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Watch for system upgrades on Debian

by Pierre-Yves Landuré last modified Apr 30, 2015 09:30

The number one rule to secure an operating system is to keep its software up to date. This howto setup a e-mail alert when new upgrades are available.

This howto is tested on :

  • Debian 5.0 Lenny
  • Debian 6.0 Squeeze
  • Debian 7.0 Wheezy


Install cron-apt :

command apt-get install cron-apt

Setup the tool to send a e-mail to the root account when new upgrades are available :

command echo '
# Send mail to root user when upgrade is available.
MAILTO="root" MAILON="upgrade"' \ >> '/etc/cron-apt/config'

The root account will receive a daily e-mail when upgrades are available on the system.

Make sure that the system administrator read the root account e-mails. The guide to setup the needed alias is available in Additions to a fresh Debian GNU/Linux install.