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Ubuntu Server Installation

The process of installing Ubuntu server be it on a Virtual Machine or an actual system can seem daunting at first, but aside from the GUI that Ubuntu Desktop boast the process is the same.

A prerequisite to the installation will be your boot media, I tend to use a USB stick for this as the process of creating the device is much easier and does not require any blank disks. There are a number of applications online that allow for you to create a bootable device but I have found Rufus to be the simplest and easiest to use.

Once you have the bootable device all you need to do is insert it into the system and power it on.

Stage 2 –  Select Language to display the installation in

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Stage 2 – Choose the type of installation, for the purpose of this tutorial and all my personal usage we will select “Install Ubuntu Server”

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Stage 3 – Select installation language

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Stage 3 – Select Location

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Stage 4 – Configure the keyboard, for the purpose of this demo it will be done manually. But there is the option for automatic keyboard detection

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Stage 5 – Select the keyboard configuration that best suit you

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Stage 6 – The installation detects disks and other hardware

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Stage 7 – The installer will acquire additional components such as the setup of the clock

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Stage 8 – The Installer then goes on to detect the network hardware

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Stage 8 –  Select the host name for the system or just the name of the system. An example might be mail if your device is intended to be a mail server.

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Stage 9 – Type in the users full name (The Username will be automatically detected using the users first name but can be changed)

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Stage 10 – Select user password and retype for confirmation

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Stage 11 – Select if you want your home directory to be encrypted (I usually select no as I have limited requirement for it)

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Stage 12 –  Confirm the automatic detection of the clock settings (If it is incorrect by selecting no you will be given the option to select yours)

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Stage 13 – The installer then detects all other disks and Hardware

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Stage 14 – Selecting the disk size and creating partitions (For this installation we only need this to be installed as a sole OS as the rest of the machines will be running virtually from this host server) You can select use entire desk or set up LVM. The only real benefit of LVM is on the fly partition changes.

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Stage 15 – Select this disk to write changes to

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Stage 16 – Confirm that you wish to write the changes, it may warn you that you will lose all existing data

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Stage 17 – Final confirmation to write changes to disk

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Stage 19 – The installer will then install the system to the disk/partition you have your opted for

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Stage 20 – Installer is configuring the Apt source lists

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Stage 21 – At this stage of the installation you are given the option to set up a Proxy connection, if you do not require this leave it blank and continue

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Stage 22 – The installer is selecting and installing the required software

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Stage 23 – At this stage I would suggest selecting “Install security update automatically” but decided based on your own preferences

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Stage 24 – The software selection alow for you to pre install certain packages before the initial boot into the server. This could potently save time, but I personal add all my software after the installation so select manual package.

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Stage 25 – The installer will then install any selected softwares and clean up once it is done.

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Stage 26 – The installer then sets up and installs the GRUB boot loader

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Stage 27 – If this is the only OS on the system then you need not worry about just selecting yes.

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Stage 28 – Confirm and finish the installation

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After you have finished the installation the system will reboot and you should remove the bootable media from the system before it boots back up.

A good method on first logging into the new system is to run the commands below as there is a high change the system will inform you that there are a number of packages that require updating. You can run them all at once with example 1 or individual wit example 2.

Example 1

sudo apt-get updates; sudo apt-get upgrade; sudo apt-get dist-update

Example 2

sudo apt-get updates
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-update

I hope this helps when installing Ubuntu server, and if you enjoyed check out my Home Server Project

 

Home Server Project: Part 1

I recently stumbled upon a HP ProLiant DL360 server, and after using an old ThinkPad T400s as a mail server I felt it would be a worth while investment.
Although this purchase was made without thinking about all the details in full such as the sound of the server and the weight and size.104684Specifications

  • CPU: 2x Xeon 5150 @ 2.66 GHz
  • RAM: 20GB (Mixture of 2 & 4 GB sticks)
  • HDD’s: 6 x 146GB SAS drive (876 GB SAS Total)
  • PSU: 700W
  • Storage Controller: Smart Array P400i Controller

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So overall it is a decent bit of kit for the price, but the next step was deciding what to do with it. I had a number of ideas but was limited due there only being 4 CPU cores. After a small amount of research and a quick check on eBay there is the option to upgrade to two 4 Core CPU’s for between £10-£30.

Buy upgrading the core count it will alow for a much greater amount head room in regard to Virtual Machines. Ideally the server will run Ubuntu 17.10 Server and utilise a number of headless Virtual Machines to run the rest of my intended operations.

I have decided definitely on a Plex server to alow for distribution of media around my house and with Plex Pass outside of the home. This is something I have set up a number of time and feel that by running it through a VM will make it easier as I will be able to remote into a Visual environment. I have seen a number of posts online mentioning the creation of a headless Plex server but to keep it simple when using an external drive I have decided to use Ubuntu Desktop.

