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First of all any action (and that includes wiping disks and re-installing the OS or any SW) without determining the cause first is inefficient and may well expose loopholes (if any) again. (That doesn't mean you shouldn't move to mitigate if a breach of security is suspected!)
I am glad that I recommended that the OP make sure that he is rooted before doing a wipe. Determining the root cause of an anomaly makes sense to prevent the event from reoccurring(thanks for that!). For a lot of us who are not professional system administrators (like me) determining the root cause of an anomaly will be a daunting task. I do try to prevent mishaps by patching my systems and having software and hardware firewalls in place.
As the maintainer of rkhunter and a security professional do you have any further(beyond what you mentioned) tips on how to harden a system?
Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions, links, and advice unSpawn. I am genuinely curious.
Sorry unSpawn. Marking this thread as solved. I would very much welcome your perspective in the Slackware hardening thread I recently started. If that interferes with your moderating duties I understand.
Happy New year.