Lynis - Security auditing and hardening tool, for UNIX-based systems.


Lynis is a security auditing tool for systems based on UNIX like Linux, macOS, BSD, and others. It performs an in-depth security scan and runs on the system itself. The primary goal is to test security defenses and provide tips for further system hardening. It will also scan for general system information, vulnerable software packages, and possible configuration issues. Lynis was commonly used by system administrators and auditors to assess the security defenses of their systems. Besides the "blue team," nowadays penetration testers also have Lynis in their toolkit.

We believe software should be simpleupdated on a regular basis, and open. You should be able to trust, understand, and have the option to change the software. Many agree with us, as the software is being used by thousands every day to protect their systems.


The main goals are:

  • Automated security auditing
  • Compliance testing (e.g. ISO27001, PCI-DSS, HIPAA)
  • Vulnerability detection

The software (also) assists with:

  • Configuration and asset management
  • Software patch management
  • System hardening
  • Penetration testing (privilege escalation)
  • Intrusion detection


Typical users of the software:

  • System administrators
  • Auditors
  • Security officers
  • Penetration testers
  • Security professionals


There are multiple options available to install Lynis.

Software Package

For systems running Linux, BSD, and macOS, there is typically a package available. This is the preferred method of obtaining Lynis, as it is quick to install and easy to update. The Lynis project itself also provides packages in RPM or DEB format suitable for systems systems running: CentOSDebianFedoraOELopenSUSERHELUbuntu, and others.

Some distributions may also have Lynis in their software repository: Repology

Note: Some distributions don't provide an up-to-date version. In that case it is better to use the CISOfy software repository, download the tarball from the website, or download the latest GitHub release.


The very latest developments can be obtained via git.

  1. Clone or download the project files (no compilation nor installation is required) ;

     git clone
  2. Execute:

     cd lynis && ./lynis audit system

If you want to run the software as root (or sudo), we suggest changing the ownership of the files. Use chown -R 0:0 to recursively alter the owner and group and set it to user ID 0 (root). Otherwise Lynis will warn you about the file permissions. After all, you are executing files owned by a non-privileged user.

Enterprise Version

This software component is also part of an enterprise solution. Same quality, yet with more functionality.

Focus areas include compliance (PCI DSSHIPAAISO27001, and others). The Enterprise version comes with:

  • a web interface;
  • dashboard and reporting;
  • hardening snippets;
  • improvement plan (based on risk);
  • commercial support.


Full documentation:


If you want to create your own tests, have a look at the Lynis software development kit.


We participate in the CII best practices badge program of the Linux Foundation.

Media and Awards

Lynis is collecting some awards along the way and we are proud of that.


We love contributors.

Do you have something to share? Want to help out with translating Lynis into your own language? Create an issue or pull request on GitHub, or send us an e-mail:

More details can be found in the Contributors Guide.

You can also simply contribute to the project by starring the project and show your appreciation that way.




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