5minutes 0

First 5 minutes on new servers. Secure your servers with single command - Ansible playbook

5Minutes - Server Security Essentials

Secure your Linux server with single command!

A while back, I read this article about what you should do first when you get new server. Doing so manually is quite boring though, and error prone. So, I tried to automate with Ansible, and added few extra security features like completely disabling root and password login etc.


So you have new servers with root access, please follow these steps.

  1. Install Ansible on your local computer. It’s really easy if you have updated Python

sudo pip install ansible

  1. Clone this repo and change hosts file with IP address of your servers.

git clone [email protected]:chhantyal/5minutes.git && cd 5minutes && open -t hosts

  1. Change var server_user_password in vars.yml file with crypted password. This will be password for server_user_name. To generate, run:

sudo pip install passlib
python -c "from passlib.hash import sha512_crypt; import getpass; print sha512_crypt.encrypt(getpass.getpass())"


Using it is very easy. From within in 5minutes directory, run this Ansible command.

ansible-playbook 5minutes.yml -u <user_name> -K

Enter password for your server and that’t it. Single command!

Try with Vagrant

You can try on Vagrant box before running this on real servers. There is Vagrantfile included.

vagrant up

Change hosts to (see vagrant up output for exact port) and run command:

ansible-playbook 5minutes.yml -u vagrant --private-key .vagrant/machines/default/virtualbox/private_key

Under the Hood

If you are wondering what it does, here it is:

  • Connects to server using SSH
  • Updates APT cache
  • Performs APT upgrade
  • Adds user specified in variable server_user_name which has sudo permission
  • Adds specified public key in variable user_public_keys in ssh authorized_keys.
  • Disables root SSH access. Yes, from next time you need to use new user to access server.
  • Disables password authentication. Again you will need to use new user with SSH public key auth method.
  • Installs ufw as firewall, fail2ban to ban IPs that show malicious signs, logwatch to analyze and report logs.
  • It also installs unattended-upgrades to enable automatic security updates.


There are few other variables that you need/might want to change. See vars: defined in vars.yml file.

  • server_user_name: default trinity
  • server_user_password: Please change this. See Ansible docs
  • logwatch_email: default [email protected], you won’t get report email from logwatch if you don’t change.
  • user_public_keys: default ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub, if you use different key pair name, you need to change this path to public key file.

Ansible is perfect for this automation because it’s dead simple to install and use without having to learn it.
It uses SSH as agent, so you don’t need to setup anything else.

PS: This is tested on Ubuntu, as that’s what I use. You are welcome to add support for other distributions :)

Related Repositories



First 5 minutes on new servers. Secure your servers with single command - Ansible playbook ...



My blog ...

Top Contributors