Users accounts usually get created and removed on most Development or Production servers. It is not uncommon to simply delete the users and yet not either delete or change the ownership of all files and directories associate with that user or user/group id. Some of the files might not be in the home directory of that user, so it is a good idea to search the whole file system for any files not owned by non-existent user or group. This is a big security issue, as an account might be created in the future with the same user or group id of the deleted account and end up having complete ownership of the files which don’t belong to them.

Solution – search ‘un-owned’ files and either change their ownership to ‘root:root’ or move them to some backup storage.


[root@danasmera ~]# declare -a no_user_files
[root@kauai ~]# for myfile in $(egrep '(ext2|ext3|ext4)' /etc/fstab | awk '{print $2}')
do
find $myfile -xdev \( -type f -o -type d \) -nouser -print
done

[root@danasmera ~]#for myfile in ${no_user_files[@]}; do chown  root:root $myfile;done

Follow similar steps for files/directories owned by non-existent domains.

[root@danasmera ~]# declare -a no_group_files
[root@danasmera ~]# for myfile in $(egrep '(ext2|ext3|ext4)' /etc/fstab | awk '{print $2}')
do
find $myfile -xdev \( -type f -o -type d \) -nogroup -print
done

[root@danasmera ~]#for myfile in ${no_group_files[@]}; do chown  root:root $myfile;done

For more information on hardening your Operating system or application, go to the Center for Internet Security website, an download the freely available Benchmarks. The Benchmarks are ‘scorable’, easy to follow steps by step instructions on how to secure you box.

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