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Protect withRaspberry Pi

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Security doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Monitoring, protecting and defending your networks can be fun… if you take the right approach. Part of making it fun is – love it or loathe it, there’s no denying it – the Raspberry Pi, which enables anyone to undertake a host of real-world complex projects for very little cost.

Helping to protect your networks this issue, we’re creating a Raspberry Pi honeypot that you can deploy on any network to lure and ensnare unwitting hackers. To block malware we’ll cover Pi-hole, now on version 3, to protect your entire network from ad-based annoyances; USB Sanitizer will scan and safely copy suspect storage devices, and finally we use Kali Linux to wardrive your networks for security holes.

Learn more with Linux

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To quote Natalie Portman, “Learning is beautiful.” Isn’t that the truth? If you’re reading Linux Format, you undoubtedly have the same sentiment; that’s the beautiful thing about using Linux and open source – the continuous learning curve. Just as you think you’ve mastered one area, a whole new technology appears for you to tackle.

With the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s mission to push coding into the curriculum, Linux powering more areas within schools, and open source becoming an increasingly important area, we’re dedicating our back-to-school issue to explaining how you can use Linux, open source and low-cost single-board PCs to power your own and children’s education at school.

A virtual world

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We expect virtualisation isn’t anything new to you, our happy reader, but it’s a topic that’s constantly evolving, improving and has become essential to a world that expects the ability to spin up multiple instances remotely in seconds. So this issue we’re holding your hand and taking you through the vital basics of creating a VirtualBox, getting more from managed snapshots to newer Docker Containers and cutting-edge development of GPU passthrough. So by the end of this issue you should feel you know your KVMs from your kernel chroots.
Even if you’re just using VirtualBox to keep a sneaky install of Windows hidden away (admit it, you know it’s true), the copious amounts of storage and computing power that even a modest PC offers can happily cope with storing and running multiple instances. It’s just a matter of knowing the best approaches, and is another fine example of how open source technologies have come to rule this admittedly virtual world.

Escape Windows! (again)

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Don’t use Linux because it’s free, but because it frees you and your hardware. We’re not here to bash Windows, we’re here to give you choice. When you buy a Mac you have to run MacOS. Buy a PC and you’ll be steered in the direction of Windows 10. I’m not even going to mention tablets, phones, TVs and even cars. All are examples of companies attempting to lock-in consumers to a walled software ecosystem. When you own the hardware, why is the software you can run being dictated to you?
The PC is a general-purpose computing engine. It should and usually can run any software you like – though recent examples show even the PC is being walled off through its firmware. That’s where open source Linux-based OSes come into play.
If you believe you shouldn’t be locked out of hardware that you own, then that’s just one reason open source software is so vital to the world. For us older types, another reason is the fun of getting to play with the inner workings of the OS – something that modern devices and their OSes are making increasingly difficult.
Even if you don’t accept the privacy and spying arguments for open hardware and software, surely having full ownership and control over the devices you buy is important? I feel you shouldn’t have to be beholden to huge corporations to do basic computing, worry about what personal information they’re retaining, or forced to use specific types of software.

Shields up!

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Companies that market products like to talk about the “threatscape”. Long gone are the days when someone might be coding a virus for fun, as an experiment or to see if they could get it to propagate widely enough to gain some notoriety and online kudos in equal measure. Yet for the majority of Linux users there’s not even a threat of traditional malware, be it spamming toolbars into your browser or trying to monitor what you do. Today, the threatscape is more directed at online systems, which can be attacked directly using any known weakness and then typically hit with ransomware. This, alongside social engineering attacks – in terms of phishing emails – are the biggest threats that most standard users face today.
That’s the guiding light for the 2017 edition of the Linux Format Learn to Hack guide. By looking at the methods and techniques hackers use to attack systems, we can learn how to plug holes and protect those systems. It feels like it’s been at least a little while since the last major security hole appeared after the torrent filled 2016. Though having just written that, both Sod and Murphy’s law will now apply...

Orange army

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We know there’s a collective roll of the eyes from many regular readers when we run our (bi)-annual Ubuntu release covers. But there’s no escaping the sales boost every orange-soaked cover gains on the yearly 04 release schedule. It’s actually heartening to see so many people looking forward to, or at least welcoming, the release of a new version of Ubuntu by rushing out and snapping up our little magazine.
The truth is that Canonical, and its prime distro Ubuntu, remains a key driver for Linux both on the desktop and in the enterprise world. Red Hat and SUSE certainly have made their own mark in enterprise, but Canonical is seeing wins in the telephony industry, ‘cloud’ market and the emerging IoT world of devices from Pi-like boards to self-driving cars and robots, as we covered the LXF223 show report.

Better infrastructure

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The stupid thing is that we all know to keep our desktop and server up to date, right? We truly hope so. The simple reason being that new exploits are being discovered all the time – let’s not even get into the CIA Vault 7 revelations – so unless you can keep your infrastructure updated, you have no security.

The Terminal Man

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It’s one of those issues where we’ve had to sneak the main feature past management to get it into the magazine. But using the terminal is so core to Linux day-to-day life we were way overdue a decent look at the subject. Over the last year of Linux Format we’ve been slowly pecking away at the terminal with a regular tutorial section, but like the clichéd guided horse there’s no reason that someone might try it unless they’re forced to!

Slippery slope

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In the USA there’s the Fourth Amendment, here in Europe there’s the European Convention on Human Rights and both protect an individual’s rights when it comes to government interference over person, possessions and private life. In the past that largely meant the government couldn’t just waltz into your property and seize any documents (or persons) it felt like, listen in on your private conversations or stop you from moving around the country without a damn good reason. Sounds reasonable, right? It seems in the internet age those rights no longer apply.

Secured for 2017

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We know 2016 was bad for security threats and 2017 isn’t looking any better. But with hackers turning their attention to poorly secured internet of thing (IoT) devices, rather than better secured servers or desktop computers, isn’t it about time you started taking your network security more seriously?

This issue we take a long look at the rush by consumers to install insecure devices on their home networks, what you can do to lock down your own network and devices to help protect yourself, create a truly secure smart home built not only on Linux servers, but also Linux-powered IoT devices that you control. It’s these last two points that are just as important. Part of the issue with the IoT is the loss of ownership and control people have over these devices.



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