Janik von Rotz

2 min read

SSH and network hardening

This post is part of my Your own Virtual Private Server hosting solution project.
Get the latest version of this article here: https://gist.github.com/9346641.




Change the default ssh port and disable root login

sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Set Port [custom ssh port number]
Set PermitRootLogin no

Restart the ssh service

sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

Update firewall rules now to enable ssh connection with your custom port

Reconnect your ssh host with the new port number

ssh -p [custom ssh port number] user@host


Install Fail2Ban

sudo apt-get install fail2ban

Copy the configuration file

sudo cp /etc/fail2ban/jail.conf /etc/fail2ban/jail.local

Edit the config file

sudo vi /etc/fail2ban/jail.local

Make the following changes:

port     = [custom ssh port number]


enabled  = true
port     = [custom ssh port number]

Finish editing and restart fail2ban service

sudo service fail2ban restart


Edit the network configuration file

sudo vi /etc/sysctl.conf

Paste the this configuration file to improve network security

# /etc/sysctl.conf - Configuration file for setting system variables
# See /etc/sysctl.d/ for additional system variables
# See sysctl.conf (5) for information.

# Uncomment the next two lines to enable Spoof protection (reverse-path filter)
# Turn on Source Address Verification in all interfaces to
# prevent some spoofing attacks
net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 1
net.ipv4.conf.all.rp_filter = 1

# Uncomment the next line to enable TCP/IP SYN cookies
net.ipv4.tcp_syncookies = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_max_syn_backlog = 2048
net.ipv4.tcp_synack_retries = 2
net.ipv4.tcp_syn_retries = 5

# Do not accept ICMP redirects (prevent MITM attacks)
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0
net.ipv6.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0
net.ipv4.conf.default.accept_redirects = 0 
net.ipv6.conf.default.accept_redirects = 0

# Do not send ICMP redirects (we are not a router)
net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0
net.ipv4.conf.default.send_redirects = 0

# Do not accept IP source route packets (we are not a router)
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_source_route = 0
net.ipv6.conf.all.accept_source_route = 0
net.ipv4.conf.default.accept_source_route = 0
net.ipv6.conf.default.accept_source_route = 0

# Log Martian Packets
net.ipv4.conf.all.log_martians = 1
net.ipv4.icmp_ignore_bogus_error_responses = 1

# Ignore ICMP broadcast requests
net.ipv4.icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts = 1

# Ignore Directed pings
net.ipv4.icmp_echo_ignore_all = 1

Categories: Web server
Tags: hardening , network , security , ssh , ubuntu , vps
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