Archive for March 12th, 2017

How to be your own Certificate Authority(CA) with self signed certificates

This is a hands on tutorial on how you can setup your own Certificate Authority(CA) for internal network use. Once the CA certs are setup, you will generate certificate request(CSR) for your clients and sign them with your CA certs to create SSL certs for your internal network use. If you import your CA certs to your browser, you will be able to visit all internal sites using https without any browser warning, as long as the certs the your internal services are using are signed by your internal CA.

*Demo – Own CA for the internal domain

1. Prepare certificate environment
and default parameters to use when creating CSR –

# mkdir /etc/ssl/CA
# mkdir /etc/ssl/newcerts
# sh -c "echo '100000' > /etc/ssl/CA/serial"
# touch /etc/ssl/CA/index.txt

# cat /etc/ssl/openssl.cnf
 dir		= /etc/ssl		# Where everything is kept
 database	= $dir/CA/index.txt	# database index file.
 certificate	= $dir/certs/home_cacert.pem 	# The CA certificate
 serial		= $dir/CA/serial 		# The current serial number
 private_key	= $dir/private/home_cakey.pem  # The private key
 default_days	= 1825			# how long to certify for
 default_bits		= 2048
 countryName_default		= US
 stateOrProvinceName_default	= California
 0.organizationName_default	= Home Ltd

2. Create self signed root certificate and install the root certificate and key

# openssl req -new -x509 -extensions v3_ca -keyout home_cakey.pem -out home_cacert.pem -days 3650
# mv home_cakey.pem /etc/ssl/private/
# mv home_cacert.pem /etc/ssl/certs/

3. Generate a CSR for the domain you want to issue a certificate –

# openssl genrsa -des3 -out home_server.key 2048
# openssl rsa -in home_server.key -out server.key.insecure
# mv server.key
# mv server.key.insecure server.key

4. Create the CSR now and generate a CA signed certificate

# openssl req -new -key server.key -out server.csr
# openssl ca -in server.csr -config /etc/ssl/openssl.cnf

Directory structure after signing and issuing certificates –

# ls -l /etc/ssl/CA/
total 24
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 444 Aug 29 18:20 index.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  21 Aug 29 18:20 index.txt.attr
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root  21 Aug 29 18:16 index.txt.attr.old
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 328 Aug 29 18:18 index.txt.old
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root   7 Aug 29 18:20 serial
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root   7 Aug 29 18:19 serial.old

# ls -l /etc/ssl/newcerts/
total 32
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4612 Aug 29 16:24 100000.pem
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4613 Aug 29 16:51 100001.pem
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4574 Aug 29 17:50 100002.pem
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 4619 Aug 29 18:20 100003.pem

# cat /etc/ssl/CA/index.txt
V	190828202443Z		100000	unknown	/C=US/ST=California/O=Home Ltd/OU=Home/
V	190828205127Z		100001	unknown	/C=US/ST=California/O=Home Ltd/OU=Home/
V	190828215006Z		100002	unknown	/C=US/ST=California/O=Home Ltd/
V	190828222038Z		100003	unknown	/C=US/ST=California/O=Home Ltd/OU=Home/

# cat /etc/ssl/CA/serial

Now that you have your certificate, in this example /etc/ssl/certs/home_cacert.pem, you can import it to your web client such as a web browser, LDAP client etc.

References –

Server refused to allocate pty

Server refused to allocate pty : pseudoterminal in use reached maximum allowed limit.

You are unlikely to encounter this error in most cases, as the default maximum number of pseudoterminal(pty) in a Linux environment is large enough for typical use cases. The error might occur though under either an admin lowering the pty limit or unusual high number of connections to the system, using ssh or GUI terminal. Under those circumstances, you will see the below error during ssh interaction –

$ssh daniel@
daniel@'s password:
Server refused to allocate pty

GUI terminal error –

There was an error creating the child process for this terminal
getpt failed: No such file or directory

Per the man page –

” The Linux kernel imposes a limit on the number of available UNIX 98
pseudoterminals. In kernels up to and including 2.6.3, this limit is
configured at kernel compilation time (CONFIG_UNIX98_PTYS), and the
permitted number of pseudoterminals can be up to 2048, with a default
setting of 256. Since kernel 2.6.4, the limit is dynamically
adjustable via /proc/sys/kernel/pty/max, and a corresponding file,
/proc/sys/kernel/pty/nr, indicates how many pseudoterminals are
currently in use.

To resolve this, get a count of pty currently allocated using either of the below commands –

[root@kauai tmp]# sysctl = 10

[root@kauai tmp]# cat /proc/sys/kernel/pty/nr 

You can list the allocated pts names –

# ps aux |grep -o -P '\s+pts/\d+\s+' |sort -u

If the currently allocated count is closer or less than to the limit, which you can find using


, go ahead increase the max limit as follows, say to 4096 in this example –

sysctl -w kernel.pty.max=4096

References –

AIDE installation and setup

AIDE (Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment) setup

AIDE is a host-based file and directory integrity checking tool, similar to Tripwire. It creates a snapshot of file details during initialization and stores them in a database. The files that AIDE monitors are user-defined rules, where the admin can specify which directories/files to keep an eye on. The snapshot is basically a message digest of the files/directories information returned by stat command. One AIDE is initialized, it can detect any changes in the future and alert the admin of such changes. AIDE can be configured to run on a scheduled based using cron jobs for instance.


yum list aide
yum install aide


Create AIDE DB – stores snapshot of file or directory stats by scanning the monitored resources.

$ /usr/sbin/aide --init 
$ mv /var/lib/aide/ /var/lib/aide/aide.db.gz

To minimize false positives – Set PRELINKING=no in /etc/sysconfig/prelink and run

 /usr/sbin/prelink -ua 

to restore the binaries to their prelinked state.

Scheduled integrity checks
Add a cron job to check file integrity, say every morning at 8 AM –

echo '0 8 * * * /usr/sbin/aide --check' >> /etc/crontab

Updating DB after making changes or verifying any changes reported during change –

$ aide -c aide.conf --update

References –

AIDE (Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment)