability of the random generator algorithm, I would advice you use the generator and change some random values yourself on each of the 8 line, the end result in the configuration should be something similar to:


define('AUTH_KEY',         '|w+=W(od$V|^hy$F5w)g6O-:e[WI=NHY/!Ez@grd5=##!;jHle_vFPqz}D5|+87Q');
define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY',  'rGReh.<%QBJ{DP )p=BfYmp6fHmIG~ePeHC[MtDxZiZD;;_OMp`sVcKH:JAqe$dA');
define('LOGGED_IN_KEY',    '%v8mQ!)jYvzG(eCt>)bdr+Rpy5@t fTm5fb:o?@aVzDQw8T[w+aoQ{g0ZW`7F-44');
define('NONCE_KEY',        '$o9FfF{S@Z-(/F-.6fC/}+K 6-?V.XG#MU^s?4Z,4vQ)/~-[D.X0<+ly0W9L3,Pj');
define('AUTH_SALT',        ':]/2K1j(4I:DPJ`(,rK!qYt_~n8uSf>=4`{?LC]%%KWm6@j|aht@R.i*ZfgS4lsj');
define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'XY{~:{P&P0Vw6^i44Op*nDeXd.Ec+|c=S~BYcH!^j39VNr#&FK~wq.3wZle_?oq-');
define('LOGGED_IN_SALT',   '8D|2+uKX;F!v~8-Va20=*d3nb#4|-fv0$ND~s=7>N|/-2]rk@F`DKVoh5Y5i,w*K');
define('NONCE_SALT',       'ho[<2C~z/:{ocwD{T-w+!+r2394xasz*N-V;_>AWDUaPEh`V4KO1,h&+c>c?jC$H');



Once above defines are set, do not forget to comment or remove old AUTH_KEY / SECURE_AUTH_KEY / LOGGED_IN_KEY / AUTH_SALT / SECURE_AUTH_SALT / LOGGED_IN_SALT /NONCE_SALT keys.

The values are configured one time and never have to be changed, WordPress installation automatic updates or Installed WP Plugins will not tamper the value with time.
You should never expand or show your private generated keys to anyone otherwise this could be used to hack your website site.
It is also a good security practice to change this keys, especially if you have some suspects someone has somehow stolen your wp-onfig keys. 


Having AUTH KEYs and Properly configured is essential step to improve your WordPress site security. Anytime having any doubt for a browser hijacked session (or if you have logged in) to your /wp-admin via unsecured public Computer with a chance of a stolen site cookies you should reset keys / salts to a new random values. Setting the auth keys is not a panacea and frequent WP site core updates and plugins should be made to secure your install. Always do frequent audits to WP owned websites with a tool such as WPScan is essential to keep your WP Website unhacked.



Sysadmin tip: How to force a new Linux user account password change after logging to improve security

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Have you logged in through SSH to remote servers with the brand new given UNIX account in your company just to be prompted for your current Password immediately after logging and forced to change your password?
The smart sysadmins or security officers use this trick for many years to make sure the default set password for new user is set to a smarter user to prevent default password leaks which might later impose a severe security risk for a company Demiliterized networks confidential data etc.

If you haven't seen it yet and you're in the beautiful world of UNIX / Linux as a developer qa tester or sysadmin sooner or later you will face it.
Here of course I'm talking about plain password local account authentication using user / pass credentials stored in /etc/passwd or /etc/shadow.

Lets Say hello to the main command chage that is used to do this sysadmin trick.
chage command is used to change user password expiry information and  set and alter password aging parameters on user accounts.


1. Force chage to make password expire on next user login for a new created user

# chage -d 0 {user-name} 

Below is a real life example



2. Get information on when account expires


[hipo@linux ~]$ chage -l hipo
Last password change                                    : Apr 03, 2020
Password expires                                        : Jul 08, 2020
Password inactive                                       : never
Account expires                                         : never
Minimum number of days between password change          : 0
Maximum number of days between password change          : 90
Number of days of warning before password expires       : 14


3. Use chage to set user account password expiration

The most straight forward way to set an expiration date for an active user acct is with:


# chage -E 2020-08-16 username

To make the account get locked automatically if the password has expired and the user did not logged in to it for 2 days after its expiration.

