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Hey all! I am not necessarily new to Linux (i have been using it for the past 10 or so weeks, Ubuntu on my home machine and fedora for school/research ...
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  1. #1
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    New here and need some advice. Wanting to make and maintain server!


    Hey all! I am not necessarily new to Linux (i have been using it for the past 10 or so weeks, Ubuntu on my home machine and fedora for school/research job). but i have some things i wanna do and don't know where to go.

    First off i'll introduce myself! I am a freshmen Physics major and computer science minor (thinking about upping that comp sci minor to a second major), and have known about linux for a long time i just never used it. Ever since i started i fell in love with it. I wish that it were the standard, and my hate for windows (which used to be my hate for macs) is now hate for both and i wish that things like adobe, steam, etc all supported Linux instead

    Anyway, one thing i really have been interested in is security. I always wanted to know how to hack computers but always realized it was not a good way to spend time - since it can be malicious, I didn't wanna write a virus or anything, i just like finding tricks and exploits that most people don't see.

    One time i was on a forum and some kid was ranting about he wants to be a 1337 hax0r and some guy said "Why not stop acting like a punk and maintain a server? Play the guards not the burglers" and i thought that that was a great idea! I have a computer at home that i don't user anymore, 2.4Ghz, 8GB DDR2 RAM, integrated graphics. Its not an amazing computer (its the last computer i bought from a store before learning how to build my own and realizing how much better and cheaper home built computers were). So i decided "why the hell not? that would so much fun and i would learn all the stuff about security that i wanted to know but this time i am fighting on the good side instead of the dark side."

    So now i am here asking you guys this:

    How do i turn that old computer into a server and how do i learn to protect it? How do i learn to thwart those hackers?!

  2. #2
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    First things first, get a server OS installed. I recommend CentOS as it is based on Red Hat / Fedora. There is a great support community behind it and it works great. I maintain several of these servers and I can happily say I have never had a problem. I would suggest downloading CentOS 6.2 and installing it. I would also suggest reading the release notes prior to installation. One thing to remember when you are setting it up is to make sure that you enable and setup the network card as it is disabled by default. The next thing you need to decide prior to installation is what type of server do you want this to be? Do you want it to be a web server, file server, database server, terminal server, mail server, etc. Once this is decided you can decide what way you want to install it. I personally install all minimal server installs and then just grab the packages I want and I never install a GUI on a server. However, this should wait until you have had some more experience. I would suggest installing based on some of the pre-configured options in the graphical setup. If you need anything further, just reply and I will help as much as I can

    Just an FYi you will need to do some reading to master this. Same as any other technology

  3. #3
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    As well as the above, grab yourself a copy of deliberately vulnerable linux and backtrack, and use backtrack to attack dvl until it is patched and secure. I would put them in vms on the same hardware and due to the nature of dvl not allow it any real network access!
    What do we want?
    Time machines!

    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


    The Fifth Continent

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    Quote Originally Posted by ktech11 View Post
    First things first, get a server OS installed. I recommend CentOS as it is based on Red Hat / Fedora. There is a great support community behind it and it works great. I maintain several of these servers and I can happily say I have never had a problem. I would suggest downloading CentOS 6.2 and installing it. I would also suggest reading the release notes prior to installation. One thing to remember when you are setting it up is to make sure that you enable and setup the network card as it is disabled by default. The next thing you need to decide prior to installation is what type of server do you want this to be? Do you want it to be a web server, file server, database server, terminal server, mail server, etc. Once this is decided you can decide what way you want to install it. I personally install all minimal server installs and then just grab the packages I want and I never install a GUI on a server. However, this should wait until you have had some more experience. I would suggest installing based on some of the pre-configured options in the graphical setup. If you need anything further, just reply and I will help as much as I can

    Just an FYi you will need to do some reading to master this. Same as any other technology
    Thanks so much for the response! I don't know what kind of server i want it to be as i am not educated on the types of servers i can make it into. Can i make a web server that hosts a website so i dont have to pay a company to host a website for me? That would be great as this summer i will be teaching myself HTML and would love to put it on a the internet for cheap. One thing i reallllly want to do is make my own social network website, something very basic where people can register, make their own accounts, etc. It would just be an experiment for me to learn HTML, PHP and other scripting languages but that is definately something i would love to happen. What do you reccomend i make it, this is my first time ever making a home server and i really want to learn all i can!

