Encrypted LVM remote unlock

Sometimes you want to have a strong Disk encryption but be still able to unlock it remotely. Sure, this is a compromise between security and usability, but here is what I come up with.
Before you follow my instructions, I allude you to carefully consider what that means for your thread model and system security.

0. You start with an normal lvm encrypted operating system.
1. Install dropbear and busybox
2. Edit the file /etc/initramfs-tools/initramfs.conf and add/modify Device and Network settings accordingly:

The last line requires some explanation. It consists of:
To bypass the ssh host checks (which would fail, because effectively the preboot environment is an autonomous os, independent of the other), you should select a different IP than that of the fully booted system.
3. Place your ssh-public key into the initramf’s root users home directory
rm /etc/initramfs-tools/root/.ssh/*
vi /etc/initramfs-tools/root/.ssh/authorized_keys

For privacy reasons (if you don’t want someone to associate this device with you through the use of your public key) you may want to use a separate key-pare, as this public key.
4. After you’ve added your public key, you need to regenerate the initramfs image using:
update-initramfs -u
5. After that reboot using
systemctl reboot
6. Now while the System is waiting for you to enter the password, go to a different client and connect using your private key (User: root) and your predefined IP address.
7. To unlock your device and continue booting (which will uninitialize the initramfs leaving you within a shell without any mounted file systems or applications) you have to somehow insert the Plain-text password into /lib/cryptsetup/passfifo (without a line break at the end)
The easyest (but also unsafest) way is a simple echo:
echo -n "EncryptionKey" > /lib/cryptsetup/passfifo

iptables to rsyslog

log all dropped connections to syslog

iptables -N LOGGING
iptables -A INPUT -j LOGGING
iptables -A OUTPUT -j LOGGING
iptables -j LOG --log-prefix "iptables: "
iptables -A LOGGING -j DROP

check that this line is in /etc/rsyslog.conf

$ModLoad imklog

after that create the file /etc/rsyslog.d/01-iptables.conf with the content:

:msg, startswith, "iptables: " -/var/log/iptables.log
& ~
:msg, regex, "^\[ *[0-9]*\.[0-9]*\] iptables: " -/var/log/iptables.log
& ~

line 1 and line 3 are filters and log file locations, if they match the log is written to the specified log file.
line 2 and 4 tell rsyslog “don’t process future rules (if the one before matches), it’s done for this log entry”

now the only thing left is to create a log rotation rule
create the file /etc/logrotate.d/iptables with this content:

/var/log/iptables.log {
	rotate 7
		invoke-rc.d rsyslog rotate > /dev/null
		iptables-save >> /var/log/iptables.log

Apache2 optimizations

To gain a faster page loading, you can enable the client side caching. That means that the browser of the connecting clients is storing the contents of your page until it expires.
Therefore you have to add the following under your virtual host entry (right before </VirtualHost>)

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
        ExpiresActive On
        ExpiresDefault "access plus 10 seconds"
        ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 60 seconds"
        ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 120 minutes"
        ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 120 minutes"
        ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 120 minutes"
        ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 60 minutes"
        ExpiresByType text/javascript "access plus 60 minutes"
        ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 60 minutes"
        ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 60 minutes"
        ExpiresByType text/xml "access plus 60 minutes"

After that run the following as root:

cd /etc/apache2/mods-enabled
ln -s ../mods-available/expires.load expires.load
ln -s ../mods-available/headers.load headers.load
service apache2 restart

Also if you want to redirect all http traffic to https you should use HTTP Response code 301 instead of 302. This is something that is nearly everywhere you look for http to https redirects missing (“R=301”).
To accomplish this you simply have to replace “<VirtualHost *>” at the beginning of your website configuration file (replace server names 😉 ) with:

<VirtualHost example.org:80>
        ServerName www.example.org
        # Redirect http://(www.)example.org/* to https://www.example.org/*
        RewriteEngine On
        RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}   ^(?:.*)example\.org$ [NC]
        RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT}   !^443$
        RewriteRule  (.*)  https://www.example.org$1   [R=301,L]
<VirtualHost example.org:443>

Also you should use the ServerName attribute and avoid using “<VirtualHost *>” for convenience and later usage.

Configuring https is as simple. First you have to get your certificate use startssl or lets encrypt.
After you have managed to get your certificate for (www.example.org; don’t miss typing the www subdomain 😉 ) place the files in the following directory:
The Private key: /etc/ssl/private/example.org.key
The Certificate File: /etc/ssl/certs/example.org.crt
The Intermediate Certificates File (e.g. lets encrypt or sub.class1.server.ca.pem): /etc/ssl/certs/letsencryptauthorityx1.pem or /etc/ssl/certs/sub.class1.server.ca.pem

After the files are there you have to add some text to your VirtualHost configuration section

<VirtualHost example.org:443>
        ServerAdmin webmaster@example.org
        ServerName www.example.org

        SSLEngine on
        SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/example.org.crt
        SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/example.org.key
        SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/ssl/certs/sub.class1.server.ca.pem
        SSLProtocol ALL -SSLv2 -SSLv3
        SSLHonorCipherOrder on
        # SSLCipherSuite ALL:!ADH:!RC4:+HIGH:!MEDIUM:!LOW:!SSLv2:!SSLv3!EXPORT
        # Replace Certificate Hashes below
        Header always add Public-Key-Pins "pin-sha256=\"Vjs8r4z+80wjNcr1YKepWQboSIRi63WsWXhIMN+eWys=\"; pin-sha256=\"YLh1dUR9y6Kja30RrAn7JKnbQG/uEtLMkBgFF2Fuihg=\"; max-age=2592000; includeSubdomains"
        Header always add Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=15768000"
        Header always add Content-Security-Policy "default-src 'self';frame-ancestors 'self';style-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline';script-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline' 'unsafe-eval';font-src 'self' data:;img-src 'self' data:"
        Header always add X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff"
        Header always add X-Frame-Options "sameorigin"
        Header always add X-XSS-Protection "1;mode=block"

As soon as WordPress stops using inline scripts, inline styles, fonts as “data:” urls and also images as “data:” urls, the line:

Header always add Content-Security-Policy "default-src 'self';frame-ancestors 'self';style-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline';script-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline' 'unsafe-eval';font-src 'self' data:;img-src 'self' data:"

can be changed to the more secure

Header always add Content-Security-Policy "default-src 'self';frame-ancestors 'self'"

Disable Zone Transfer BIND9

If you use webmin go to “Zone Defaults” and enter “none” into the “Allow transfers from…” text box.

If you don’t use webmin go to the file “/etc/bind/named.conf.options” and enter the following:

allow-transfer {

If this file doesn’t exist for you, just chech the config file “/etc/bin/named.conf” if there is an include with the ending “.conf.options” use that and otherwise enter directly in named.conf as last possibility (but check other included config files if it exists elsewhere).

Status Monitoring – Statusbar

How to have one line updated, for example showing available disk space updated every second.

Within one line:

while true; do echo -ne “$(df | grep /dev/sda4)\\r”; sleep 1; done

how it works:

while true: start of endless loop

  • echo:
    • -n: prevents line warp after outputting
    • -e: allows backslash escape keys
    • $(command): Runs the command and inserts the output
    • \\r: the first backslash escapes the second, and \r stands for jumping to the beginning of the line
  • sleep 1: pause for one second

done: end of endless loop


Within a script, you can write it into multiple lines:

while true
     echo -ne “$(df | grep /dev/sda4)\\r”
     sleep 1