Ten Linux-Based Products That Can Help Web Hosts to Improve Security Standard

Lately, security is constantly a news in the web hosting industry and we can’t help to feel vulnerable and ill at ease. A horde of hackers have both the skill and motivation to attack their victims. Many web hosts have done due diligence by maintaining a firewall, installing security fixes regularly and keeping their patches updated, but unfortunately, these methods only work half of the time and there are many more things to do.

For example, it may be necessary to set up intrusion detection and prevention system as well as performing security audits and penetration tests regularly. Web host administrators should follow up what experts are doing in response to questions on delivering viable security solution in critical areas of information, including optimizing data-intensive workloads to achieve acceptable value and performance. No matter how you slice it, security is critical and when ignored, it can prove to be the death knell of a web hosting company. These are ten Linux-based products with enhanced security features that can give web hosting administrators peace of mind.

1. BackTrack Linux

It’s currently the most acclaimed and highest rated secure Linux distribution. You can run BackTrack from a portable hard drive, thumbdrive or bootable DVD. BackTrack is actually not a server system but it can help web hosts to perform advanced network penetration tests. It is a specialized distro that helps web host administrators in performing security audits. BackTrack isn’t only for seasoned security professionals and many users will find BackTrack easy to configure, use and update. BackTrack is downloadable as a VMware virtual machine or ISO image.

2. Astaro Security Appliance

It is previously called Astaro Security Linux and offers a complete package developed specifically for web security, mail security and network security. It includes additional features such as NAT tools, bandwidth control, LDAP authentication integration, IPSec remote access, VPN, DoS attack protection, intrusion protection and configurable firewall. Astaro is recently purchased by Sophos, a company that boasts millions of business users around the world.

3. Lightweight Portable Security

The LPS (Lightweight Portable Security) distro is a thin Linux system that can run from a thumbdrive or CD and it’s not meant to run from a regular hard drive. There are two modes of LPS; remote access is intended only for accessing internal networks, while the public version allows users to get secure, general purpose web browsing. Web host administrators should use LPS when they need to remotely access their servers securely. LPS allows admins to reboot between sessions to remove any potential malware that may infect the system during the previous session.

4. IPFire

IPFire is an easy-to-use, secure and small firewall distribution. Like BackTrack, it has an active user community and sees a widespread adoption. Packfire is a special packaging system that is included with the IPFire, which can deliver new packages and updates through digital signature and encrypted transfer. IPFire also supports add-ons, such as backup tools, security tools, network tools, intrusion detection, VoIP applications, multimedia applications, anti-virus, mail-service, NFS, Samba and many others.

5. EnGarde Secure Linux

Many professionals consider it a perfect and secure platform for web servers. It offers common features of a secure distribution, such as firewall, DNS services, Web services, integrated alerts, secure network services, simple administration and intrusion detection. A unique system called GDSN (Guardian Digital Support Network) offers free access to all security and system updates. EnGarde is regularly updated and web host administrators can download a free live CD version of the distribution.

6. Live Hacking DVD

It is essentially a sandbox or playground for ethical hackers. The CD version is consisted only of command line, while the DVD comes with GNOME, a popular GUI for Linux. The CD versions is entirely as powerful as the DVD counterpart, although all features can only be invoked using the command line. Live Hacking has minimal system requirements and the current version can handle older Pentium IV and 512MB of RAM quite well, although it’s recommended to have at least 1GB of RAM. Before downloading Live Hacking, you’re required to agree that the tools provided are used for ethical and legitimate purposes only.

7. Smoothwall Express

It was first released in 2000 and can be considered as a good firewall solution for enterprise uses. The SmoothWall Express is essentially a security-hardened Linux distro with simple user interface. Web host administrators can use it to establish an effective firewall system and work with various connection methods.

8. NetSecL

It is another Linux distro based on OpenSUSE, which features penetration testing tool, security auditing, chroot hardening and GrSecurity. It is a versatile distro and web host administrators can use it for an ethical hacking, server and desktop platform. You can install it to a local hard disk or run it from a live DVD. GrSecurity is a complete, independent security enhancement suite that can be used by ISPs and web hosting companies. Other useful features are PADS, Metasploit, Nmap, Nessus, Kismet, Hydra, Ettercap and Amap.

9. Vyatta

It is developed by Vyatta, which delivers applications for networks, including for establishing a cloud architecture. Vyatta virtual application can work well with KVM, XenServer, Xen and VMware. Other features are IPSec, firewall, router-based services, IPv6 support, filtering tool, SSL-based VPN, intrusion detection and dynamic routing.

10 Openwall

It is a compact, security-enhanced distro which is suitable for web servers. Openwall is binary compatible with RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and used by web hosting administrators for security penetration tests.

About: This Article was Contributed By Raja. He Writes for WebHostingReview.info

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