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In the previous articles, we introduced idempotency as a way to approach your server’s security posture and looked at some specific Ansible examples, including the kernel, system accounts, and IPtables. In this final article of the series, we’ll look at a few more server-hardening examples and talk a little more about how the idempotency playbook might be used.

Due to its reduced functionality, and therefore attack surface, the preference amongst a number of OSs has been to introduce “chronyd” over “ntpd”. If you’re new to “chrony” then fret not. It’s still using the NTP (Network Time Protocol) that we all know and love but in a more secure fashion.

The first thing I do with Ansible within the “chrony.conf” file is alter the “bind address” and if my memory serves there’s also a “command port” option. These config options allow Chrony to only listen on the localhost. In other words you are still syncing as usual with other upstream time servers (just as NTP does) but no remote servers can query your time services; only your local machine has access.

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