I live with someone whom I don't trust.

So today I was browsing Youtube as usual, then suddenly VLC did open randomly! I convinced my self that it was just a bug and that I'm safe using Ubuntu.

Fast forward a couple minutes later I was reading from a paper sitting in front of my laptop, then the Ubuntu launcher bar would scroll up and down twice.

I was really frustrated since it took me too much time to install ubuntu, learn how to use it, buy another router thinking I'm safe ... just to be hacked again.

So my questions are:

  • Was i being hacked or is it just some bugs?.
  • How can i make sure I'm well protected? What are the must have/know how to use tools?.
  • Should i wipe out my ssd and install Ubuntu once again?.

Unless the data has been erased, You can find out the logins from /var/log/auth.log. Moreover it seems like it must be some bugs which caused the pops and what you said. But its better to be aware.

You can take below steps to be safe:

  1. Keep SSH service stopped, if not in use.

  2. Have a firewall on your system. You can install ufw or gufw (graphical version of ufw) and keep the checks on open ports. Keep the ports closed if its not in use. Specially, Keep check on port 22, 80, 443. You can find uses of ports from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_(computer_networking)

  3. By default, In ubuntu, Password for local user and root is same. Means, you can run any command as root user using sudo command with the same password as your local user account. Tweak the settings to have separate root password.

To enable root password

sudo -i

sudo passwd root

To use root password for running commands as sudo: In /etc/sudoers, add below line:

Defaults rootpw

  1. Always have a strong root password, recommended 8 to 10 characters with mixture of Upper Case, Lower Case, Number and special symbol and try to have non-dictionary words/phrases as password.

  2. If you use SSH, Always keep RSA login enabled and use passphrase created RSA keys for secure communication.

  3. Have a strong admin password for your router as mentioned in 4th point.

  4. Do not execute any suspected files. It can be a payload to gain access to your system.

  5. Change passwords periodically every 30 days or based on your preference.

  6. Although, Linux has very rare cases of viruses and Malwares. Its better to have an antivirus. You can have open source antivirus clamav for this.

Above precaution should be strong enough to prevent any hackers to get into your system or at least it will take good enough time to crack it.

  • 3
    Gently disagree with the conclusion that "it must be bugs." I think there's not enough data for us to be sure about that. Also gently disagree with the implication that setting a root password will make the system safer. This answer could be improved by also addressing the physical security angle - a potential bad actor has seemingly had physical access to the hardware.
    – user535733
    Jun 10 '19 at 11:35
  • thank you so much! Jun 10 '19 at 23:49

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