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#1 2013-02-21 19:22:40

Gullible Jones
Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 4,863

Writing secure shell scripts for use with sudo

Having at this point done a lot of reading on shell scripts, and a little bit of writing them, I'd like to know more about how to make them secure enough for privileged tasks. The main book I have on shell languages (Classic Shell Scripting from O'Reilly) covers this a bit, but not really in much depth IMO.

At this point I know a bunch of tricks and general advice for securing shell scripts, e.g.
- Use #!/bin/sh - (or equivalent) to make it harder to pass shell options
- Set various environment variables (e.g. PATH, IFS, LD_PRELOAD) to sane values (or maybe just unset the whole environment?)
- Use absolute paths wherever possible
- Quote or otherwise delimit all user input
- Never run user input (e.g. with eval)

But this is stamp collecting, not security. Just following a bunch of rules will probably not provide reasonable protection when dealing with scripts that run privileged.

So, what should I watch out for in privileged scripts? What flaws can come back to bite me, even if I follow all the usual common-sense rules?

Moreover, should I even be thinking of using shell scripts for privileged functions?


#2 2013-02-21 22:00:55

Registered: 2011-10-26
Posts: 271

Re: Writing secure shell scripts for use with sudo

It depends a lot on what your scripts are supposed to do. Write dedicated scripts for dedicated tasks - that eases up sanity testing the user input and options in the scripts.
Never allow execution of things like "less", "more", "vi" or anything else that is able to spawn a shell.

Regarding environment variables, read the sudo man pages, as by default they do get unset unless specified otherwhise.


#3 2013-02-21 22:15:23

From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 14,028

Re: Writing secure shell scripts for use with sudo

When you are done, double check that no one but root can change the file.

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You assume people are rational and influenced by evidence.  You must not work with the public much. -- Trilby
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#4 2013-02-21 22:24:56

Registered: 2011-10-26
Posts: 271

Re: Writing secure shell scripts for use with sudo

And if one of the major usecases is "user logs in via SSH, and executes a script via sudo" think about using SSH command restriction instead. That way users don't get a shell on the target system at all, they can just execute that one command remotely. We have many such cases.


#5 2013-02-21 22:32:47

From: WAIS
Registered: 2009-10-23
Posts: 1,845

Re: Writing secure shell scripts for use with sudo

You can use a script function to set-up a more secure environment that you call at the start of every admin script. This could be your main stamp album for stuff that can be moved there.

A few more stamps to add to the collection (be sure to read up on them before use):

1) reset the command hash

hash -r

2) prevent core dumps

ulimit -H -c0

3) set the IFS

4) clear all aliases  (see unalias -a)

Also you can remove the ALL from sudo and add explicit commands to the the sudoers file. There's a lot of fine tuning you can do in sudoers - inc. env variables as teekay said.

But I'm no expert so best to check all of the above.

" cannot be angry when one looks at a penguin."  - John Ruskin
"Life in general is a bit shit, and so too is the internet. And that's all there is." - scepticisle


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