# chage -I 2 username

– Set Password expire with Minimum days 7 (-n mindays 7), (-x maxdays 28) and (-w warndays 5)

# passwd -n 7 -x 28 -w 5 username

To check the passwod expiration settings use list command:

# chage -l username
Last password change                                    : юни 18, 2020
Password expires                                        : юли 16, 2020
Password inactive                                       : never
Account expires                                         : never
Minimum number of days between password change          : 7
Maximum number of days between password change          : 28
Number of days of warning before password expires       : 5


chage is a command is essential sysadmin command that is mentioned in every Learn Linux book out there, however due to its often rare used many people and sysadmins either, don't know it or learn of it only once it is needed. 
A note to make here is some sysadmins prefer to use usermod to set a password expire instead of chage.

usermod -e 2020-10-14 username


For those who wonder how to set password expiry on FreeBSD and other BSD-es is done, there it is done via the pw system user management tool as chage is not present there.


A note to make here is chage usually does not provide information for Linux user accounts that are stored in LDAP. To get information of such you can use ldapsearch with a query to the LDAP domain store with something like.

ldapsearch -x -ZZ -LLL -b,dc=com objectClass=*

It is worthy to mention also another useful command when managing users this is getent used to get entries from Name Service Switch libraries. 
getent is useful to get various information from basic /etc/ stored db files such as /etc/services /etc/shadow, /etc/group, /etc/aliases, /etc/hosts and even do some simple rpc queries.

Improve SSL security: Generate and add Diffie Hellman key to SSL certificate for stronger line encryption

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Diffie–Hellman key exchange (DH) is a method of securely exchanging cryptographic keys over a public channel and was one of the first public-key protocols as conceived by Ralph Merkle and named after Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. DH is one of the earliest practical examples of public key exchange implemented within the field of cryptography.

Traditionally, secure encrypted communication between two parties required that they first exchange keys by some secure physical means, such as paper key lists transported by a trusted courier. The Diffie–Hellman key exchange method allows two parties that have no prior knowledge of each other to jointly establish a shared secret key over an insecure channel. This key can then be used to encrypt subsequent communications using a symmetric key cipher.

DH has been widely used on the Internet for improving the authentication encryption among parties. The only note is it useful if both the communication sides A and B are at your control, as what DH does is just strenghten the already established connection between client A and B and not protect from Man in the Middle Attacks. If some malicious user could connect to B pretending it is A the encryption will be established.


Alternatively, the Diffie-Hellman key exchange can be combined with an algorithm like the Digital Signature Standard (DSS) to provide authentication, key exchange, confidentiality and check the integrity of the data. In such a situation, RSA is not necessary for securing the connection.

TLS, which is a protocol that is used to secure much of the internet, can use the Diffie-Hellman exchange in three different ways: anonymous, static and ephemeral. In practice, only ephemeral Diffie-Hellman should be implemented, because the other options have security issues.

Anonymous Diffie-Hellman – This version of the Diffie-Hellman key exchange doesn’t use any authentication, leaving it vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. It should not be used or implemented.

Static Diffie-Hellman – Static Diffie-Hellman uses certificates to authenticate the server. It does not authenticate the client by default, nor does it provide forward secrecy.

Ephemeral Diffie-Hellman – This is considered the most secure implementation because it provides perfect forward secrecy. It is generally combined with an algorithm such as DSA or RSA to authenticate one or both of the parties in the connection.

Ephemeral Diffie-Hellman uses different key pairs each time the protocol is run. This gives the connection perfect forward secrecy, because even if a key is compromised in the future, it can’t be used to decrypt all of the past messages.


DH encryption key could be generated with the openssl command and could be generated depending on your preference using a 1024 / 2048 or 4096 bit encryption.
Of course it is best to have the strongest encryption possible i.e 4096.

The Logjam attack 

The Diffie-Hellman key exchange was designed on the basis of the discrete logarithm problem being difficult to solve. The most effective publicly known mechanism for finding the solution is the number field sieve algorithm.

