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Securing Debian Manual
Chapter 2 - Before you begin


2.1 What do you want this system for?

Securing Debian is not very different from securing any other system; in order to do it properly, you must first decide what you intend to do with it. After this, you will have to consider that the following tasks need to be taken care of if you want a really secure system.

You will find that this manual is written from the bottom up, that is, you will read some information on tasks to do before, during and after you install your Debian system. The tasks can also be thought of as:


2.2 Be aware of general security problems

The following manual does not (usually) go into the details on why some issues are considered security risks. However, you might want to have a better background regarding general UNIX and (specific) Linux security. Take some time to read over security related documents in order to make informed decisions when you are encountered with different choices. Debian GNU/Linux is based on the Linux kernel, so much of the information regarding Linux, as well as from other distributions and general UNIX security also apply to it (even if the tools used, or the programs available, differ).

Some useful documents include:

In any case, there is more information regarding the services explained here (NFS, NIS, SMB...) in many of the HOWTOs of the The Linux Documentation Project. Some of these documents speak on the security side of a given service, so be sure to take a look there too.

The HOWTO documents from the Linux Documentation Project are available in Debian GNU/Linux through the installation of the doc-linux-text (text version) or doc-linux-html (html version). After installation these documents will be available at the /usr/share/doc/HOWTO/en-txt and /usr/share/doc/HOWTO/en-html directories, respectively.

Other recommended Linux books:

Other books (which might be related to general issues regarding UNIX and security and not Linux specific):

Some useful Web sites to keep up to date regarding security:


2.3 How does Debian handle security?

Just so you have a general overview of security in Debian GNU/Linux you should take note of the different issues that Debian tackles in order to provide an overall secure system:

This document as well, tries to enforce a better distribution security-wise, by publishing security information specific to Debian which complements other information-security documents related to the tools used by Debian or the operating system itself (see Be aware of general security problems, Section 2.2.


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Securing Debian Manual

2.99 18 April 2004Wed, 3 Mar 2004 09:18:54 +0100

Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña jfs@computer.org