O Mitigating Daemons Running as Privileged Users

As part of the hardening process for any machine, perform a full audit, including a review of all running daemons, as well as the groups they belong to, and the file/folder permissions they have on the machine. In this way, you can understand exactly what access a user/daemon has to a machine and refine and restrict that level of access.

For best security, all system daemons, especially those with listening ports, should run under their own user account that is granted specific, least access privileges to the system. No system daemons should be configured to run as root or any other privileged account. This can be a painstaking task, but the returns are well worth it. This security measure will defend against full system exploitation from attacks on daemon vulnerabilities.

Some of the more refined Linux packages, like Novell's Suse, include applications like AppArmor. AppArmor is an advanced program used for profiling an application, discovering how it should operate, and then restricting the application to the parameters of the respective profile.

This technology borders on behavioral intrusion prevention system technology and dramatically streamlines the process of locking down many applications, such as daemons. Figure 4-4 demonstrates the profiling process. AppArmor allows you to step through the program and accept or deny certain types of behavior:

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