The capabilities of this algorithm were taken into account when the Diffie-Hellman key exchange was designed. By 1992, it was known that for a given group, G, three of the four steps involved in the algorithm could potentially be computed beforehand. If this progress was saved, the final step could be calculated in a comparatively short time.

This wasn’t too concerning until it was realized that a significant portion of internet traffic uses the same groups that are 1024 bits or smaller. In 2015, an academic team ran the calculations for the most common 512-bit prime used by the Diffie-Hellman key exchange in TLS.

They were also able to downgrade 80% of TLS servers that supported DHE-EXPORT, so that they would accept a 512-bit export-grade Diffie-Hellman key exchange for the connection. This means that each of these servers is vulnerable to an attack from a well-resourced adversary.

The researchers went on to extrapolate their results, estimating that a nation-state could break a 1024-bit prime. By breaking the single most-commonly used 1024-bit prime, the academic team estimated that an adversary could monitor 18% of the one million most popular HTTPS websites.

They went on to say that a second prime would enable the adversary to decrypt the connections of 66% of VPN servers, and 26% of SSH servers. Later in the report, the academics suggested that the NSA may already have these capabilities.

“A close reading of published NSA leaks shows that the agency’s attacks on VPNs are consistent with having achieved such a break.”

Despite this vulnerability, the Diffie-Hellman key exchange can still be secure if it is implemented correctly. As long as a 2048-bit key is used, the Logjam attack will not work. Updated browsers are also secure from this attack.

Is the Diffie-Hellman key exchange safe?

While the Diffie-Hellman key exchange may seem complex, it is a fundamental part of securely exchanging data online. As long as it is implemented alongside an appropriate authentication method and the numbers have been selected properly, it is not considered vulnerable to attack.

The Diffie-Hellman key exchange was an innovative method for helping two unknown parties communicate safely when it was developed in the 1970s. While we now implement newer versions with larger keys to protect against modern technology the protocol itself looks like it will continue to be secure until the arrival of quantum computing and the advanced attacks that will come with it.

Here is how easy it is to add this extra encryption to make the SSL tunnel between A and B stronger.

On a Linux / Mac / BSD OS machine install and use openssl client like so:

# openssl dhparam -out dhparams1.pem 2048
Generating DH parameters, 2048 bit long safe prime, generator 2
This is going to take a long time

…. ………………..++*++*

Be aware that the Diffie-Hellman key exchange would be insecure if it used numbers as small as those in our example. We are only using such small numbers to demonstrate the concept in a simpler manner.


# cat dhparams1.pem

Copy the generated DH PARAMETERS headered key string to your combined .PEM certificate pair at the end of the file and save it


# vim /etc/haproxy/cert/ssl-cert.pem


Restart the WebServer or Proxy service wher Diffie-Hellman key was installed and Voila you should a bit more secure.



Howto Pass SSH traffic through a Secured Corporate Proxy server with corkscrew, using sshd as a standalone proxy service with no proxy installed on remote Linux server or VPS

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Reading Time: 11 minutes

howto pass ssh traffic through proxy to remote server use remote machine as a proxy for connecting to the Internet

Working in the big bad corporate world (being employed in  any of the Fortune 500) companies, especially in an IT delivery company is a nasty thing in terms of User Personal Data Privacy because usually when employeed in any of a corporation, the company ships you with a personal Computer with some kind of pre-installed OS (most often this is Windows) and the computer is not a standalone one but joined in Active Directory (AD) belonging to Windows Domain and centrally administered by whoever.

As part of the default deplyed configuration in this pre-installed OS and software is that part or all your network traffic and files is being monitored in some kind of manner as your pre-installed Windows or Linux notebook given by the Corporation is having a set of standard software running in the background, and even though you have Windows Administrator there are many things you have zero control or even if you have changed it once the Domain Policy is triggered your custom made changes / Installed Programs that happen to be against the company policy are being automatically deleted, any registry changes made are being rewinded etc. Sometimes even by trying to manually clean up your PC from the corporate crapware,  you might breaks access to the corporate DMZ firewalled network. A common way to secure their employee PC data large companies have a Network seperation, your PC when not connected to the Corporate VPN is having a certain IP configuration and once connected to the Demilitarized Zone VPN those configuration changes and the PC have access to internal company infrastructure servers / router / switches / firewalls / SANs etc. Access to corporate Infrastructure is handled via crypted VPN clinet such as Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client which is perhaps one of the most used ones out there.

