Exercise 1.1 - Introduction to SELinux

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Exercise Description

To better understand SELinux basic concepts, see the following documentation:

Step 1: Become root

First, go ahead and switch users to root:

sudo su -

Step 2: What mode are we in?

Next, let’s check to see what SELinux mode your host is in:

getenforce
Enforcing

Step 3: Changing modes

Now, we can change the mode that your host is in:

setenforce 0
getenforce
Permissive

And we can change it back:

setenforce 1
getenforce
Enforcing

Step 4: Changing modes for specific domains

You can also set individual SELinux domains (like httpd_t, which controls web server access control) to permissve mode:

semanage permissive -a httpd_t
semanage permissive -l
Customized Permissive Types

httpd_t

Builtin Permissive Types

And again, we can change it back:

semanage permissive -d httpd_t
libsemanage.semanage_direct_remove_key: Removing last permissive_httpd_t module (no other permissive_httpd_t module exists at another priority).

The permissive mode means that either the entire system (the first example) or the specific application constrained by a type (the second example) are allowed to bypass SELinux access controls. However, even though access controls are disabled, full AVC (access vector cache, where SELinux stores its decisions) logging still happens.

Step 5: SELinux logging

SELinux messages are logged to the /var/log/audit/audit.log file. We can read the messages with this command:

ausearch -m MAC_POLICY_LOAD -i --just-one

We have asked the ausearch utility to look for SELinux policies being loaded (-m MAC_POLICY_LOAD), to make the result human-readable (-i), and to return only a single result (--just-one):

----
type=PROCTITLE msg=audit(05/17/2019 23:47:54.147:1896) : proctitle=/sbin/load_policy
type=SYSCALL msg=audit(05/17/2019 23:47:54.147:1896) : arch=x86_64 syscall=write success=yes exit=3857474 a0=0x4 a1=0x7fb57e597000 a2=0x3adc42 a3=0x7ffc8bb993a0 items=0 ppid=16567 pid=16572 auid=ec2-user uid=root gid=root euid=root suid=root fsuid=root egid=root sgid=root fsgid=root tty=pts0 ses=1 comm=load_policy exe=/usr/sbin/load_policy subj=unconfined_u:unconfined_r:load_policy_t:s0-s0:c0.c1023 key=(null)
type=MAC_POLICY_LOAD msg=audit(05/17/2019 23:47:54.147:1896) : policy loaded auid=ec2-user ses=1

Other useful searches include:

  • all denials:

ausearch -m avc,user_avc,selinux_err,user_selinux_err
  • denials from today:

ausearch -m avc -ts today
  • denials from the last 10 minutes:

ausearch -m avc -ts recent

You can try these, if you like, but they may or may not return any results.

Step 6: Interpreting AVCs

If you use ausearch to find AVC messages, you can see exactly what caused SELinux to deny access:

ausearch -if ./testaudit -m AVC
----
time->Mon Nov 17 00:45:36 2008
type=SYSCALL msg=audit(1226882736.442:86): arch=40000003 syscall=196 success=no exit=-13 a0=b9a1e198 a1=bfc2921c a2=54dff4 a3=2008171 items=0 ppid=2425 pid=2427 auid=502 uid=48 gid=48 euid=48 suid=48 fsuid=48 egid=48 sgid=48 fsgid=48 tty=(none) ses=4 comm="httpd" exe="/usr/sbin/httpd" subj=unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 key=(null)
type=AVC msg=audit(1226882736.442:86): avc:  denied  { getattr } for  pid=2427 comm="httpd" path="/var/www/html/file1" dev=dm-0 ino=284133 scontext=unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 tcontext=unconfined_u:object_r:samba_share_t:s0 tclass=file

Here, we can see that the httpd process, ID 2427, was disallowed from checking attributes of the file /var/www/html/file1. Additionally, we can see that the domain of the process was httpd_t, and the file was labeled with the samba_share_t context.

Step 7: Getting advice

There is a neat utility called audit2why, which can make suggestions as to how you might solve SELinux AVC messages. Let’s try it on our test error:

ausearch -if ./testaudit -m AVC | audit2why
type=AVC msg=audit(1226882736.442:86): avc:  denied  { getattr } for  pid=2427 comm="httpd" path="/var/www/html/file1" dev=dm-0 ino=284133 scontext=unconfined_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0 tcontext=unconfined_u:object_r:samba_share_t:s0 tclass=file

	Was caused by:
		Missing type enforcement (TE) allow rule.

		You can use audit2allow to generate a loadable module to allow this access.

The audit2why utility is telling us that the problem was caused by a missing allow rule, which would grant access for httpd_t processes to samba_share_t files. This is obviously not the whole story, in this case, but it points us to the problem of the file’s context being incorrect.


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