Saturday, August 14, 2010

HOWTO : Highest secured Hiawatha Web Server 7.3 on Ubuntu 10.04 Server

Hiawatha is a very secure and fast web server in the market. It supports PHP, Perl, Python and Ruby. It is also very lightweight, easy to configure and setup too. For the performance, please refer to the study of SaltwaterC at here.

This tutorial is writing for setting up the highest secured web server. Please also to apply the "Optional" steps mentioned below for making the highest secured web server.


Select OpenSSH and Mail Server when installing Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS.

Update the fresh install system to the latest status.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

If the kernel or kernel modules have been updated, you are required to reboot your system before going further.

Step 1 - Installation of PHP5 and MySQL

sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client php5-cgi php5 php5-cli php5-mysql php5-curl php5-gd php5-idn php-pear php5-imagick php5-imap php5-mcrypt php5-memcache php5-mhash php5-ming php5-ps php5-pspell php5-recode php5-snmp php5-sqlite php5-tidy php5-xmlrpc php5-xsl php5-xcache php5-suhosin php5-ffmpeg

Step 2 - Installation of Hiawatha

Install required dependenices for Hiawatha.

sudo apt-get install libc6-dev libssl-dev dpkg-dev debhelper fakeroot libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev

Download the latest version of Hiawatha (the current version at this writing is 7.3).

sudo wget
tar -xzvf hiawatha-7.3.tar.gz
cd hiawatha-7.3

make deb

cd ..

sudo dpkg -i hiawatha_7.3_amd64.deb


sudo dpkg -i hiawatha_7.3_i386.deb

Step 3 - Configure PHP5 (Optional for security only)

The following settings are for making PHP5 more secure.

sudo nano /etc/php5/cgi/php.ini

Make changes as is.

display_errors = Off
log_errors = On
allow_url_fopen = Off
safe_mode = On
expose_php = Off
enable_dl = Off
disable_functions = system, show_source, symlink, exec, dl, shell_exec, passthru, phpinfo, escapeshellarg, escapeshellcmd

*some PHP applications may require safe_mode = off

Step 4 - Configure php-fcgi (PHP's FastCGI)

sudo nano /etc/hiawatha/php-fcgi.conf

Uncomment the following line and change it as is.

Server = /usr/bin/php5-cgi ; ; www-data ; /etc/php5/cgi/php.ini

sudo php-fcgi -c /etc/hiawatha/php-fcgi.conf

If you make any change on php-fcgi.conf, make sure to restart it by the following commands.

sudo php-fcgi -k -c /etc/hiawatha/php-fcgi.conf
sudo php-fcgi -c /etc/hiawatha/php-fcgi.conf

Step 5 - Configure Hiawatha (Part 1)

sudo nano /etc/hiawatha/hiawatha.conf

Uncomment ServerId at GENERAL SETTINGS.

ServerId = www-data

Uncomment the following entries at BINDING SETTINGS.

Binding {
   Port = 80
#   Interface =
   MaxKeepAlive = 30
   TimeForRequest = 3,20

Step 5a (Optional for security purpose) :

Add the following line at the GENERAL SETTINGS.

ConnectionsTotal = 1000
ConnectionsPerIP = 10
SystemLogfile = /var/log/hiawatha/system.log
GarbageLogfile = /var/log/hiawatha/garbage.log
ExploitLogfile = /var/log/hiawatha/exploit.log

LogFormat = extended
ExploitLogfile = /var/log/hiawatha/exploit.log
ServerString = Apache
CGIwrapper = /usr/sbin/cgi-wrapper

Make changes for the following entries at BANNING SETTINGS.

BanOnGarbage = 300
BanOnMaxPerIP = 300
BanOnMaxReqSize = 300
BanOnTimeout = 300
KickOnBan = yes
RebanDuringBan = yes

BanOnDeniedBody = 300
BanOnSQLi = 300
BanOnFlooding = 10/1:15
BanlistMask = deny, deny

KickOnBan = yes
ReconnectDelay = 3

Step 5b :

The entries at COMMON GATEWAY INTERFACE (CGI) SETTINGS should be looking like this.

CGIhandler = /usr/bin/perl:pl
CGIhandler = /usr/bin/php5-cgi:php
CGIhandler = /usr/bin/python:py
CGIhandler = /usr/bin/ruby:rb
CGIhandler = /usr/bin/ssi-cgi:shtml
CGIextension = cgi

FastCGIserver {
   FastCGIid = PHP5
   ConnectTo =
   Extension = php, php5
   SessionTimeout = 30

Step 5c :

Add the following line at VIRTUAL HOSTS.

