append only file system - selinux?

Chris Stankaitis chris at
Fri Mar 25 16:50:05 UTC 2005

Colin Walters wrote:
> On Thu, 2005-03-24 at 15:58 -0500, Chris Stankaitis wrote:
>>If there is no 2.4 kernel solution, is there a 2.6/selinux solution to 
>>my problem? that would not allow anyone (even root) to do anything but 
>>append to logs?
> Yes, definitely.  SELinux provides a fine-grained "append" permission
> for files that one can grant to specific domains for specific file types
> (such as log files).
> How exactly you implement this depends on which threats you are trying
> to counter.  If you are simply trying to prevent a compromised daemon
> program which runs as uid 0 from changing logs, you could probably stick
> with the default Fedora "targeted" policy, which for a number of daemons
> such as Apache HTTPD already enforces this restriction.  If you have
> daemons outside the targeted set, it is typically not too difficult to
> pull in the relevant policy from the "strict" into targeted, although
> there are a few gotchas which we can help with on fedora-selinux-list.
> In order to confine user logins (e.g. someone logging in as root via
> sshd), you will need to use the "strict" policy.  You then have to make
> a decision on exactly what permissions to grant to the login.  One
> option is to simply place root into the user_r role (i.e. not sysadm_r).
> There, the login is restricted in a way similar in effect to a Linux
> non-zero uid.  However, system administration such as restarting daemons
> is not possible.
> It is theoretically possible to have a role similar to sysadm_r/sysadm_t
> but that prevents direct access to log files.  However, it seems very
> likely to me that someone with privileges similar to sysadm_t could
> indirectly influence log files in other ways; e.g. by simply installing
> a malicious version of a daemon package.  I imagine the same is true of
> the BSD securitylevel, of course.
> One nice thing about SELinux though is that you can use a tool such as
> "apol" to find all of those means of influence; i.e. what is the
> information flow from user_t to httpd_log_t.  With BSD security levels
> you don't have any such assurance.
> If you have more questions about SELinux, please ask on
> fedora-selinux-list.

Esentially as I mentioned what we need to create is a centralized 
logging server where all our boxes will log to, which in itself is setup 
in a way so that even root can not modify the logs without it being 
painfully obvious that the server had been compromised.  We would be 
turning off logrotate, the box would be a minimal install, with it's 
only function to run a logger which would write local messages, as well 
as take in the logs from all other servers.

The issue comes when you have to try and restrict root from doing 
something :)  I'll pop onto the selinux list and start getting better 
aquainted with the in's and out's of selinux and the functions which 
could let us acomplish this.


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