GrapheneX – Automated System Hardening Framework

In computing, hardening is usually the process of securing a system by reducing its surface of vulnerability, which is larger when a system performs more functions; in principle a single-function system is more secure than a multipurpose one.

Reducing available ways of attack typically includes changing default passwords, the removal of unnecessary software, unnecessary usernames or logins, and the disabling or removal of unnecessary services.

Although the current technology tries to design systems as safe as possible, security flaws and situations that can lead to vulnerabilities caused by unconscious use and missing configurations still exist. The user must be knowledgeable about the technical side of system architecture and should be aware of the importance of securing his/her system from vulnerabilities like this. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to know all the details about hardening and necessary commands for every ordinary user and the hardening remains to be a technical issue due to the difficulty of understanding operating system internals. Therefore there are hardening checklists that contain various commands and rules of the specified operating system available such as trimstray/linux-hardening-checklist & Windows Server Hardening Checklist on the internet for providing a set of commands with their sections and of course simplifying the concept for the end user. But still, the user must know the commands and apply the hardening manually depending on the system. That’s where the grapheneX exactly comes in play.

The project name is derived from the ‘graphene’. Graphene is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. In proportion to its thickness, it is about 100 times stronger than the strongest steel.

grapheneX project aims to provide a framework for securing the system with hardening commands automatically. It’s designed for the end user as well as the Linux and Windows developers due to the interface options. (interactive shell/web interface) In addition to that, grapheneX can be used to secure a web server/application.

Hardening commands and the scopes of those commands are referred to modules and the namespaces in the project. They exist at the modules.json file after installation. ($PYPATH/site-packages/graphenex/modules.json) Additionally, it’s possible to add, edit or remove modules and namespaces. Also, the hardening operation can be automated with the presets that contain a list of modules.

Currently, grapheneX support the hardening sections below. Each of these namespaces contains more than one module.

• Firewall
• User
• Network
• Services
• Kernel
• Filesystem
• Other


You can install grapheneX with pip. Usually this is the easiest way:

pip install graphenex

Also it’s possible to run the for installation as follows:

python install 

The commands below can be used for testing the project without installation:

cd grapheneX
pipenv install
pipenv run python -m graphenex



Command Line Arguments

usage: grapheneX [-h] [-v] [-w] [--open] [host:port]
positional arguments:
  host:port      host and port to run the web interface

optional arguments:
  -h, --help     show this help message and exit
  -v, --version  show version information
  -w, --web      run the grapheneX web server
  --open         open browser on web server start

Interactive Shell

Execute the grapheneX command in order to start the interactive shell.

• Animated gifs and screenshots added for demonstration and include the test execution of the unversioned grapheneX. Use grapheneX or python -m graphenex command for the execution.
• grapheneX currently supports Python3.7

Web Interface

Execute the grapheneX with the -w or --web argument in order to start the web server.

• Web interface has the authentication system that requires an access token. Once the user verifies her/his identity with the given token at the shell, grapheneX creates a session for further use.

• The default host and port value are localhost:8080. It can be changed via the host:port argument as shown below.

python -w

• Use --open argument to open the browser after the server start.

python -w --open

CLI Commands

Command Description
back Go back from namespace or module
clear Clear the terminal
exit Exit interactive shell
harden Execute the hardening command
help List available commands with “help” or show detailed help with “help <cmd>
info Show information about the module
list List available hardening modules
manage Add, edit or delete module
preset Show/execute the hardening module presets
search Search for modules
switch Switch between modules or namespaces
use Use a hardening module
web Start the grapheneX web server


help or ? shows the commands list above.
help [CMD] shows the detailed usage of given command.


Show the available modules in a table. For example:


switch command can be used to switch to a namespace or use a module. It’s helpful if you want to see a list of modules in a namespace.

switch [NAMESPACE]

• Supports autocomplete for namespaces.

Also, using the switch command like this is possible:


It’s the equivalent of the use command in this situation.


Serves the purpose of selecting a hardening module.

use [MODULE]

• Supports autocomplete for modules.


Shows information (namespace, description, OS command) about the selected module.


Executes the hardening command of the selected module.


grapheneX has presets that contain particular modules for automating the hardening operation. Presets can be customized with the modules.json file and they can contain any supported module. preset command shows the available module presets and preset [PRESET] runs the hardening commands in a preset.

An example preset command output is shown above. Below, a preset that contains 2 modules is selected and hardening modules executed.

preset command supports autocomplete for preset names. Also, it supports an option for asking permission between each hardening command execution so that the user knows what he/she is doing.

• Adding module presets

Presets are stored in the presets element inside the modules.json file. This JSON file can be edited for updating the presets.

"presets": [
            "name": "Preset_1",
            "modules": [
            "target_os": "linux/win"
            "name": "Preset_2",
            "modules": [
            "target_os": "linux/win"

namespace/All means every hardening command in that namespace will be executed.


search [QUERY]


manage command allows to add, edit or remove modules.

• Adding modules with manage

Follow the instructions for adding a new module. Choose the ‘new’ option in the namespace prompt for creating a new namespace.

• Adding modules manually

grapheneX stores the modules and namespaces in modules.json file. It will show up as a new module when a new element is created in this JSON file. An example element is given below.

"namespace": [
            "name": "Module_Name",
            "desc": "This is the module description.",
            "command": "echo 'hardening command'",
            "require_superuser": "True/False",
            "target_os": "linux/win"

It’s recommended to add modules from CLI or the Web interface other than editing the modules.json file.

• Editing modules

Choose the edit option after the manage command for the editing the module properties.

Or edit the modules.json manually.

• Removing modules

Choosing the remove option in the manage menu will be enough for removing the specified module. It’s also possible to remove the module from modules.json manually.


Starts the grapheneX web server with the optional host:port argument.

web [host:port]


Go back from selected namespace or module.


Clear terminal


Exit interactive shell


Most of the command line features are accessible with the Web interface.

Namespaces & Modules

It’s easy to switch between namespaces and see details of modules.


Just click run under the module properties for executing the hardening command.

Adding Modules

There’s a menu available in the web interface for adding new modules.


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