Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Restricting su Access to System and Shared Accounts

This chapter shows how to restrict people from su-ing to system and shared accounts even if they know the passwords.
Example for Restricting su Access to root
Create a new group for each set of users that are allowed to su to the root
# groupadd rootmembers
Add all users who are allowed to su to the root account to the new member groups created above.
The following requirement will be configured:
- Only the user named hari should be able to su to root
# usermod -G rootmembers hari
Next add the three authentication lines highlighted in bold to the /etc/pam.d/su file as shown below:
auth sufficient /lib/security/$ISA/
auth required /lib/security/$ISA/ service=system-auth
auth sufficient /lib/security/$ISA/ service=su-root-members
auth required /lib/security/$ISA/
account required /lib/security/$ISA/ service=system-auth
password required /lib/security/$ISA/ service=system-auth
session required /lib/security/$ISA/ close
session required /lib/security/$ISA/ service=system-auth
session required /lib/security/$ISA/ open multiple
session optional /lib/security/$ISA/

These additional authentication lines specify that nobody should be able to su to any account unless at least one of the PAM services or su-root-members returns
Success. The control flag sufficient means that a Success will bypass the remaining
authentication modules and overall Success is returned for the authentication part. Failure means that the failed authentication PAM service is ignored. If both authentication PAM services fail, then the last authentication module pam_deny is invoked which will deny all requests for any available authentication module. This will cause the authentication part to fail for the su command.

Next the new authentication PAM service configuration file /etc/pam.d/su-root-members needs to be created. The file /etc/pam.d/su-root-members referenced in /etc/pam.d/su should read like:

auth required /lib/security/ use_uid group=rootmembers
auth required /lib/security/ item=user sense=allow onerr=fail

The file /etc/security/su-rootmembers-access referenced in /etc/pam.d/su-root-members should read like:
# cat /etc/security/su-rootmembers-access

The control flag required which is specified for both modules means that both modules have to return Success. Otherwise this PAM service will return Failure to the "su" PAM service configured in /etc/pam.d/su. The first line returns Success only if the user is in the rootmembers groups.
second line allows only access (sense=allow) to those users specified in
/etc/security/rootusername, which is root, oracle, and postgres - these are the only users that will be accepted as a user argument to su. The item=user argument instructs pam_listfile that the entries in /etc/security/rootusername are usernames. If an error occurs, such as an unreadable configuration file, access is denied (onerr=fail).
NOTE: Once su access to root is working for users in the rootmembers, I recommend to avoid making any changes to the /etc/pam.d/su-root-members file in the future. Making a mistake in this file could revoke access to root for all users on the system. That's the reason why I created two PAM service files, /etc/pam.d/su-root-members for people in the rootmembers group, and /etc/pam.d/su-other-members (see below) for all other member groups since you will most probably add more member groups to this file in the future.
Now verify that user hari can su to root. No one else on the system should be able su to root even if they know the password.

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