Part of the common software installed to Monitor your PC for threats / viruses / trojans among which is MCafee / EMET (Enhandced Mitigation Experience Toolkit) the PC is often prebundled with some kind of anti-malware (crapware) :). But the tip of the iceberg on user surveillance where most of surveillance happens is the default installed proxy on the PC which usually does keep track of all your remote accessed HTTP Website URLs accessed in plain text – traffic flowing on Port 80 and crypted one on standard (SSL) Port 443. This Web Traffic is handled by the Central Corporate proxy that is being deployed via some kind of Domain policy, every time the Computer joins the Windows domain. 

This of course is a terrible thing for your Browsing security and together with the good security practice to run your browser in Incognito mode, which makes all your browsing activity such as access URLs History or Saved Cookies data to be cleared up on a Browser close it is important to make sure you run your own personal traffic via a separate browser which you will use only for your own concern browsing such as Accessing your Bank Money Accounts to check your Monthly Sallary / Purchase things online via /, whether all of the rest traffic company related is trafficed via the default set corporate central proxy.
This is relatively easy sometimes in companies, where security is not of a top concern but in corporations with tightened security accessing remote proxy, or accessing even common daily news and Public Email websites or social media sites / Twitter / Youtube will be filtered so the only way to reach them will be via some kind of Proxy and often this proxy is the only way out to the Free world from the corporate jail.

Here is where the good old SSH comes as a saving grace as it turns out SSH traffic could be trafficed over a proxy. In below article I will give you a short insight on how Proxy through SSH could be achieved to Secure your dailty web traffic and use SSH to reach your own server on the Internet as well as how you can copy securely data via SSH through corporate Proxy. 

1. How to view your corporate used (default) proxy / Check Proxy.pac file definitions


To get an idea what is the used proxy on your Corporate PC (as most corporate employee given notebooks are running some kind of M$ Windows)  you can go to:

Windows Control Panel -> Internet Options -> Connections -> Lan Settings


Under the field Proxy server (check out the Proxy configured Address and Port number )


Having that as browsers venerate the so-called Proxy.pac file, to be rawly aware on some general Company Proxy configured definitions you can access in a browser the proxy itself fething the proxy.pac file for example.




This is helpful as some companies Proxies have some proxy rules that reveal some things about its Internet architecture and even some have some badly configured proxy.pac files which could be used to fool the proxy under some circumstances 🙂

2. Few of the reasons corporations proxy all their employee's work PC web traffic


The corporate proxying of traffic has a number of goals, some of which are good hearted and others are for mostly spying on the users.


1. Protect Corporate Employees from malicious Viruses / Trojans Horses / Malware / Badware / Whatever ware – EXCELLENT
2. Prevent users from acessing a set of sources that due to the corporate policy are considered harmful (e.g. certain addresses 
of information or disinformation of competitors, any Internet source that might preach against the corporation, hacking ralated websites etc.) – NOT GOOD (for the employee / user) and GOOD for the company
3.Spy on the users activity and be able to have evidence against the employee in case he decided to do anything harmful to the company evidences from proxy could even later be used in court if some kind of corpoate infringment occurs due to misbehave of the employee. – PERFECT FOR COMPANY and Complete breach of User privacy and IMHO totally against European Union privacy legislation such as GDRP
4. In companies that are into the field of Aritificial Intelligence / Users behavior could even be used to advance Self-learning bots and mechanisms – NASTY ! YAECKES


3. Run SSH Socks proxy to remote SSHd server running on common SSL 443 port


Luckily sysadmins who were ordered the big bosses to sniff on your Web behaviour and preferences could be outsmarted with some hacks.

To protect your Browsing behaviours and Secure your privacy perhaps the best option is to use the Old but gold practice o Securing your Networkf traffic using SSH Over Proxy and SSH Dynamic tunnel as a Proxy as explained in my previous article here.


