Posts Tagged ‘passwd’

Sysadmin tip: How to force a new Linux user account password change after logging to improve security

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

Reading Time: 4minutes

chage-linux-force-password-expiry-check-user-password-expiry-setting

Have you logged in through SSH to remote servers with the brand new given UNIX account in your company just to be prompted for your current Password immediately after logging and forced to change your password?
The smart sysadmins or security officers use this trick for many years to make sure the default set password for new user is set to a smarter user to prevent default password leaks which might later impose a severe security risk for a company Demiliterized networks confidential data etc.

If you haven't seen it yet and you're in the beautiful world of UNIX / Linux as a developer qa tester or sysadmin sooner or later you will face it.
Here of course I'm talking about plain password local account authentication using user / pass credentials stored in /etc/passwd or /etc/shadow.

Lets Say hello to the main command chage that is used to do this sysadmin trick.
chage command is used to change user password expiry information and  set and alter password aging parameters on user accounts.

 

1. Force chage to make password expire on next user login for a new created user
 

# chage -d 0 {user-name} 


Below is a real life example
 

chage-force-user-account-password-expiry-linux

 

2. Get information on when account expires

 

[hipo@linux ~]$ chage -l hipo
Last password change                                    : Apr 03, 2020
Password expires                                        : Jul 08, 2020
Password inactive                                       : never
Account expires                                         : never
Minimum number of days between password change          : 0
Maximum number of days between password change          : 90
Number of days of warning before password expires       : 14

 

3. Use chage to set user account password expiration

The most straight forward way to set an expiration date for an active user acct is with:

 

# chage -E 2020-08-16 username


To make the account get locked automatically if the password has expired and the user did not logged in to it for 2 days after its expiration.

# chage -I 2 username


– Set Password expire with Minimum days 7 (-n mindays 7), (-x maxdays 28) and (-w warndays 5)

# passwd -n 7 -x 28 -w 5 username

To check the passwod expiration settings use list command:

# chage -l username
Last password change                                    : юни 18, 2020
Password expires                                        : юли 16, 2020
Password inactive                                       : never
Account expires                                         : never
Minimum number of days between password change          : 7
Maximum number of days between password change          : 28
Number of days of warning before password expires       : 5

 

chage is a command is essential sysadmin command that is mentioned in every Learn Linux book out there, however due to its often rare used many people and sysadmins either, don't know it or learn of it only once it is needed. 
A note to make here is some sysadmins prefer to use usermod to set a password expire instead of chage.

usermod -e 2020-10-14 username

 

For those who wonder how to set password expiry on FreeBSD and other BSD-es is done, there it is done via the pw system user management tool as chage is not present there.

 

A note to make here is chage usually does not provide information for Linux user accounts that are stored in LDAP. To get information of such you can use ldapsearch with a query to the LDAP domain store with something like.
 

ldapsearch -x -ZZ -LLL -b dc=domain.com,dc=com objectClass=*


It is worthy to mention also another useful command when managing users this is getent used to get entries from Name Service Switch libraries. 
getent is useful to get various information from basic /etc/ stored db files such as /etc/services /etc/shadow, /etc/group, /etc/aliases, /etc/hosts and even do some simple rpc queries.

Nginx increase security by putting websites into Linux jails howto

Monday, August 27th, 2018

Reading Time: 5minutes

linux-jail-nginx-webserver-increase-security-by-putting-it-and-its-data-into-jail-environment

If you're sysadmining a large numbers of shared hosted websites which use Nginx Webserver to interpret PHP scripts and serve HTML, Javascript, CSS … whatever data.

You realize the high amount of risk that comes with a possible successful security breach / hack into a server by a malicious cracker. Compromising Nginx Webserver by an intruder automatically would mean that not only all users web data will get compromised, but the attacker would get an immediate access to other data such as Email or SQL (if the server is running multiple services).

Nowadays it is not so common thing to have a multiple shared websites on the same server together with other services, but historically there are many legacy servers / webservers left which host some 50 or 100+ websites.

