Features, Installation, Usage of Network Security Toolkit (NST) in Linux

February 21, 2014 | By
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There are so many Linux distribution in the world now. From general Linux category until specific purpose of Linux. Today we will see a sneak peak of Network Security Toolkit Linux.

What is Network Security Toolkit (NST) Linux

NST is a Linux distribution based on Fedora Linux. NST provides security toolkit for professionals and network administrator with a comprehensive set of Open Source Network Security Tools. All of the tools in Top 125 Network Security Tools are included inside NST Linux. NST also comes with an advanced Web User Interface (WUI). We can say that NST Control Panel is in a web form. Another important thing is that NST can be used as a network security analysis validation.

Features

  • NST Web User Interface (WUI) as a system management for NST Linux
  • A lot of monitoring tools such as Network Interface, Bandwidth Monitor, ntop, ntopng, bandwidthd, Nagios Core, Zabbix and more
  • A lot of security tools such as Nmap, Nessus, Snort IDS, Hydra Console, ClamAV Virus Scanner, p0f OS Fingerprinting and more
  • Database tools for MySQL and postgreSQL
  • System tools such as Minicom Access Terminal Server, Remote System Command, File System Management and more
  • Developer tools such as NST JavaScript Console, Webkit: SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, Perl Prompt, PHP Prompt, Python Prompt and Tcl Prompt
  • Complete documentations, pre-built scripts and how-to’s

Installation

First, we can read the information about how to download NST Linux and burning the ISO Image from NST webpage. Once it done, we can reboot our computer and start the installation.

Since NST Linux is based on Fedora Linux, NST Linux installation is not much different with Fedora Linux. So, this article will more cover about some features inside NST Linux that might be used in daily operation.

Logging In

When the installation done, NST Linux has created a user with name NST User. You can login in with this user with no password.

NST Desktop

NST is equipped with various tools. You can see them when you are accessing Application from Activities menu on the top left.

NST Tools

NST Web User Interface (WUI)

The tools that shown on the desktop only a small part of NST capabilities. The true power of NST Linux is the NST Web User Interface. The NST Web User Interface or NST WUI is some kind of control panel or system management for everything you want to do with NST. This feature can not be accessed unless you put a password for the existing user. To put or change the password, simply double click the icon Set the NST System Passwords. Then you will ask to fill the new password, or change the last password you have

Set system password

Once the process succeed, you can access NST WUI. Open the Mozilla Firefox browser, and put the address : http://127.0.0.1/nstwui

You will be asked a login password like picture below.

Enter password for http NST WUI

But since it a web tool, then you can also access it via other machine. The difference is that you have to use https protocol if you access NST WUI via online.

Enter password for NST WUI using https

NST Start Page

On NST WUI landing page you will see this information :

A Menu on the top left

Top menu

NST IP Address and how long it have been running

Info on the right

NST Pro registration Code

NST Pro registration

NST WUI menu

NST WUI menu

Full NST WUI Landing Page

NST Landing Page full

Sneak Peak of NST Linux

Enable Bandwidthd

Bandwidthd is a network traffic probe that shows an overview of network usage. To enable this feature, we can go to menu Network > Monitors > bandwidthd UI.

Enable bandwidthd

Then choose the network interface that we want to monitor, configure the parameter and its subnet.

Configure bandwidthd

Then click Start bandwidthd button.

Run banwidthd

NST provide two different interface for this.

Interface for bandwidthd

First is the original bandwidthd interface.

Original bandwidthd

Second, the NST WUI bandwidthd interface, for real-time monitoring with graph.

NST WUI bandwidthd interface

Monitor CPU utilization

When we are running a lot of activities, we may want to know about our CPU Utilization. NST provide us a tool to do that.
This tool can be accessed via menu System > Processes > CPU Usage Monitor.

CPU menu

Just wait a few seconds to get the graph.

CPU utilization interface

SSH to the server

When you need to do a remote activity via shell you can do it via web. NST Linux provide this function. Just go to menu System > Control Management > Run command

SSH menu

Then you will have SSH client on the web.

SSH via web

Launch X Window Application

With this feature, you can launch X Window application without remote to the server. The application graphical presentation will be redirected to the X Server on your client computer. But before doing this, you need to ensure that your X Server on your computer accept TCP connection. This because by default, in modern Linux distribution the X Server will reject any X Window connection from other host except from localhost.

In this article, we are using Zorin Linux 7 which based on Ubuntu as a client. Here are the steps :

1. Enable XDMCP

$ sudo vi /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

Add these lines :

xserver-allow-tcp=true
[XDMCPServer]
enabled=true

Lightdm configuration file

2. Restart lightdm

$ sudo restart lightdm

Note : this command will restart your X Window. All open applications will be closed

3. Make sure that port 6000 is listening

Run netstat to to check it

$ netstat -an | grep -F 6000

Netstat scan port 6000

4. Allow your computer to accept X Server connection

In this article, the NST Linux IP Address is : 192.168.0.105 and the client is 192.168.0.104. Run xhost command from the client side to add NST Linux server into the list of allowed host to make the connections.

$ xhost +192.168.0.105

xhost command

Once the you have done the steps, you can try to launch X Window application from NST WUI. For example, we try to launch Wireshark application from the NST WUI. Go to menu X > Network Applications > Wireshark (Packet Capture).

Wireshark menu

Then Wireshark will pop-up.

Wireshark application

The status (on probe) at the header tell us that it actually comes from the server but it rendered on the client side. If you run Microsoft Windows client, you can also do this if you run Cygwin/X on your Windows client.

Tooltip feature

This feature may be small but play important role. Why? Because every link on the web interface is equipped with quick explanation about what it is. Just put your mouse cursor at the top of a link. Here’s the sample :

Tooltip

Reboot or Shutdown the Server

NST WUI also allows server administrator to reboot or shutdown the server from the web. This example will show us if we want to reboot the server. Go to menu System > Control Management > Reboot.

Reboot NST Linux

Then when you press OK button, the server will reboot.

Conclusion

We found that NST Linux is equipped with useful tools for professional or network / security administrator. The features that discuss in this article only a little part of NST Linux power. With NST Web User Interface, you can do everything related to your server without leaving the web interface. From configuring services, SSH to the server without leaving the web interface and even launch desktop application via X Server. Another thing that will help you to use it, NST Linux has complete documentation and every link in the web interface has tooltip to explain about what it is.

Filed Under : OPEN SOURCE TOOLS, OPENSOURCE, SECURITY

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