Security audits with Lynis

Color Scheme

When you run Lynis, depending on the background color selected, the contrast of the console output can be too low, making the results difficult to read. To avoid this, start the application using the --reverse-colors parameter. This tells the tool to adapt the output to light terminal backgrounds. Color highlighting can also be turned off completely with the parameter --no-colors (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Lynis lets you customize the colors in the text output, including turning off the color highlighting.


By default, Lynis always saves the reports it generates in the /var/log/ directory, creating the lynis.log and lynis-report.dat files. If you need the test reports for documentation purposes over the long term, you should copy them to a separate data carrier or to another directory immediately after the test run. Otherwise, Lynis overwrites the existing logs on each new run without further ado.


Thanks to its modular structure, Lynis can easily be extended with plugins to help you retrieve additional data from the systems you scan. Because Lynis's check routines consist of shell scripts, savvy administrators have the option of writing any plugins they need themselves. The developers provide detailed instructions for this [6].

Provided the plugins are explicitly enabled in the individual profiles, Lynis automatically processes any plugins you add during scans. By default, these extensions reside in the /usr/share/lynis/plugins/ directory. During a test run, they can be called at two phases; the results are displayed on the standard output and stored in the report file.

CISOfy also maintains a database of plugins that can be individually downloaded and integrated into a Lynis installation. However, to access these extensions, you first need to register with the provider and be an Enterprise customer.

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