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CIS for Ubuntu 14.04


The role is focused on hardening an Ubuntu 14.04 system. However it has been successfully tested on other Debian based systems (Debian 8, Raspbian). The minimum requirements of the targeted system are ssh, aptitude and python2; ansible>=1.9 is required on your local system.


One liner installation & execution

The following will automatically install Ansible, download and run the playbook on your local system.

$ \curl -sSL > /tmp/ && bash /tmp/

To apply the playbook on a remote system:

$ IP=[remote host's IP] USER=[remote user] \curl -sSL | bash

Manual installation

Install dependencies on your host (on Ubuntu 14.04):

$ sudo apt-get install python-pip git python-dev
$ sudo pip install ansible markupsafe

Create a placeholder to describe your machine:

$ mkdir -p ansible/roles-ubuntu/roles
$ cd ansible/roles-ubuntu
$ git clone roles/cis

Create a playbook in the roles-ubuntu folder:

$ cat >>  playbook.yml << 'EOF'
- hosts: all
    - cis

Tuning the environment

You have to tune the environment to match your security requirements. The default is very restrictive and will perform strong modifications on the system. All requirements are enabled and may not work. For example the rsyslog server address have to be defined to respect the CIS rule.

Read default/main.yml file and set your variables in vars/main.yml

For the CI tests we only create specific files for the environment (see tests/travis_defaults.yml) in the vars/ directory.

Running the role

Replace the target information (USER, IPADDRESS) and run the playbook with a version of ansible higher than 1.8:

$ ansible-playbook -b -u USER -i 'IPADDRESS,' playbook.yml

Note that this command will perform modifications on the target. Add the -C option to only check for modifications and audit the system. However, some tasks cannot be audited as they need to register a variable on the target and thus modify the system.

If the user you are using is not privileged you have to use the -b (become) option to perform privilege escalation. The password required to become superuser can be specified with the --ask-become-pass option.


Ansible come with some great options that can improve your operations:

  • Add the -e "pipelining=True" option to the command line to speed up the hardening process.
  • Specify the private key to use with the --private-key=~/.ssh/id_rsa option.
  • The conventional method to specify hosts in ansible is to create an inventory file and feed it with a group of hosts to process.


The details of each tasks operated on the target system is available in the online documentation. It is build on every commit based on the docs/ repository content.


We accept modifications through pull requests. Please note that CI tests and code coverage are being performed automatically. All tests have to pass before accepting the contribution.

Issues are welcome too, and we expect reproductible steps to have efficient discussions.


This project is under GPL license.


We have a dedicated IRC channel for the project on Join us on ##cis-ansible or with the direct link.

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