They're typically deployed as part of systemd, although the default settings in many distros are yet to be ideal. This is partly because it's hard to confirm what a service actually needs, and partly because many services support many more things than a typical user cares about.
For example, should a web server be able to make outgoing network connections? Probably not, it's accepting network connections from people, maybe running some code, then returning the response. However, maybe you're hosting some PHP that you want to be able to fetch data from the internet? Maybe you're running your web-server as a proxy?
To address these questions, Debian/Ubuntu typically err on the side of "let it do whatever, so users aren't inconvenienced". CentOS/RHEL have started adding a large selection of flags you can toggle to fiddle security (although through yet another mechanism, not the one we're talking about here..).
NoNewPrivileges=, prevents a process from getting privileges in any common way,
e.g. by trying to change user, or trying to run a command which has privileges (e.g. capabilities)
This is great. Even if someone knows your root password, they're still stuck:
% systemd-run --user -p NoNewPrivileges=yes --tty -- bash $ su - root Password: su: Authentication failure $ sudo ls sudo: effective uid is not 0, is /usr/bin/sudo on a file system with the 'nosuid' option set or an NFS file system without root privileges?
The errors aren't great, as the tools have no idea what's going on, but at least it works!
This seems like a big, easy win; I don't need my
php application to become a different
user... or do I? It turns out that the venerable
eventually tries to run a setuid binary, which fails. And
php defaults to sending mail
via. this route. Damn!
Let's try it out:
% systemd-run --user -p NoNewPrivileges=yes --tty -- bash faux@astoria:~$ echo hi | mail email@example.com faux@astoria:~$ postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/647297.680: Permission denied
postdrop is setgid (the weird
s in the permissions string):
% ls -al =postdrop -r-xr-sr-x 1 root postdrop 14328 Jul 29 2016 /usr/sbin/postdrop
It turns out that Debian dropped support for alternative ways to deliver mail. So, we can't use that!
Earlier I implied that
NoNewPrivileges=, despite the documentation, doesn't
remove all ways to get some privileges. One way to do this is to enter a new
user namespace (only widely supported by Ubuntu as of today). e.g. we can get
CAP_NET_RAW (and its associated vulnerabilities)
through user namespaces:
% systemd-run --user -p NoNewPrivileges=yes --tty -- \ unshare --map-root-user --net -- \ capsh --print \ | fgrep Current: | egrep -o 'cap_net\w+' cap_net_bind_service cap_net_broadcast cap_net_admin cap_net_raw
To harden against this, I wrote
which simply breaks
unshare (and its friend
clone)'s ability to make new user
SystemCallFilter= takes many more arguments, and
requires significantly more research to work out whether a process is going to work.
systemd-run doesn't support
SystemCallFilter=. I'm not sure why.
There's a binary of
available for anyone who doesn't feel like compiling it. It depends on only
sudo apt install libseccomp2. It needs to be in your path as
seccomp-filter supports the
predefined system call sets
from the systemd documentation, in addition to an extra set, named
which systemd seems to silently include without telling you. Both of these tools
NoNewPrivilges=, so you will also be testing that.
Let's have a play:
% seccomp-filter.py @critical -- ls / ls: reading directory '/': Function not implemented
Here, we're trying to run
ls with only the absolutely critical syscalls enabled.
ls, after starting, tries to call
getdents() ("list the directory"), and gets
told that it's not supported. Returning
ENOSYS ("function not implemented") is
the default behaviour for
We can have a permissions error, instead, if we like:
% seccomp-filter.py --exit-code EPERM @critical -- ls / ls: reading directory '/': Operation not permitted
If we give it
getdents, it starts working... almost:
% ./seccomp-filter.py --exit-code EPERM @critical getdents -- ls /proc 1 10 1001 11 1112
Why does the output look like it's been piped through a pager?
ls has tried
to talk to the terminal, has been told it can't, and is okay with that.
This looks the same as:
seccomp-filter.py --blacklist ioctl -- ls /
If we add
ioctl to the list again,
ls pretty much works as expected,
ignoring the fact that it segfaults during shutdown. systemd's
group of syscalls is useful to include to remove this behaviour.
Next, I looked at what Java required. It turns out to be much better than
I expected: the JVM will start up, compile things, etc. with just:
@critical @default @basic-io @file-system futex rt_sigaction clone.
This actually works as a filter, too: if Java code tries to make a network connection, it is denied. Or, er, at least, something in that area is denied. Unfortunately, the JVM cra.. er.. "hard exits" for many of these failures, as they come through as unexpected asserts:
Assertion 'sigprocmask_many(SIG_BLOCK, &t, 14,26,13,17,20,29,1,10,12,27,23,28, -1) >= 0' failed at ../src/nss-myhostname/nss-myhostname.c:332, function _nss_myhostname_gethostbyname3_r(). Aborting.
It then prints out loads of uninitialised memory, as it doesn't expect uname to fail. e.g.
Memory: 4k page, physical 10916985944372480k(4595315k free), swap 8597700727024688k(18446131672566297518k free)
This demonstrates only one of the operation modes for
seccomp. Note that, as of
today, the Wikipedia page is pretty out of date, and the manpage is outright misleading.
part of libseccomp2, to work out what's available.
Summary: Hardening good, hardening hard. Run your integration test suite under
seccomp-filter.py --blacklist @obsolete @debug @reboot @swap @resources and see
if you can at least get to that level of security?