How to Hide OpenSSH Ubuntu version from Nmap and other scanners

In Ubuntu or Debian, a default OpenSSH server will display OpenSSH version alongside with Ubuntu/Debian distribution banner:

$ telnet repeater.my 172.16.91.20 22 
Trying 172.16.91.20...
Connected to 172.16.91.20.
Escape character is '^]'.
SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_6.6.1p1 Ubuntu-2ubuntu2

You can hide the identifying part of Ubuntu-2ubuntu2 from the server banner by editing /etc/ssh/sshd_config file, and adding “DebianBanner no” either at the end of the file, or just under “Port 22” configuration in “/etc/ssh/sshd_config

#/etc/ssh/sshd_config 
# What ports, IPs and protocols we listen for

Port 22
DebianBanner no

Save and restart OpenSSH server by typing

sudo service ssh restart

Now the response will just be:

Trying 172.16.91.20...
Connected to 172.16.91.20.
Escape character is '^]'.
SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_6.6.1p1

Happy trying!

Further Reading: Ubuntu Server Administrator Reference

FastSSH.com – free SSH tunnelling account !

FastSSH.com is a provider for FreeSSH account, which can be use for secure tunneling account or to avoid from Firewall.

User has to select SSH account from a set of locations (refer to picture below), which has its own features and limited. (ie: some server offer protocol forwarding in UDP and TCP, while some impose limit on 500 connections/day).

fastssh-selection

Creating an account is as easy as filling the “Account Creation Form”, which does not require email. Account created through FastSSH is valid for SEVEN(7) days.

fastssh-selection-4

However, I personally do not use FastSSH as I’ve my own box, and relying on a 3rd party SSH provider for my tunneling needs would pose security concerns over sensitive data. You’ve been warned.

*FastSSH does not offer UNIX shell, instead it only offers SSH tunneling service. See Simple SSH Tunelling Tips and SSH port forwarding in Microsoft Windows for more information on SSH tunelling

How to Secure SSH server from Brute-Force and DDOS with Fail2ban ( Ubuntu )

Fail2ban is a security tool used for preventing brute-force attack and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack to your GNU/Linux box.

Fail2ban monitors failed login attempts and subsequently blocks the ip address from further logins. Although Fail2ban can also be used to secure other services in Ubuntu server, in this post, I will only focus on securing SSH server.

Step 1: Install Fail2ban and (optionally) sendmail

sudo apt-get install fail2ban
sudo apt-get install sendmail-bin

Step 2: Setting up Fail2ban

Next, you need to configure fail2ban by creating a copy of ‘jail.conf’ to ‘jail.local’

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

Step 3: General fail2ban configuration

Edit fail2ban configuration file using your favorite text-edito (I personally use ‘nano’)

sudo nano /etc/jail.local

You can set IP address for fail2ban to ignore, IP addresses can be separated by space.

Bantime is the duration of time that you want fail2ban to block suspicious attempt, the value is in seconds
Maxretry is the number of failed attempts before fail2ban block the IP-address, in this case 3600 means 1-hour ban

# "ignoreip" can be an IP address, a CIDR mask or a DNS host
ignoreip = 127.0.0.1 192.168.1.1
bantime  = 3600
maxretry = 3 

Step 4: Enabling ssh and ssh-ddos protection
Find ssh configuration under [ssh] heading, and enable it.

[ssh]
enabled = true
port    = ssh
filter  = sshd
logpath  = /var/log/auth.log
maxretry = 3 

Similarly, you can also enable [ssh-dos] protection by changing the enabled value to “enabled = true

[ssh-ddos]
enabled = true
port    = ssh
filter  = sshd-ddos
logpath  = /var/log/auth.log
maxretry = 2

Step 5: Enable Sending Notification Email (optional)
Optionally you can have fail2ban sends you notification email in case of suspicious login detected. To do that, you need to locate destemail settings and changed it to your email

destemail = security@mypapit.net

Fail2ban can use ‘sendmail’ and ‘mail’ application to send notification email

Step 6: (Re-)start Fail2ban
After all is done, you may save the file, and (re)start the fail2ban service

sudo /etc/init.d/fail2ban restart

You can test the configuration by trying to login into your box. You may also check fail2ban log in /var/logs/auth.log (or in other directory specified in jail.local)

For more information about fail2ban, you can read : the official fail2ban manual

Recommended Reading

Howto solve ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host error

I’ve keep getting the message “ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host error” after I managed to finalized my CRUX linux on my decTOP box today. After enough looking into documentations, I finally found out that I need to edit the “/etc/hosts.allow” file to allow SSH connection, for example:


#/etc/hosts.allow
sshd:ALL

or for more conservative setting


#/etc/hosts.allow
sshd:LOCAL
sshd:192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0

I can connect ssh to my box normally after that.

Howto make SSH listens on multiple port

Although it is a security risks, it is possible to make OpenSSH listens on multiple port.

To do that, you need to edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config file. and enable the “GatewayPorts” option.

AllowTcpForwarding no
GatewayPorts yes
X11Forwarding no
#X11DisplayOffset 10

Look for the line that contain “Port 22”, and uncomment it if necessary, and add additional Port line to enable OpenSSH to listen to other ports. Like this:

Port 22
Port 80
Port 1025

The example will enable OpenSSH to listen to port 22,80,1025 simultaneously. Don’t forget to restart SSH service to enable the change by running :

sudo /etc/inet.d/sshd restart

Warning: Running SSH on multiple port may cause security risk, you have been warned!

Recommended Reading