Browse Category: Raspberry Pi

5 Best Basic Security tips and tricks every Raspberry Pi user needs to take

Security on the Raspberry Pi is often overlooked especially with the rise of IoT (Internet of Things) gadgets and every device being connected to the internet. Today I will show you some easy tips and tricks you can take to improve the security of your Raspberry Pi. I recently wrote an article about 3 steps to take to improve your SSH security on the Raspberry Pi. Today’s focus will be more of the basics and general security tips and tricks that you should be doing on every Pi setup. The following steps should be done by new and experienced Raspberry Pi users and will improve the security of your system ten-fold.

I will discuss how to delete the default Raspberry Pi ‘pi’ user as well as changing the password for any other users you create. This is a good first step because if a hacker identify’s that your system is running the Rasbian distro then one can assume that there is a user called ‘pi’ on the system and can begin trying to crack that users password. Deleting the default ‘pi’ user and creating a new Raspberry Pi username and password will make it much harder to gain access to your system.

I will also be discussing about installing Fail2Ban which will block hackers from brute-forcing your username and password. This is good because it will block the hackers IP Address if they fail to login to your system and they will be unable to perform an unlimited number of username and passwords trying to gain access to your system. Another item that I will be discussing is setting up unique SSH keys, this will allow only clients that have the correct keys that you generated to login to your Raspberry Pi. This is one of the most secure ways of logging into your Raspberry Pi because only computers that you give the generated key file will be able to login and anyone who doesn’t have the key file will be blocked.

The final security tip and trick I will show you will be how to setup automated security updates. This is great if you are using your Raspberry Pi as a server and don’t access it often. All Raspbian security updates will be downloaded and applied in the background so you know you are running the latest and most secure software.

Objective

To learn about and perform basic security steps on our Raspberry Pi to improve our overall security on the Raspberry Pi system

Material

You will need the following:

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How to turn your Raspberry Pi into a Home VPN Server using PiVPN

With all the news about privacy concerns and security threats on the internet recently more people are starting to use a VPN on their home networks and phones. A VPN or a Virtual Private Network allows you to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their devices were directly connected to the private network. For example if you are connected to the public WiFi network at the mall, everyone can see your data, if you use a VPN all your data is encrypted through a private tunnel and it looks like you are connected directly to your home network. VPN’s are very popular in the business world and most likely you may be using one for work and not even know why. The main reason is security and access of your local files.

You can use your Raspberry Pi as a VPN server for free or you can use a VPN service which will limit the amount of data you can use monthly as well a paying a monthly fee. With your Raspberry Pi VPN server you will be able to connect to public WiFi networks and have all your data encrypted which will prevent you from man-in-the-middle attacks as well as any one else snooping WiFi data on the network. When you are connected to your own VPN server you will be able to access all of your home files. If you have movies or music you will be able to access them with ease.

Objective

To improve our network security by turning our Raspberry Pi into a Home VPN Server using PiVPN

Material

You will need the following:

Instructions

Installation of PiVPN (The software we will be using as our VPN server) is a breeze. You simply have to run just one command to install PiVPN. I will assume you already have the Raspbian OS up and running. You only need the lite version if you will be running headless, that’s how I am installing it since I will have PiVPN running along side PiHole, my network wide ad blocker.

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How to setup the 8Bitdo NES30 Gamepad Controller on RetroPie

About: With all the recent talk about the NES Classic console I really wanted to play some Super Mario again and relive those childhood moments of trying to save the princess. I have used RetroPie before to play old games on the Raspberry Pi and I highly recommend it. I would usually play with the keyboard but recently used my Raspberry Pi to install Kodi and RetroPie together and I wanted to use a wireless Bluetooth controller to get the full gaming experience. I picked up the 8BitDo NES30 wireless Bluetooth controller after reading many reviews about it. 8BitDo makes some high quality retro controllers which are easy to setup and you can use them to play games on your computer or phone over bluetooth.

I was having one minor issue setting up my 8BitDo NES30 controller, the D-Pad would not work and not be recognized by RetroPie. The controller setup screen kept reading my D-Pad inputs as a Keyboard and not a Game-pad. I saw many people having issues with this so I decided to write this tutorial about the workaround I discovered on how to get the 8BitDo NES30 controller working on RetroPie.

Objective: To setup the 8BitDo NES30 wireless Bluetooth controller on the RetroPie.

Material: You will need the following:

Instructions: I will assume you are starting with a fresh install of RetroPie. I am using RetroPie 4.0 in this tutorial. You will need a keyboard connected to your Raspberry Pi to setup the controller if you plan on manually configuring it. I included the configuration files below if you want to set it up faster and avoid manually setting up the controller. Continue Reading

Fix Xbox Live Achievements not popping up when using Pi-Hole

About: I’ve been using Pi-Hole on my Raspberry Pi for the past year to block ad’s on my whole network. It works great however some of the ad blocking lists end up blocking the Xbox Live servers which cause weird issues like being unable to update your Xbox or unable to access Netflix or Youtube or just simply not allowing you to connect to the Xbox Live servers. I have compiled a list of domains that should be white-listed to avoid these issues, check out the white-list here.

The issue I was having was my achievements would take up to a week to show completed and show up on my Xbox. I usually don’t play many games that unlock achievements but I was suspicious when the achievements would unlock at random times, often when I am not even playing the game. I did some investigating and seeing what domains were being blocked on my Pi-Hole while the Xbox was sitting idle and found a few Microsoft domains that were being blocked. I compiled the short list below.

Objective: To fix Xbox Live achievements not showing up when using Pi-Hole due to blocking of Microsoft servers.

Material: You will need the following:

  • Xbox One (Click the link to check out the price on Amazon. Usually under $250 with free shipping and some bundles let you choose your own game)

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3 steps to take to improve the security of your Raspberry Pi server

About: The latest version of Raspbian disables SSH by default to improve security of the Raspberry Pi. This is a great step of improving internet and network security and I congratulate the Raspberry Pi team for moving forward with this step and making it super easy to enable SSH by simply adding a file called “ssh” into the /boot/ directory.

Enabling SSH allows you to use your Raspberry Pi headless, meaning you can use it without a keyboard and monitor by connecting to it from another computer. The problem with enabling SSH on your Raspberry Pi server is that if you expose your server to the internet you will notice many hackers will attempt to connect to your server and try to access it using brute-force attacks.

I will shows you 3 things you can do to improve the security of your Raspberry Pi server today if you have SSH enabled. These steps will improve your Raspberry Pi’s security as well as your personal network. We will learn how to change the default SSH port number, install Fail2Ban to ban IP addresses if they attempt to brute-force our user passwords and finally I will show you how to create SSH keys so that only the computer you create a key for will be able to access your Raspberry Pi server.

Objective: To improve security on the Raspberry Pi by changing the SSH Port Number, Installig Fail2Ban and generating SSH keys

Material: You will need the following:

  • Raspberry Pi (Click the link to check out the price on Amazon. Usually around $37 with free shipping)

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