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Practical UNIX and Internet Security, 3rd Edition by Alan Schwartz, Gene Spafford, Simson Garfinkel

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Some Last Comments on NFS

Here are a few final pieces of advice about making NFS as secure as possible.

Well-Known Bugs

NFS depends on NIS or NIS+ on many machines. Both NFS and NIS implementations have had some well-known implementation flaws and bugs in recent years. Not only are these flaws well-known, but there are also a number of hacker toolboxes available that include programs to take advantage of these flaws. Therefore, if you are running NFS, you should be certain that you are up to date on vendor patches and bug fixes. In particular:

  • Make sure that your version of the RPC portmapper does not allow proxy requests and that your own system is not in the export list for a partition. Otherwise, a faked packet sent to your RPC system can be made to fool your NFS system into acting as if the packet was valid and came from your own machine.

  • Make sure that your NFS uses either Secure RPC or examines the full 32 bits of the UIDs that are passed in. Some early versions of NFS examined only the least significant 16 bits of the passed-in UID for some tests, so accesses could be crafted that would function as root accesses instead of being mapped to nobody.

  • Make sure that your version of NFS does not allow remote users to issue mknod commands on partitions they import from your servers. A user creating a new /dev/kmem file on your partition has made a big first step towards a complete compromise of your system.

  • Make sure that your NFS does the correct thing when someone does a cd . in ...

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