In short the quest way to have your free of charge SOCKS  Remote proxy to your Home based Linux installed OS server / VPN with a Public Internet address is to use ssh as so:


ssh -D 3128 UserName@IP-of-Remote-SSHD-Host -p 443


This will start the SOCKS Proxy tunnel from Corporate Work PC to your Own Home brew server.

For some convenience it is useful to set up an .alias (for cygwin) / linux users in .bashrc file:


alias proxy='ssh -D 3128 UserName@IP-of-Remote-SSHD-Host -p 443';


To start using the Proxy from browser, I use a plugin called FoxyProxy in Chrome and Firefox browsers
set-up to connect to localhost – for All Protocols as a SOCKs v5 Proxy.

The sshd Socks proxy can be used for multiple others for example, using it you can also pass on traffic from Mail client such as Thunderbird to your Email server if you're behind a firewall prohibiting access to the common POP3 port 110 or IMAP port TCP 143. 

4. How to access SSH through Proxy using jumphost SSH hop

If you're like me and you have on your Home Linux machine only one Internet address and you have already setupped an SSL enabled service (lets say Webmail) to listen to that Public Internet IP and you don't have the possibility to run another instance of /usr/bin/sshd on port 443 via configuration or manually one time by issuing:


/usr/sbin/sshd -p 443


Then you can use another ssh another Linux server as a jump host to your own home Linux sshd server. This can be done even by purchasing a cheap VPS server for lets say 3 dollars month etc. or even better if you have a friend with another Linux home server, you can ask him to run you sshd on TCP port 443 and add you an ssh account.
Once you have the second Linux machine as JumpHost to reach out to your own machine use:


ssh -J -v


To easify this a bit long line it is handy to use some kind of alias like:


alias sshhome='ssh -J -v'


The advantage here is just by issuing this sshd tunnel and keeping it open in a terminal or setting it up as Plink Putty tunnel you have all your Web Traffic Secured
between your Work Corporate PC and your Home Brew Server, keeping the curious eyes of your Company Security Officers from your own Web traffic, hence
separating the corporate privacy from your own personal privacy. Using the just established own SSH Proxy Tunnel to home for your non-work stuff browsing habits
from the corporate systems which are accessed by switching with a button click in FoxyProxy to default proxy settings.

5. How to get around paranoid corporate setup where only remote access to Corporate proxy on TCP Port 80 and TCP 443 is available in Browser only


Using straight ssh and to create Proxy will work in most of the cases but it requires SSH access to your remote SSH running server / VPS on TCP Port 22, however under some Fort-Nox like financial involved institutions and companies for the sake of tightened security, it is common that all Outbound TCP Ports are prohibited except TCP Port 80 and SSL 443 as prior said, so what can you do then to get around this badful firewall and access the Internet via your own server Proxy? 
The hack to run SSH server either on tcp port 80 or tcp port 443 on remote Host and use 443 / 80 to acess SSHD should work, but then even for the most paranoid corporations the ones who are PCI Compliant – PCI stands for (Payment Card Industry), e.g. works with Debit and Credit Card data etc, accessing even 80 or 443  ports with something like telnet client or netcat will be impossible. 
Once connected to the corporate VPN,  this 2 two ports firewall exceptions will be only accessible via the Corporate Proxy server defined in a Web Browser (Firefox / IE / Chrome etc.) as prior explained in article.

The remedy here is to use a 3rd party tools such as httptunnel or corkscrew that  are able to TUNNEL SSH TRAFFIC VIA CORPORATE PROXY SERVER and access your own resource out of the DMZ.

Both httptunnel and corkscrew are installable both on most Linux distros or for Windows users via CygWin for those who use MobaXterm.

Just to give you better idea on what corkscrew and (hts) httptunnel does, here is Debian packages descriptions.

# apt-cache show​ corkscrew
" corkscrew is a simple tool to tunnel TCP connections through an HTTP
 proxy supporting the CONNECT method. It reads stdin and writes to
 stdout during the connection, just like netcat.
 It can be used for instance to connect to an SSH server running on
 a remote 443 port through a strict HTTPS proxy.


