Category Archives: Linux

The best tool to clone hard drives, is free!

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While not a security related post…I thought I would let everyone know about a really good open source hard drive cloning software that I recently discovered when I needed to clone and image multiple Linux systems. It’s called Clonezilla and works just like Symantec Ghost but faster and free.

From the Clonezilla web site:

“Clonezilla, based on DRBL, Partition Image, ntfsclone, and udpcast, allows you to do bare metal backup and recovery. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla server edition. Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore. While Clonezilla server edition is for massive deployment, it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the harddisk. This increases the clone efficiency. At the NCHC’s Classroom C, Clonezilla server edition was used to clone 41 computers simultaneously. It took only about 10 minutes to clone a 5.6 GBytes system image to all 41 computers via multicasting!”

Yeah, it’s fast alright! I have been using the Clonezilla Live to image hard drives and it has been working great. You can also run it off of a USB thumb drive if you are so inclined. So, don’t fork over $$ to that evil empire called “Symantec”…give Clonezilla a try if you want to clone a drive or multiple drives. :-)

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How to Secure Linux Laptops

Filed under Linux

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Good article over at Linux.com about how to secure your Linux laptop from a physical and data perspective (including hard disk encryption). I usually see a ton of articles about how to secure Windows and Mac laptops but not a lot on Linux. From the article:

“There are three problems with having a computer stolen: the loss of the machine, the loss of the information on it, and the possible security breach if that information includes sensitive information or client data. Each of those problems requires a different approach.”

The author talks about several different solutions around whole disk, separate partition, and USB encryption using solutions like dm-crypt and TrueCrypt. I am a personal fan of TrueCrypt and I have been using that to secure my data to a USB drive. There is also some good stuff on laptop tracking solutions for Linux. Don’t forget, one of the best deterrents…is to use a cable lock..yes, a cable lock can easily be cut but as a deterrent to physical theft it works pretty well.

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Gentoo Installation Woes

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So I have been tinkering around with Gentoo Linux and have been trying to get it up and running on a Dell D620. My first mistake was using genkernel instead of manually configuring the kernel (as recommended by Gentoo). Genkernel seems to install all kinds of extra stuff that you don’t need. My problem is that xorg won’t configure properly…looks like a kernel issue with the Intel 945g video. I have followed these instructions in the Gentoo Wiki and still can’t get X to work properly. I am going to try and reinstall with a manual kernel configuration. In the meantime, if you have a D620 and running Gentoo please post any suggestions in the forum. :)

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Shell game: Managing Bash command history

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Here is a good article on how to manage your shell history. For those of you that don’t know, all the commands that you enter into a Bash shell (default shell on many Linux distros) are stored in a history file. This is to allow a user to use previous executed commands. The problem with this is that an attacker could easily compromise this history file and get all kinds of good data if they were able to own your machine. With these tips you can limit the size and behaviour of this file or remove the history on logout.

Shell game: Managing Bash command history

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