Posts Tagged ‘chroot’

Create SFTP CHROOT Jail User for data transfer to better Linux shared web hosting server security

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Reading Time: 3minutes

Adding user SFTP access to a Linux system is often required and therefore a must for multi users or web hosting environments it is an absolute requirement to have SFTP  user space separation ( isolation ) out of the basic Linux system environment this is done using a fake CHROOT Jail.

Purpose of this article is to show how to create SFTP Chroot JAIL in few easy configurations.

By isolating each user into his own space you will protect the users to not eventually steal or mistakenly leak information such as user credentials / passwords etc.

Besides that it is useful to restrict the User to his own File / Web Space to have granted only access to Secure FTP (SFTP) only and not SSH login access andtogheter with the chroot jail environment to protect your server from being attempted to be hacked (rooted / exploited) through some(0day)zero-day kernel 1337 vulnerability.

1. Setup Chrooted file system and do the bind mount in /etc/fstab

# chown root:root /mnt/data/share
# chmod 755 /mnt/data/share
# mkdir -p /sftp/home
# mount -o bind /mnt/data/share /sftp/home

Next add to /etc/fstab (e.g. vim /etc/fstab) and add following line:

/mnt/data/share /sftp/home  none   bind   0   0

To mount it next:

# mount -a

/mnt/data/share is a mounted HDD in my case but could be any external attached storage


2. Create User and sftpgroup group and add your new SFTP Jailed user accounts to it

To achieve SFTP only CHROOT Jail environment you need some UNIX accounts new group created such as sftpgroup and use itto assign proper ownership / permissions to newly added SFTP restricted accounts.

# groupadd sftpgroup

Once the group exists, next step is to create the desired username / usernameswith useradd command and assign it to sftpgroup:


# adduser sftp-account1 -s /sbin/nologin -d /sftp/home
# passwd sftp-account1


usermod -G sftpgroup sftp-account1

Above both commands could be also done in one line with adduser


# adduser sftp-account1 -g sftpgroup -s /sbin/nologin -d /sftp/home

Note the /sbin/nologin which is set to prevent SSH logins but still allow access via sftp / scp data transfer clients Once the user exists it is a good idea to prepare the jailed environment under a separate directory under root File system system lets say in /sftp/home/

3. Set proper permissions to User chrooted /home folder

# mkdir -p /sftp/home
# mkdir /sftp/home/sftp-account1
# chown root:root /sftp/
# chown sftp-account1:sftpgroup /sftp/home/sftp-account1

For each new created uesr (in this case sftp-account1) make sure the permissions are properly set to make the files readable only by the respective user.

# chmod 700 -R /sftp/home/sftp-account1

For every next created user don't forget to do the same 3. Modify SSHD configuration file to add Chroot match rules Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and to the end of it add below configuration:

# vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Subsystem sftp internal-sftp     
Match Group sftpgroup   
ChrootDirectory /sftp/home   
ForceCommand internal-sftp   
X11Forwarding no   
AllowTcpForwarding no

Restart sshd to make the new settings take effect, to make sure you don't ed up with no access (if it is a remote server) run the sshd daemon on a secondary port like so:

# /usr/sbin/sshd -p 2208 &

Then restart sshd – if it is old Linux with Init V support

# /etc/init.d/sshd restart

– For systemd Linuxsystems

# systemctl restart sshd

4. Verify Username (sftp-account1) could login only via SFTP and his environment is chrooted



This service allows sftp connections only.
Connection to closed.


sftp Connected to sftp>

5. Closure

The quick summary of What we have achieved with below is:

restrict Linux users from having no /bin/shell access but still have Secure FTP copy in few steps to summarize them

a. create new user and group for SFTP chrooted restricted access only
b. set proper permissions to make folder accessible only by user itself
c. added necessery sshd config and restarted sshd to make it working d. tested configuration

This short guide was based on documentation on Arch Linux's wiki SFTP chroot you can check it here.

Recover/Restore unbootable GRUB boot loader on Debian Testing GNU/Linux using Linux LiveCD (Debian Install CD1)

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Reading Time: 4minutes
I’ve recently broke my grub untentianally while whiping out one of my disk partitions who was prepared to run a hackintosh.
Thus yesterday while switching on my notebook I was unpleasently surprised with an error Grub Error 17 and the boot process was hanging before it would even get to grub’s OS select menu.

That was nasty and gave me a big headache, since I wasn’t even sure if my partitions are still present.
What made things even worse that I haven’t created any backups preliminary to prepare for an emergency!
Thus restoring my system was absolutely compulsory at any cost.
In recovering the my grub boot manager I have used as a basis of my recovery an article called How to install Grub from a live Ubuntu cd
Though the article is quite comprehensive, it’s written a bit foolish, probably because it targets Ubuntu novice users 🙂
Another interesting article that gave me a hand during solving my issues was HOWTO: install grub with a chroot
Anyways, My first unsuccessful attempt was following a mix of the aforementioned articles and desperately trying to chroot to my mounted unbootable partition in order to be able to rewrite the grub loader in my MBR.
The error that slap me in my face during chroot was:

chroot: cannot execute /bin/sh : exec format error

Ghh Terrible … After reasoning on the shitty error I came to the conclusion that probably the livecd I’m trying to chroot to my debian linux partition is probably using a different incompatible version of glibc , if that kind of logic is true I concluded that it’s most likely that the glibc on my Linux system is newer (I came to that assumption because I was booting from livecds (Elive, Live CentOS as well Sabayon Linux, which were burnt about two years ago).