# apt-cache show httptunnel|grep -i description -A 7
Description-en: Tunnels a data stream in HTTP requests
 Creates a bidirectional virtual data stream tunnelled in
 HTTP requests. The requests can be sent via a HTTP proxy
 if so desired.
 This can be useful for users behind restrictive firewalls. If WWW
 access is allowed through a HTTP proxy, it's possible to use
 httptunnel and, say, telnet or PPP to connect to a computer

Description-md5: ed96b7d53407ae311a6c5ef2eb229c3f
Tag: implemented-in::c, interface::commandline, interface::daemon,
 network::client, network::server, network::vpn, protocol::http,
 role::program, suite::gnu, use::routing
Section: net
Priority: optional
Filename: pool/main/h/httptunnel/httptunnel_3.3+dfsg-4_amd64.deb

Windows cygwin users can install the tools with:

apt-cyg install –yes corkscrew httptunnel

Linux users respectively with:

apt-get install –yes corkscrew httptunnel


yum install -y corkscrew httptunnel


You will then need to have the following configuration in your user home directory $HOME/.ssh/config file

ProxyCommand /usr/bin/corkscrew your-corporate-firewall-rpoxy-url 8080 %h %p



Picture Copyright by Daniel Haxx

The best picture on how ssh traffic is proxied is the one found on Daniel Haxx's website which is a great quick tutorial which originally helped to get the idea of how corkscrew works in proxying traffic I warmly recommend you take a quick look at his SSH Through or over Proxy article. could be also and IP if you don't have your own domain name in case if using via some cheap VPN Linux server with SSH, or alternatively
if you don't want to spend money on buying domain for SSH server (assuming you don't have such yet) you can use Dyn DNS or NoIP.

Another thing is to setup the proper http_proxy / https_proxy / ftp_proxy variable exports in $HOME/.bashrc in my setup I have the following:

export ftp_proxy="http://your-corporate-firewall-rpoxy-url:8080"
export https_proxy="https://your-corporate-firewall-rpoxy-url:8080"
export http_proxy="http://your-corporate-firewall-rpoxy-url:8080"
export HTTP_PROXY="http://your-corporate-firewall-rpoxy-url:8080"
export HTTPS_PROXY="http://your-corporate-firewall-rpoxy-url:8080"


6. How to Transfer Files / Data via SSH Protocol through  Proxy with SCP and SFTP

Next logical question is how to Transfer your own personal encrypted files (that contains no corporate sensitive information) between your Work laptop and home brew Linux ssh server or cheap VPN.

It took me quite a lot of try-outs until finally I got it how Secure Copy (scp) command can be used toto transfer files between my Work Computer and my Home brew server using JumpHost, here is how:

scp -o 'ProxyJump' ~/file-or-files-to-copy*

I love using sftp (Secure FTP) command Linux client to copy files and rarely use scp so I have a lot of try-outs to connect interacitvely via the Corporate Proxy server over a Jump-Host:443 to my Destination home machine, 


I've tried using netcat as it was pointed in many articles online, like so to traffic my sftp traffic via my localhost binded SSH Socks proxy on :3128 together with netcat as shown in article prior example, using following line:

sftp -oProxyCommand='/bin/nc -X connect -x %h %p' 22


Also tried proxy connect like this:


sftp -o ProxyCommand="proxy-connect -h localhost -p 3128 %h %p"


Moreover, tried to use the ssh  command (-s) argument capability to invoke SSH protocol subsystem feature which is used to facilitiate use of SSH secure transport for other application

ssh -v -J hipo@Jump-Host:443 -s sftp -v

open failed: administratively prohibited: open failed


Finally decided to give a try to the same options arguments as in scp and thanks God it worked and I can even access via the Corporate Proxy through the Jump Host SSH interactively via Secure FTP 🙂


sftp -o 'ProxyJump'

To save time from typing this long line every time, I've setup the following alias to ~/.bashrc

alias sftphome='sftp -o 'ProxyJump''



Of course using own Proxy via your Home brew SSH Machine as well as transferring your data securely from your Work PC (notebook) to Home does not completely make you Surveillance free, as the Corporate Windows installed OS image is perhaps prebundled with its own integrated Keylogger as well as the Windows Domain administrators have certainly access to connect to your PC and run various commands, so this kind of Security is just an attempt to make company has less control and know less on your browsing habits and the best solution where possible to secure your privacy and separate your Personal Space form Work space by using a second computer (if having the ability to work from home) with a KVM Switch device and switch over your Work PC and Home PC via it or in some cases (where companies) allows it, setup something like VNC server (TightVNC / RealVNC) on work PC and leave it all time running in office and connect remotely with vncviewer from your own controlled secured computer.

