Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ubuntu Hardware Enablement (HWE) Stacks


If you installed Security Onion using our ISO image, then you should be running the original 3.2 kernel which should be fully supported until April 2017.  However, if you installed Ubuntu and then added our PPA and packages, you may be running a Hardware Enablement (HWE) Stack that has reached End-of-life.  If this is the case, then you'll need to update to a newer HWE Stack that will continue to be supported.

Checking Your System using hwe-support-status
To check your system, run the following command:
hwe-support-status tool --verbose
For example, in the following screenshot, I'm running the command on a machine that was installed from the Security Onion ISO image.  If this is what you get, then you can disregard the rest of this blog post.

If, on the other hand, you receive output similar to the following screenshot (taken from a machine that was installed from an Ubuntu ISO image), then you'll need to update to a newer HWE Stack.

WARNING! Do NOT run the do-release-upgrade command as this will upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04, which is incompatible with our packages.  We'll be using the second "apt-get install" option to update the HWE stack.

Updating your HWE Stack
Before you update your HWE stack, make sure that you've installed all updates so that you have the new PF_RING packages that support Linux kernel 3.13:

You can verify that you have the new PF_RING 6.0.2 with "cat /proc/net/pf_ring/info":

Then run the apt-get command shown in *your* output of hwe-support-status.  In the hwe-support-status screenshot above, we were requested to run the following because we were just running Ubuntu Server (no GUI):
sudo apt-get install linux-generic-lts-trusty linux-image-generic-lts-trusty
Depending on how your system was installed, hwe-support-status may ask you to install additional packages.  For example, you may also be requested to update your xserver packages.  Run whatever command hwe-support-status recommends for you.

If the new HWE stack installed successfully, then reboot your system:

After rebooting and logging in, verify that you're running the new 3.13 kernel with the "uname -a" command:

You can also verify that the PF_RING kernel module got built and loaded correctly for the new 3.13 kernel:

Finally, run the hwe-support-status tool again to verify that your HWE stack is supported until April 2017:

For more information about Ubuntu HWE Stacks, please see:

If you have any questions or problems, please use our security-onion mailing list:

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Need training and/or commercial support?  Please see:

Help Wanted
If you and/or your organization have found value in Security Onion, please consider giving back to the community by joining one of our teams:

We especially need help in answering support questions on the mailing list:

We also need help testing new packages:


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