Of course the best thing to do is to isolate each and every website into a separate Virtual Container however as this is a lot of work and small and mid-sized companies refuse to spend money on mostly anything this might be not an option for you.

Considering that this might be your case and you're running Nginx either as a Load Balancing, Reverse Proxy server etc. , even though Nginx is considered to be among the most secure webservers out there, there is absolutely no gurantee it would not get hacked and the server wouldn't get rooted by a script kiddie freak that just got in darknet some 0day exploit.

To minimize the impact of a possible Webserver hack it is a good idea to place all websites into Linux Jails.

linux-jail-simple-explained-diagram-chroot-jail

For those who hear about Linux Jail for a first time,
chroot() jail is a way to isolate a process / processes and its forked children from the rest of the *nix system. It should / could be used only for UNIX processes that aren't running as root (administrator user), because of the fact the superuser could break out (escape) the jail pretty easily.

Jailing processes is a concept that is pretty old that was first time introduced in UNIX version 7 back in the distant year 1979, and it was first implemented into BSD Operating System ver. 4.2 by Bill Joy (a notorious computer scientist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems). Its original use for the creation of so called HoneyPot – a computer security mechanism set to detect, deflect, or, in some manner, counteract attempts at unauthorized use of information systems that appears completely legimit service or part of website whose only goal is to track, isolate, and monitor intruders, a very similar to police string operations (baiting) of the suspect. It is pretty much like а bait set to collect the fish (which in this  case is the possible cracker).

linux-chroot-jail-environment-explained-jailing-hackers-and-intruders-unix

BSD Jails nowadays became very popular as iPhones environment where applications are deployed are inside a customly created chroot jail, the principle is exactly the same as in Linux.

But anyways enough talk, let's create a new jail and deploy set of system binaries for our Nginx installation, here is the things you will need:

1. You need to have set a directory where a copy of /bin/ls /bin/bash /bin/,  /bin/cat … /usr/bin binaries /lib and other base system Linux system binaries copy will reside.

 

server:~# mkdir -p /usr/local/chroot/nginx

 


2. You need to create the isolated environment backbone structure /etc/ , /dev, /var/, /usr/, /lib64/ (in case if deploying on 64 bit architecture Operating System).

 

server:~# export DIR_N=/usr/local/chroot/nginx;
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/etc
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/dev
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/var
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/usr
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/usr/local/nginx
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/tmp
server:~# chmod 1777 $DIR_N/tmp
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/var/tmp
server:~# chmod 1777 $DIR_N/var/tmp
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/lib64
server:~# mkdir -p $DIR_N/usr/local/

 

3. Create required device files for the new chroot environment

 

server:~# /bin/mknod -m 0666 $D/dev/null c 1 3
server:~# /bin/mknod -m 0666 $D/dev/random c 1 8
server:~# /bin/mknod -m 0444 $D/dev/urandom c 1 9

 

mknod COMMAND is used instead of the usual /bin/touch command to create block or character special files.

Once create the permissions of /usr/local/chroot/nginx/{dev/null, dev/random, dev/urandom} have to be look like so:

 

server:~# ls -l /usr/local/chroot/nginx/dev/{null,random,urandom}
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 1, 3 Aug 17 09:13 /dev/null
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 1, 8 Aug 17 09:13 /dev/random
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 1, 9 Aug 17 09:13 /dev/urandom

 

4. Install nginx files into the chroot directory (copy all files of current nginx installation into the jail)
 

If your NGINX webserver installation was installed from source to keep it latest
and is installed in lets say, directory location /usr/local/nginx you have to copy /usr/local/nginx to /usr/local/chroot/nginx/usr/local/nginx, i.e:

 

server:~# /bin/cp -varf /usr/local/nginx/* /usr/local/chroot/nginx/usr/local/nginx

 