Include /etc/hiawatha/enable-sites/

*Make sure the make a directory enable-sites under /etc/hiawatha.

sudo mkdir /etc/hiawatha/enable-sites

Step 6 - Configure Hiawatha (Part 2)

If your domain is, you are required to create a file namely and place it under /etc/hiawatha/enable-sites/

VirtualHost {
   Hostname =,
   WebsiteRoot = /var/www/mysite
   StartFile = index.php
   AccessLogfile = /var/log/hiawatha/access.log
   ErrorLogfile = /var/log/hiawatha/error.log
   TimeForCGI = 15
#   UseFastCGI = PHP5
#   UseToolkit = banshee
   DenyBody = ^.*%3Cscript.*%3C%2Fscript%3E.*$
   ExecuteCGI = yes
   PreventCSRF = yes
   PreventSQLi = yes
   PreventXSS = yes
   DenyBot = Googlebot:/
   DenyBot = twiceler:/
   DenyBot = MSNBot:/
   DenyBot = yahoo:/
   DenyBot = BaiDuSpider:/
   DenyBot = Ask:/
   DenyBot = Yahoo! Slurp:/
   DenyBot = Sogou web spider:/
   DenyBot = Sogou-Test-Spider:/
   DenyBot = Baiduspider+:/
   DenyBot = Yandex:/
   DenyBot = UniversalFeedParser:/
   DenyBot = Mediapartners-Google:/
   DenyBot = Sosospider+:/
   DenyBot = YoudaoBot:/
   DenyBot = ParchBot:/
   DenyBot = Curl:/
   DenyBot = msnbot:/
   DenyBot = NaverBot:/
   DenyBot = taptubot:/
   WrapCGI = jail_mysite

Step 7 - Configure Hiawatha (Part 3) (Optional for security purpose)

sudo nano /etc/hiawatha/cgi-wrapper.conf

CGIhandler = /usr/bin/perl
CGIhandler = /usr/bin/php5-cgi
CGIhandler = /usr/bin/python
CGIhandler = /usr/bin/ruby
CGIhandler = /usr/bin/ssi-cgi

Wrap = jail_mysite ; /var/www/mysite ; www-data:www-data

Step 8 - Configure Apparmor (Optional for security purpose)

Execute the following command and then let the web site running for a while, maybe a week or so.

sudo aa-genprof hiawatha

About one week later or the web page/site is misbehaving, issue the following command to update the profile. Remember to reload the profile after the command has been issued.

sudo aa-logprof

Or, if you are impatient, you can edit the following file instead.

sudo nano /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.hiawatha

The content of usr.sbin.hiawatha should look like this or make it look like this.

# Last Modified: Thu Jun 3 01:52:13 2010
#include <tunables/global>

/usr/sbin/hiawatha {
   #include <abstractions/apache2-common>
   #include <abstractions/base>
   #include <abstractions/nameservice>
   #include <abstractions/php5>

   capability chown,
   capability dac_override,
   capability fowner,
   capability fsetid,
   capability setgid,
   capability setuid,

   /bin/dash rix,
   owner /etc/hiawatha/ r,
   owner /etc/hiawatha/** r,
   /etc/host.conf r,
   /etc/hosts r,
   /etc/mailname r,
   /etc/nsswitch.conf r,
   owner /etc/passwd r,
   /etc/php5/ r,
   /etc/php5/** r,
   /etc/postfix/** r,
   /etc/protocols r,
   /etc/resolv.conf r,
   /etc/services r,
   /sys/devices/system/cpu/ r,
   /usr/bin/php5-cgi rix,
   /usr/lib/postfix/cleanup rix,
   /usr/lib{,32,64}/** mr,
   /usr/sbin/cgi-wrapper rix,
   /usr/sbin/postdrop rix,
   /usr/sbin/sendmail rix,
   /usr/share/ r,
   /usr/share/** r,
   /var/www/ r,
   /var/www/** r,
   /var/www/logfiles/ r,
   /var/www/logfiles/** rw,
   /var/lib/ r,
   /var/lib/** rw,
   /var/lib/hiawatha/** rw,
   owner /var/log/hiawatha/** w,
   /var/log/hiawatha/** r,
   owner /var/run/ r,
   owner /var/run/** rw,
   /var/spool/postfix/** rw,
   /var/spool/postfix/pid/** wk,
   /var/www/hiawatha/ r,

Make the profile in enforce mode (activate the above settings).

sudo aa-enforce hiawatha

If you have change some settings, you should reload the profile.

sudo apparmor_parser -r < /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.hiawatha

If you want to disable this profile.

sudo ln -s /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.hiawatha /etc/apparmor.d/disable/
sudo apparmor_parser -R < /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.hiawatha

If you want to re-enable this profile after it has been disabled.

sudo rm /etc/apparmor.d/disable/usr.sbin.hiawatha
sudo apparmor_parser -r < /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.hiawatha

Step 9 - Enhance the security of cgi-wrapper (Optional for security purpose)

Now, your hiawatha is very secure but I would like to make it more secure.

sudo apt-get install libcap2-bin

Apply Capabilities on cgi-wrapper.

sudo chmod u-s /usr/sbin/cgi-wrapper
sudo setcap cap_setgid,cap_setuid+ep /usr/sbin/cgi-wrapper

The result of getcap :

sudo getcap /usr/sbin/cgi-wrapper

It will display :
/usr/sbin/cgi-wrapper = cap_setgid,cap_setuid+ep

Step 10 - Configure logwatch (Optional)

HOWTO : Logwatch for Hiawatha on Ubuntu

Step 11 - Start, Stop and Restart Hiawatha

sudo /etc/init.d/hiawatha start
sudo /etc/init.d/hiawatha stop
suod /etc/init.d/hiawatha restart

That's all! See you.