O'Reilly logo

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

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

One Bug Can Ruin Your Whole Day . . .

The Unix security model makes a tremendous investment in the infallibility of the superuser and in the reliability of software that runs with the privileges of the superuser. If the superuser account is compromised, then the system is left wide open—hence, our many admonitions in this book to protect the superuser account and restrict the number of people who must know the superuser password.

Unfortunately, even if you prevent users from logging into the superuser account, many Unix programs need to run with some sort of administrative privileges. Many of these programs are set up to run with superuser privileges—typically by having them run as SUID root programs, by having the programs launched when the computer starts up, or by having them started by other programs running with superuser privileges (the common manner in which network servers are started). A single bug in any of these complicated programs can compromise the safety of your entire system. Furthermore, the environment and trusted inputs to these programs also need to be protected to prevent unexpected (and unwanted!) behavior.[235] This characteristic is a security architecture design flaw, but it is basic to the design of Unix and is not likely to change.

The Lesson of the Internet Worm

One of the best examples of how a single line of code in a program can result in the compromise of thousands of machines dates back to the pre-dawn of the commercial Internet. The year was ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required