Configuring Linux Network –
Now most of you people using Linux, you may already know a few works around for maintaining your network. For people using Windows 2008 or 2012 Servers, configuring Linux Network environment will be a big deal. But, we people, the one who have been Linux administrators for quite long, know that Configuring Linux network is far easier than Windows and is just a piece of cake as compared to Windows, provided that you know almost all the required syntaxes.
Now, this topic has been debated for years. Besides, the rivalry between Linux and Windows is never-ending. (I am specifically not taking Mac OS here since it is an out of the world Operating System for managing networks here, which gets far more complex as you get in deep.). And let me tell that I too was a Windows Server Administrator when I started since that was the easiest to get started with.
But along the road things changed and it became hard. I was later introduced to Linux, and it went complete bonkers to me. But as I learned, I realized the differences, and that’s what I am here to tell you about. Also, we will be taking a look at configuring Linux Network environment as that is a must for aspiring L5 Administrators, Security Engineers, and Hackers.
The article on Configuring Linux Network learning is structured as below –
- Windows Server
- Linux Network Environment
- Configuring the Linux Network Environment
- when dealing with Linux Networks environment
The Windows vs Linux Network Debate
Before I start, let me tell you that this blog is just to highlight the strengths and weakness, or more preferably cons in case of Linux Network and the Windows Server. Microsoft Windows Server has a graphic based User interface which makes you think it is actually very easy to set up different things. But is it? Besides, along with easy configuring, there is a more crucial part here which is Security. Microsoft Windows is a purely commercial Operating System which means there will be updates for Security patches, and there are dedicated people assigned to do the job.
Besides, hacking into windows even for vulnerability assessment is a breach of agreement from Windows itself and is considered a major offense. This is to keep windows as closed source as possible and make it free from security issues. Microsoft windows are also the most used operating system in the world, be it either for personal or commercial use. Linux, on the other hand, is widely popular, but it is not used that much. One glance at Linux and people can say it is a sophisticated Operating System, which has its software’s assembled from all over the world. But doesn’t that mean, it has security issues? Yes and No both. We will get to that part later on. Nowadays, most configuring Linux network distributions come with Graphical User Interface pre-built. But Linux developers will always prefer using a command Line interface for configuring Linux network rather graphical because they know the disadvantages and lags in it. So, let’s take a deeper look into both and see who comes out at the top.
First things first, Let me break your uneducated guess and tell you that configuring windows network is way too different and difficult from configuring Linux network. In Windows, you have two ways to set up a specific network. The first way is to use the option of setting up the network with the help of the ‘Network Setup Wizard’. This is the easiest method and is perfect for inexperienced beginners as one has to just read, select and execute and the Windows does most of the job of setting up all the environment. However, the second part is the toughest. One has to do everything manually here. The user has to go through all the machine and check all the individual Linux network protocols to see whether they are identical or not and has to make sure there is no mistake done. This is for the experienced users only since this takes up a lot of time and is a tedious job.
Setting up the Windows Network Environment is not the only tough part here. The main problem with Windows is that it slows down a lot which hampers the total infrastructure along with it. The main reason for this is the updates from Microsoft which makes it quite laggy and slow, not to mention a number of bugs. Sometimes, it feels that it’s better not to patch up the security than to do it and later regret it. Windows was more popularly designed for a single user basis. People who have had experience with Windows 8.1, Server 2012 will know what I am talking about. But however, looks like things are going to change with Windows 10.
It is still however in a beginner stage, but it looks promising. The virtual desktops, multi-user smoothness, super-fast boot time along with lots of other features make it look promising. But still, Windows being the most popular user choice, the number of viruses and Trojans being in continuous development are uncountable. This the worst the windows can get since security is not something windows is very good at. But that does not make Windows Networking Systems an inferior operating system. Windows can still be secured with the help of firewalls, Anti-viruses, but that too at the cost of speed, efficiency, and expenditure. However, it is still very good for businesses which are small or still in development.
Linux Network Environment
Linux, on the other hand, has one of the oldest operating system environment here. It is not the best user-friendly software here, but at least better than the Mac OS. Besides, Security is never an issue in Linux, since it is an open source software, and more preferably there is no specific person to hate or curse when something goes bad. Linux network Windows, on the other hand, Bill Gates has a lot of haters, and not the mention it is consistently under the attack of worms, malware, and Trojans. Most people tend to believe that Linux does not have viruses. This is so not true. Linux has their own type of viruses, and these can get extremely hard to remove once they affect the network system.