In article I've explained shortly common scenario found in corporate Work computers proxy setup, designed to Surveil all your move, mentioned few common softwares running by default to protect from Viruses and aimed to Protect user from malicious hacking tools, explained how to view your work notebook configured Proxy, shortly mentioned on Proxy.pac and hinted how to view proxy.pac config as well as gave few of the reasons why all web traffic is being routed over central proxy.

That's all folks, Enjoy the Freedom to be less surveilled !

Cracking zip protected password files on GNU/Linux and FreeBSD

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Its not very common, but sometimes it happens you have to crack some downloaded file from or some other big torrent tracker. An example scenario would be downloading a huge words dictionary (a rainbow tables) dictionary etc., which was protected by the author with a password and zipped.

Fortunately Mark Lehmann developed a software called fcrackzip which is capable of brute forcing zip protected file passwords straight on UNIX like operating systems (GNU/Linux, FreeBSD).

fcrackzip is available from package repositories on Debian and Ubuntu Linuces to install via apt:

linux:~# apt-get install frackzip

fcrackzip is also available on FreeBSD via the ports tree and can be installed with:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/security/fcrackzip
freebsd# make install cleam

On Debian it's worthy to have a quick look on the README file:

linux:~# cat /usr/share/doc/fcrackzip/READMESee fcrackzip.txt (which is derived from the manpage), or fcrackzip.html

There is a web page with more information at or

A sample password-protected .zip file is included as "". It's
password has 6 lower case characters, and fcrackzip will find it (and a
number of false positives) with

fcrackzip -b -c a -p aaaaaa ./

which will take between one and thirty minutes on typical machines.

To find out which of these passwords is the right one either try them out
or use the –use-unzip option.


Cracking the password protected sample file on my dual core 1.8 ghz box with 2gb, it took 30 seconds.

linux:~# time fcrackzip -u -b -c a -p aaaaaa

PASSWORD FOUND!!!!: pw == noradi

real 0m29.627s
user 0m29.530s
sys 0m0.064s

Of course the sample set password for is pretty trivial and with more complex passwords, sometimes cracking the password can take up to 30 minutes or an hour and it all depends on the specific case, but at least now we the free software users have a new tool in the growing arsenal of free software programs 😉

Here are the options passed on to the above fcrackzip command:

-uTry to decompress with the detected possible archive passwords using unzip (This is necessery to precisely find the archive password, otherwise it will just print out a number of possible matching archive passwords and you have to try each of the passwords one by one. Note that this option depends on a working unzip version installed.)

-c ainclude all charsets to be tried with the generated passwords

-bSelect brute force mode – Tries all possible combinations of letters specified

-p aaaaaainit-password string (Look up for a password between the password length 6 characters long)

FCrackZip is partly written in assembler and thus is generally works fast, to reduce the CPU load fcrackzip will put on the processor its also capable of using external words dictionary file by passing it the option:

-DThe file should be in a format one word per line and be preliminary alphabetically sorted with let's say sort

Also fcrackzip supports parallel file brute force, for example if you have 10 zip files protected with passwords it can paralelly try to brute force the pwds.