To proof my guesses I decided to try using Debian testing Squeeze/Sid install cd . That is the time to mention that I’m running Debian testing/unstable under the code name (Squeeze / Sid).
I downloaded the Debian testing amd64 last built image from here burnt it to a cd on another pc.
And booted it to my notebook, I wasn’t completely sure if the Install CD would have all the necessary recovery tools that I would need to rebuilt my grub but eventually it happened that the debian install cd1 has everything necessary for emergency situations like this one.

After I booted from the newly burned Debian install cd I followed the following recovery route to be able to recovery my system back to normal.It took me a while until I come with the steps described here, but I won’t get into details for brevity

1. Make new dir where you intend to mount your Linux partition and mount /proc, /dev, /dev/pts filesystems and the partition itself

noah:~# mkdir /mnt/root
noah:~# mount -t ext3 /dev/sda8 /mnt/root
noah:~# mount -o bind /dev /mnt/root/dev
noah:~# mount devpts /dev/pts -t devpts

Change /dev/sda8 in the above example commands with your partition name and number.
2. chroot to the mounted partition in order to be able to use your filesystem, exactly like you normally use it when you’re using your Linux partition

noah:~# chroot /mnt/root /bin/bash

Hopefully now you should be in locked in your filesystem and use your Linux non-bootable system as usual.

Being able to access your /boot/grub directory I suggest you first check that everything inside:

/boot/grub/menu.lst is well defined and there are no problems with the paths to the Linux partitions.

Next issue the following commands which will hopefully recover your broken grub boot loader.

noah:~# grub
noah:~# find /boot/grub/stage1

The second command find /boot/grub/stage1 should provide you with your partitions range e.g. it should return something like:

root (hd0,7)

Nevertheless in my case instead of the expected root (hd0,7) , I was returned

/boot/grub/stage1 not found

Useless to say this is uncool 🙂

As a normal reaction I tried experimenting in order to fix the mess. Logically enough I tried to reinstall grub using the

noah:~# grub-install --root-directory=/boot /dev/sda
noah:~# update-grub

To check if that would fix my grub issues I restarted my notebook. Well now grub menu appeared with some error generated by splashy
Trying to boot any of the setup Linux kernels was failing with some kind of error where the root file system was trying to be loaded from /root directory instead of the normal / because of that neither /proc /dev and /sys filesystems was unable to be mounted and the boot process was interrupting in some kind of rescue mode similar to busybox, though it was a was less flexible than a normal busybox shell.

To solve that shitty issue I once again booted with the Debian Testing (Sid / Squeeze ) Install CD1 and used the commands displayed above to mount my linux partition.

Next I reinstalled the following packages:

noah:~# apt-get update
noah:~# apt-get install --reinstall linux-image-amd64 uswsusp hibernate grub grub-common initramfs-tools

Here the grub reinstall actually required me to install the new grub generation 2 (version 2)
It was also necessary to remove the splashy

noah:~# apt-get remove splashy
As well as to grep through all my /etc/ and look for a /dev/sda6 and substitute it with my changed partition name /dev/sda8

One major thing where I substituted /dev/sda6 to my actual linux partition now with a name /dev/sda8 was in:

initramfs-tools/conf.d/resumeThe kernel reinstall and consequently (update) does offered me to substitute my normal /dev/sda* content in my /etc/fstab to some UUIDS like UUID=ba6058da-37f8-4065-854b-e3d0a874fb4e

Including this UUIDs and restarting now rendered my system completely unbootable … So I booted once again from the debian install cd .. arrgh 🙂 and removed the UUID new included lines in /etc/fstab and left the good old declarations.
After rebooting the system now my system booted once again! Hooray! All my data and everything is completely intact now Thanks God! 🙂

How to mount /proc and /dev and in chroot on Linux

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Reading Time: < 1minute
I’m using a backtrack Linux to recover a broken Ubuntu Linux, to fix this disastrous situation I’m using the Ubuntu Linux through chroot after mounting my /dev/sda1, where my Linux resides with:

linux-recovery:~# mkdir /mnt/test1
linux-recovery:~# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/test1
linux-recovery:~# chroot /mnt/test1

I consequently needed to mount up the /proc and /dev partition inside the chroot environment.

Here is how I did it:

ubuntu:~# mount /proc
ubuntu:~# mount -a

Next I switched on on a different virtual console in the backtrack and to mount /dev issued the commands:

linux-recovery:~# mount --bind /dev /mnt/test1/dev

Now once again, I can use theapt-get inside the chroot to fix up the whole mess …