But, unlike Windows, there is no autorun facility over here. Everything in Linux works with the help of a Script, and it is up to the administrator whether to execute it or not and that too manually. And since Linux is open source, there are a lot of developers out there, who keep on testing the new kernels, bugs and the community and support is much larger than that of Microsoft here, because of which it is much faster for updates on security issues and fixing bugs.
Linux is known to run multiple processes at once without compromising with the stability. And you may have seen that in Linux network Windows, there is always a need for reboot whenever you change or install a software. But that’s not the case in Linux and trust me when I say Linux never crashes. Besides, a Linux Administrator will have a much better overview of other running nodes and systems from a Linux distribution since everything is wide open for the Super User here, but for a Windows, other users can do still do some stuff which cannot be seen by the administrator such as hiding files.
Now that we know Linux Network environment is far more superior than Windows in terms of Server handling and Administration, let’s take a look at Configuring Linux network.
Configuring Linux Network Environment
Configuring Linux Network environment for home and for office are two different things. If you already have some experience in Linux, then you may know that most of the things are done via terminal here which is similar to that of the command prompt of Windows but is far more advanced and superior. Most Linux administrators prefer to write scripts for any network settings. So, once a script is written, next time onwards the Administrator just need to change the permissions of the script using ‘chmod u+x’ and then execute the shell script in any Linux Network. Most people prefer RedHat or a Debian System for administration. The best tool for configuring Linux network is a software known as ‘netenv’ meaning ‘network environment’. One can install this tool by typing the following:-
|$ sudo apt-get install netenv|
Here, one may not require sudo depending upon whether you are the SuperUser or just a User. The official website for netenv is http://www.netenv.com/. One may also need to use nmap to check whether the Linux network is consistent. Nmap also helps to scan how many systems are connected to the network, which ports are open, what services are being run, what is the operating system and other stuff. Before I run a Nmap scan, I need to set up a gateway for my other individual systems, and I can do that with the help of the following command:
As you can see, my gateway is 192.168.137.0 Once you get the gateway, you can get a list of connected systems by using Nmap. Following is an image of Nmap scan for a list of systems connected to my home Linux Network:
As you can see, I have two devices connected above, one is my Cell Phone and the other is My Linux Laptop itself. One can also get a good view of the types of systems connected. Similarly, you can also get information about the open ports, services, and connected systems with the help of the following command:
|$sudo nmap -A -O 192.168.x.x|
With the help of other software such as Ettercap, or Wireshark one can also view the packets being sent between multiple computers. And with the help of Aircrack-ng, one can even try to limit the packets or shut down the network environment itself. But that is for a long note. Linux Distributions by default have methods to increase or decrease the packet and data distribution.
Besides the above things, following are few other important stuff to know while Configuring Linux Network environment:
The Telnet is a software which used for accessing a computer remotely. Telnet is one of the most used software and it is also very popular, but it is terminal or more preferably console based. It is based on UNIX. However, the major downside of this application is that this is highly insecure. Anyone can view and trace the Linux network information being sent. This info can also be sniffed via lots of software such as the Ettercap or Wireshark. There is, however, an encrypted version which is used instead of the basic telnet known as SSH (Secure Shell), which requires a PGP key to authenticate to the remote host. Similar software is also available for Windows which is known as putty. Both of this software is interoperable. SSH can be installed via the following command:
|$ sudo apt-get install OpenSSH-server|
Similar to Telnet, there is also another software which is known as rlogin which is also widely used.
- X- Window
X- Window System is a basic standard window system for Graphical UNIX workstations. X-Window consists of two parts: the X- server and the X- Client. The Server here is the workstation from which the Administrator is accessing the client side workstation. This is very useful because it uses the least possible resource from the CPU. These systems are also known as X- terminals.
VNC or more commonly known as Virtual Network Connection is a Graphical User Interface which does the same work as that of telnet or X-window but on a Virtual Machine basis. The Administrator uses an IP address and a password for an authentication. It is somewhat similar to that of a mstsc of Windows where one can get a GUI of the remote host, but VNC is much less resource consuming than the Window’s ones. Linux Administrators, most of the time prefer a Shell login such as the SSH, since it does most of the job via terminal and is the least resource consuming from all of them.
There is actually much more to it than just these applications. Things like Tunnelling, Virtual private Networks, Mobile IP, configuring static and dynamic IPs using a network manager and np-config. Once you get a basic hang of configuring Linux network, all of these things come by naturally. One of the best ways to practice configuring Linux network is by using a Virtual Box or a VMware since both of them satisfy the necessary needs.
This has been a guide to the Configuring Linux Network. Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the Linux Network Environment so just go through the link.