As of time of writting frackzip reached version 1.0 and seems to be pretty stable. Happy cracking.
Just to make sure fcrackzip's source is not lost somewhere in the line in the long future to come, I've created a fcrackzip download mirror here

GUI wep/wpa cracking through Gerix Wifi Cracker NG (GUI for cracking wireless networks)

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Reading Time: < 1 minute


I found a neat program that facilitates work on cracking
a wep or wpa secured wireless network. The program is called
Gerix Wifi Cracker NG and is a part of the
backtrack penetration testinglinux distro
Gerix Wifi Cracker itself is located here , it's cool cause the author even has prepared a deb
package with the nifty GUI wireless cracker
. The slogan of the soft is also a killer,it reads:
"The software that even your grandmother knows how to use!",
a bunch of nice granda's pictures are included as well 🙂

Create SFTP CHROOT Jail User for data transfer to better Linux shared web hosting server security

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Adding user SFTP access to a Linux system is often required and therefore a must for multi users or web hosting environments it is an absolute requirement to have SFTP  user space separation ( isolation ) out of the basic Linux system environment this is done using a fake CHROOT Jail.

Purpose of this article is to show how to create SFTP Chroot JAIL in few easy configurations.

By isolating each user into his own space you will protect the users to not eventually steal or mistakenly leak information such as user credentials / passwords etc.

Besides that it is useful to restrict the User to his own File / Web Space to have granted only access to Secure FTP (SFTP) only and not SSH login access and togheter with the chroot jail environment to protect your server from being attempted to be hacked (rooted / exploited) through some (0day) zero-day kernel 1337 vulnerability.

1. Setup Chrooted file system and do the bind mount in /etc/fstab

# chown root:root /mnt/data/share
# chmod 755 /mnt/data/share
# mkdir -p /sftp/home
# mount -o bind /mnt/data/share /sftp/home

Next add to /etc/fstab (e.g. vim /etc/fstab) and add following line:

/mnt/data/share /sftp/home  none   bind   0   0

To mount it next:

# mount -a

/mnt/data/share is a mounted HDD in my case but could be any external attached storage


2. Create User and sftpgroup group and add your new SFTP Jailed user accounts to it

To achieve SFTP only CHROOT Jail environment you need some UNIX accounts new group created such as sftpgroup and use it to assign proper ownership / permissions to newly added SFTP restricted accounts.

# groupadd sftpgroup

Once the group exists, next step is to create the desired username / usernames with useradd command and assign it to sftpgroup:


# adduser sftp-account1 -s /sbin/nologin -d /sftp/home
# passwd sftp-account1


usermod -G sftpgroup sftp-account1

Above both commands could be also done in one line with adduser


# adduser sftp-account1 -g sftpgroup -s /sbin/nologin -d /sftp/home

Note the /sbin/nologin which is set to prevent SSH logins but still allow access via sftp / scp data transfer clients Once the user exists it is a good idea to prepare the jailed environment under a separate directory under root File system system lets say in /sftp/home/

3. Set proper permissions to User chrooted /home folder

# mkdir -p /sftp/home
# mkdir /sftp/home/sftp-account1
# chown root:root /sftp/
# chown sftp-account1:sftpgroup /sftp/home/sftp-account1

For each new created uesr (in this case sftp-account1) make sure the permissions are properly set to make the files readable only by the respective user.

# chmod 700 -R /sftp/home/sftp-account1

For every next created user don't forget to do the same 3. Modify SSHD configuration file to add Chroot match rules Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and to the end of it add below configuration:

# vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Subsystem sftp internal-sftp     
Match Group sftpgroup   
ChrootDirectory /sftp/home   
ForceCommand internal-sftp   
X11Forwarding no   
AllowTcpForwarding no

Restart sshd to make the new settings take effect, to make sure you don't ed up with no access (if it is a remote server) run the sshd daemon on a secondary port like so:

# /usr/sbin/sshd -p 2208 &

Then restart sshd – if it is old Linux with Init V support

# /etc/init.d/sshd restart

– For systemd Linux systems

# systemctl restart sshd

4. Verify Username (sftp-account1) could login only via SFTP and his environment is chrooted



This service allows sftp connections only.
Connection to closed.


sftp Connected to sftp>

5. Closure

The quick summary of What we have achieved with below is:

restrict Linux users from having no /bin/shell access but still have Secure FTP copy in few steps to summarize them

a. create new user and group for SFTP chrooted restricted access only
b. set proper permissions to make folder accessible only by user itself
c. added necessery sshd config and restarted sshd to make it working d. tested configuration

This short guide was based on documentation on Arch Linux's wiki SFTP chroot you can check it here.