5. Copy necessery Linux system libraries to newly created jail
 

NGINX webserver is compiled to depend on various libraries from Linux system root e.g. /lib/* and /lib64/* therefore in order to the server work inside the chroot-ed environment you need to transfer this libraries to the jail folder /usr/local/chroot/nginx

If you are curious to find out which libraries exactly is nginx binary dependent on run:

server:~# ldd /usr/local/nginx/usr/local/nginx/sbin/nginx

        linux-vdso.so.1 (0x00007ffe3e952000)
        libpthread.so.0 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libpthread.so.0 (0x00007f2b4762c000)
        libcrypt.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libcrypt.so.1 (0x00007f2b473f4000)
        libpcre.so.3 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libpcre.so.3 (0x00007f2b47181000)
        libcrypto.so.0.9.8 => /usr/local/lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 (0x00007f2b46ddf000)
        libz.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libz.so.1 (0x00007f2b46bc5000)
        libc.so.6 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6 (0x00007f2b46826000)
        /lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 (0x00007f2b47849000)
        libdl.so.2 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libdl.so.2 (0x00007f2b46622000)


The best way is to copy only the libraries in the list from ldd command for best security, like so:

 

server: ~# cp -rpf /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libthread.so.0 /usr/local/chroot/nginx/lib/*
server: ~# cp -rpf library chroot_location

etc.

 

However if you're in a hurry (not a recommended practice) and you don't care for maximum security anyways (you don't worry the jail could be exploited from some of the many lib files not used by nginx and you don't  about HDD space), you can also copy whole /lib into the jail, like so:

 

server: ~# cp -rpf /lib/ /usr/local/chroot/nginx/usr/local/nginx/lib

 

NOTE! Once again copy whole /lib directory is a very bad practice but for a time pushing activities sometimes you can do it …


6. Copy /etc/ some base files and ld.so.conf.d , prelink.conf.d directories to jail environment
 

 

server:~# cp -rfv /etc/{group,prelink.cache,services,adjtime,shells,gshadow,shadow,hosts.deny,localtime,nsswitch.conf,nscd.conf,prelink.conf,protocols,hosts,passwd,ld.so.cache,ld.so.conf,resolv.conf,host.conf}  \
/usr/local/chroot/nginx/usr/local/nginx/etc

 

server:~#cp -avr /etc/{ld.so.conf.d,prelink.conf.d} /usr/local/chroot/nginx/nginx/etc


7. Copy HTML, CSS, Javascript websites data from the root directory to the chrooted nginx environment

 

server:~# nice -n 10 cp -rpf /usr/local/websites/ /usr/local/chroot/nginx/usr/local/


This could be really long if the websites are multiple gigabytes and million of files, but anyways the nice command should reduce a little bit the load on the server it is best practice to set some kind of temporary server maintenance page to show on the websites index in order to prevent the accessing server clients to not have interrupts (that's especially the case on older 7200 / 7400 RPM non-SSD HDDs.)
 

 

8. Stop old Nginx server outside of Chroot environment and start the new one inside the jail


a) Stop old nginx server

Either stop the old nginx using it start / stop / restart script inside /etc/init.d/nginx (if you have such installed) or directly kill the running webserver with:

 

server:~# killall -9 nginx

 

b)Test the chrooted nginx installation is correct and ready to run inside the chroot environment

 

server:~# /usr/sbin/chroot /usr/local/chroot/nginx /usr/local/nginx/nginx/sbin/nginx -t
server:~# /usr/sbin/chroot /usr/local/chroot/nginx /usr/local/nginx/nginx/sbin/nginx

 

c) Restart the chrooted nginx webserver – when necessery later

 

server:~# /usr/sbin/chroot /nginx /usr/local/chroot/nginx/sbin/nginx -s reload

 

d) Edit the chrooted nginx conf

If you need to edit nginx configuration, be aware that the chrooted NGINX will read its configuration from /usr/local/chroot/nginx/nginx/etc/conf/nginx.conf (i'm saying that if you by mistake forget and try to edit the old config that is usually under /usr/local/nginx/conf/nginx.conf