    Remember the ultimate goal is to not only make a server that hosts some sort of website or data but also to learn how security works! I want hackers to try and get in so i can learn how to keep them out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by elija View Post
    As well as the above, grab yourself a copy of deliberately vulnerable linux and backtrack (urls taken out because i by quoting you i am violating the rule that says users must have 15 posts before posting urls links), and use backtrack to attack dvl until it is patched and secure. I would put them in vms on the same hardware and due to the nature of dvl not allow it any real network access!
    I haven't heard of deliberately vulnerable linux but i have heard of backtrack linux, how do you suggest i run these two at the same time? Are you suggesting i install DVL on my server and then backtrack on another computer and use backtrack to hack DVL? BTW thanks so much for the reply! I really need all the help i can get and you guys are doing awesome!

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    regarding hosting your own website, you can get a free domain name at dyndns.org or at no-ip.com. i use dyndns, they give you two free hostnames. you select a unique domain name and they append their domain name to it, so you might get, e.g.:

    silman.dyndns.org

    once you register (for free), you pick your domain name, and it is associated with your detected internet ip address (probably assigned via your ISP) although they allow you to specifiy one.

    then you set up your webserver and make sure port 80 (or whatever) is allowing incoming connections. you may need to fiddle w/your router, if you have one, in order to allow this.

    you'll also need to get and install a dns client application. you provide it your dyndns username, password, and computer hostname, and it will run as a daemon, periodically checking that your internet ip address properly resolves to your chosen domain name.

    then from anywhere on the internet, you can go to http://silman.dyndns.org (or whatever you call it). and if you set up ssh (and allow it thru your firewall), you can remotely log in to, e.g.:

    Code:
    ssh you@silman.dyndns.org
    Last edited by atreyu; 05-19-2012 at 03:06 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #7
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silman View Post
    I haven't heard of deliberately vulnerable linux but i have heard of backtrack linux, how do you suggest i run these two at the same time? Are you suggesting i install DVL on my server and then backtrack on another computer and use backtrack to hack DVL? BTW thanks so much for the reply! I really need all the help i can get and you guys are doing awesome!
    If you can, I would recommend virtual machines so that you can take and restore snapshots easily as you play and learn.
    What do we want?
    Time machines!

    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


    The Fifth Continent

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    Is there a guide i can follow for setting up a web-server? I very inexperienced in HTML but i really want to learn and i wouldn't know how to set up ssh.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silman View Post
    Is there a guide i can follow for setting up a web-server? I very inexperienced in HTML but i really want to learn and i wouldn't know how to set up ssh.
    Install the apache web server w/yum:

    Code:
    yum install httpd
    start it:
    Code:
    service httpd start
    make sure it auto-starts after reboots:
    Code:
    chkconfig httpd on
    see a CentOS manual on configuring it here.

    The OpenSSH package is surely already installed. you can try to install it, to see:

    Code:
    yum install openssh-server
    start it:
    Code:
    service sshd start
    autostart:
    Code:
    chkconfig sshd on
    more on configuring ssh here.

  10. #10
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    There are several guides out there. What you want to set up if you want it to be a web server is what you will see commonly referred to as a LAMP server. (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP). You will want to install all of these from the command line if you want to learn more about it. If you want it up quick and easy, then the CentOS graphical install has a mode for installing as a web server. If you want a quick and easy walk-through check this one out
    http://www.howtoforge.com/quick-n-ea...er-centos-rhel

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