Then there will be a virtual environment that will run my mail server, this will be done with iRedMail for no other reason than top keep it simple and easy. As iRedMail is a kind of all in one solution adding all of the packages required and create a web system for admin and accessing emails.
I could use PostFix and create the entire server bit by bit, but have found this solution to be more tedious and not as efficient. The mail server its self-will not require anything to fancy and the web-based access will be very rarely used, as Thunderbird or Android email will be used to send and receive mail.

This leaves me with a couple of other options that I am debating, one of which is a small NAS back up server for both mine and my partners Laptops. This wont require all that much storage space as it will only really be for crucial documents and potently documents we need to share. So it would only be 150GB or so. I have not looked too deep into this yet as I am still debating buying a dedicated NAS system.

I would also like to host a small web server to potently host Michael Talks Tech from my own server, I am aware that using WordPress is probably a much more reliable system. But I feel that if I have the capabilities I should at least consider it, I am also working on a number of projects that will require dedicated web hosting. So to reduce cost and control my data a small web server is a potential idea.

This project will be on going and Part 2 will be mainly focused on the initial setup and installation of the system and Virtual Machines. I would love to hear any other suggesting that I might not have considered.

 

 

CIA Concludes Russia was behind NotPetya

This week the CIA revealed that they belive it was Russia behind the NotPetya attacks that hit in June 2017. They used an attack vector know as a “Watering Hole”. This method infects a website in which they know their targets will be visiting.

In the case of NotPetya the website was a Ukrainian site that deployed updates for tax and accounting software. One the malware had been deployed it appeared to be a ransomware attack. But unlike WannaCry , NotPetya wiped and erased all information on the infected system. This means the attacker where not after money. It was a disruptive nuance attack that could have potently erased a large amount of sensitive data.

There has been increasing tension between Russia and Ukraine and considering that Russia has increased it level of aggression in recent months it comes as no surprise that they have begun lunching cyber attacks on this scale.

 

 

Kaspersky Lab 2018 Threat Predictions

Kaspersky Lab’s recently published their threat predictions for 2018, this report is complied using research and information from their anti-virus software. And with 2017 have seen threats such as WannaCry and NotPetya, 2018 might have a lot in store for it.

Supply Chain Attacks

A supply chain attack is a method used by attackers to breach the security of a companies without directly attacking their target. This means that the find a software vendor or other form os supplier and attack them. Once breach they have the ability to deploy an infected update through the compromised companies to their target.

During 2017 Kaspersky highlights Shadowpad, CCleaner and ExPtr/NotPetya. Kaspersky predicts that the number of supply chain attacks to not only be detected but also at the point of attack to increase. While they have not published any statistics they have been able to analyze this method of attack and belive it will be a popular attack vector in 2018.

High-End Mobile Malware

Over the past decade smart phone usage has become part of every day life, and due to this attackers have moved away from the conventual platforms to deliver malware. Kasperky predicts that their will an increase in hard to detect and remove malware on mobile device. An example of this would be the Shedun Trojan that in many cases took reinstalling the devices operating system to remove.

They also go on to point out that due to iOS being locked down and not allowing users the ability to scan the system, that users of Android are in a better position due to the being anti-virus solutions available on android. Although this could be due to their Android product, it gives food for thought that 2018 might have a lot in store for iOS in regard to security.

BeEF-like compromises with web profiling

The report also highlights that due to improvements in security and a great level of awareness, operating systems are getting much harder to find vulnerabilities in. The price of a zero-day exploits can be anywhere up to $1,500,000 for a remote iOS jailbreak with persistence attacks. With prices like this there is a hight chance that 2018 will see teams of both security researcher and also hacker hunting for these zero-day exploits.

UEFI and Bios Attacks

They have also predicted that 2018 will see a lot more UEFI-based malware. This attack vector can be rather dangerous as UEFI can allow for executables to be installed before the operating system has even booted. This can result in malware being deployed and installed before the systems anti-virus has been installed. As a result they are under the impress than there will be much more of this style of malware detected in 2018.

Destructive Attacks

According to the report there will be a greater amount of destructive attacks detected. The malware or wipers can remain dormant and infect numerous systems just as a normal worm would. But when activated the virus will then erase all of the data on the system. It is an effective and devastating method of cyber warfare resulting in their prediction of a raise in 2018.

Subversion of Cryptography

In todays age staying anonymous online is in the back of many people’s minds, after Snowden leaked documents highlighting mass surveillance. Kasbersky reports that a number of backdoor’s have been found in VPN networks. It also notes that the NSA appears to be behind these backdoor’s after paying companies to put them in. While in a lot of case this might not seem all that worrying, but their prediction of 2018 seeing more vulnerabilities  of this nature is rather worrying.

Router And Modem Hacks

During 2017 there was a massive vulnerability found in a large number of routers, the report also highlights how they belive we will see a lot more of these styles of attacks through 2018. They go on to explain that in some large-scale operations the router and modems will remain unpatched and un-watched for a long period of time opening them up all sorts of attacks.

 

Kaspersky Lab’s have published one of the earliest 2018 threat predicitions, and we will have to see how some of the other big security vendor think 2018 is going to go in terms of cyber security.