Thursday, June 22, 2006

Move over chroot, AppArmor is here

Plugging my own product, but what the hell, it is open source :)

AppArmor is an application security container technology for Linux. It lets you create application profiles
(policies) that define the files that the application can read, write, and execute. It lets you do this per-application, so you actually could allow users to upload arbitrary C/binary programs and expect them to behave as you specified. It provides an inheritance model so that you can't escape from this jail by exec'ing something fun: the child is controlled by policy too.

And for confining PHP (and PERL code run by mod_perl, and any other language interpreted in-place by Apache) AppArmor provides a change_hat API call and a mod_apparmor module for Apache, so that you can have AppArmor-style profiles wrapped around individual PHP pages and mod_perl scripts, even though they never appear in the process table.

If you find yourself between the rock of having to run some PHP or PERL code and a hard place of not trusting that code, try confining it with AppArmor, so that if/when the code screws up, it can only screw itself.


Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.
Director of Software Engineering, Novell

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