The operating system includes extensions to the UNIX system that segregate
commands and data which are used to implement system services.
Many of these commands have been grouped into subsystems.
A group of commands and data performing similar security relevant
tasks or together protecting a set of resources is termed a
The operating system has the following protected subsystems:
The description of each subsystem includes the following information:
Group and subsystem authorization name
Each subsystem is associated with a subsystem authorization. The commands
and files associated with the subsystem take the subsystem
authorization name as their group name. Users wishing to use the
subsystem must have the appropriate subsystem authorization.
Each subsystem has a set of commands.
Some subsystems use helper programs. These are programs which call
A subsystem's programs use permanent and temporary data
The administrative functions associated with each subsystem can be
selected from the SCOadmin manager. Help information is
available with each option.
The memory subsystem
The mem subsystem authorization is defined to grant users
the ability to use the memory subsystem commands to view total system
activity. Users without this authorization may only view their own
processes. Traditional UNIX allowed any user to view total system
activity. This authorization was introduced to allow the administrator
to isolate users, and restrict their ability to sense the activity of
Mem authorization and group name
In order to look at information in the mem subsystem,
an administrator must have the mem authorization in
The administrator responsible for maintaining users' processes should be the
only person with this authorization. This administrator may need to list
users' processes in order to select one or more of them for removal (using the
command). The following is a table
of command modifications managed by the mem authorization:
lists all processes
list processes owned by login user ID,
or owned by real user ID of current process
on current terminal
lists all processes
list processes on terminals owned by user
lists all objects
list objects for which user is creator
or owner or for which user has read access
The Memory subsystem does not have a SCOadmin manager selection as the
Printer subsystem does. The Memory subsystem includes the system tables
that contain information about memory and processes, which is accessed
by several commonly-used UNIX utilities.
An administrator with mem authorization can use the
command to list all users' processes. Using the command without the
mem authorization shows only those processes associated
with the user invoking it.
An administrator with mem authorization can use the
command to list processes by terminal. Someone using the command without
mem authorization sees only the processes associated with
An administrator with mem authorization can use this command
to view active semaphores, shared memory segments and message queues
(known collectively as IPC entities). Without mem
authorization, a user is restricted to viewing IPC entities
that they own or created and those which have read permission.
Even entities that are writable, but not readable, cannot be displayed.
An administrator with mem authorization can run the
crash program to report information on kernel data structures.
The report includes security information.
An administrator can search for information by running crash
and specifying an identifier name.
Because timex uses internal kernel data structures, it must
be run from an account in the mem group.
Accounting programs such as
also use information in the mem subsystem. These programs
must be run from an account in the mem group.
All files through which programs may access kernel memory are protected
with owner root, group mem, and mode -r--r-----.
As for all files, the root account bypasses the discretionary
check on these files, and root programs may violate the System
Architecture requirement. All root programs (those running
with effective ID equal to root) must take care
when running other programs, because those programs inherit
the right to modify the running copy of the TCB. The
following files are protected by the mem
subsystem according to the above owner, group, and mode:
Cache relevant parts of the kernel symbol table to avoid lengthy
lookups for each run of ps.
Special device allowing access to physical memory including the
operating system and all resident processes.
Special device allowing access to the operating system image.
Special file for the disk partition used as the system swap device,
storing memory images of non-resident processes.
Executable file containing the binary copy of the operating system.
Writing this file modifies the executing copy of the TCB
when the system is rebooted.
The terminal subsystem
The terminal subsystem protects the use of terminals by
restricting the use of the
Terminal authorization and group name
In order to send information from one terminal to another,
the user sending information must have the
terminal authorization in
In addition, the receiving terminal must be configured to
accept information from other terminals.
All terminals belong to the terminal group. Each terminal
is owned by and can only be used by a given user identity.
The terminal subsystem does not control the Terminal Manager
When an unauthorized user uses the write command, any
special control codes or escape sequences he sends are trapped
and converted to presentable ASCII characters.
All control codes are output as ^<char>
where <char> is the character whose ASCII
code is the character sent plus 0100.
For instance, ASCII NUL (0), SOH (1),
and ACK (6) are output as ^@ (@ is 0100),
^A (A is 0101) and ^F respectively
on the recipient's terminal. The ASCII ESC (033)
character writes as ^[ and the DEL (0177) character
writes as ^?.
As an example of using the trusted write command, assume there is
a hypothetical terminal that silently stores any string between two
ASCII DC4 (024) characters. This string is transmitted from
the same hypothetical
terminal to the computer when the terminal receives a DC2 (022) character.
Assume that a devious user knows the recipient of a write
command has this terminal and tries to corrupt the recipient's
session by sending a damaging message. If this user did not have
the terminal authorization, the recipient would see the message:
How are y^Trm *^Tou today^E?.
The recipient would be alerted to an attempt on his session.
In addition, the terminal subsystem audits this
event so you can locate suspect activity.
On the other hand, if the sending user has the terminal
authorization, the recipient would see the message:
How are you today?
The following commands are modified to support the terminal subsystem.
control codes output as ^<char>
changes sense of group
write permission only
A person with terminal authorization can use the
command to write to another terminal and send control codes
and escape sequences. A malicious user might use
the command to send malicious commands and breach system security.
Without the authorization, a user can use the
command, but control codes and escape sequences are displayed on
the receiving terminal in their ASCII form,
thus warning the recipient of suspicious activity. Such activity
is recorded by the audit facilities.
The mesg y form of the command allows messages, but sets
write permission for the terminal device group that has been set to
terminal by the login program.
The new write command is SGID to terminal,
which allows it to send characters to user terminals that have used
mesg y of the file enough for the terminal group
to write to the terminal. The new write command handles this
change. Unlike the less trusted mesg, UNIX mesg
never allows any permission to all users.
The data files for the terminal subsystem are the
terminals themselves. They belong to the terminal
group at the start and end of each session, and all access is
denied except to the user.
The preferred way for a user to open and close access to a
terminal is to use the mesg command.
When a session is not in progress on a terminal, only the super user
can access the device file. Some terminal files are presented below.
This is the system console. Use of this terminal as a user
terminal is discouraged because:
Messages from the kernel appear on /dev/console.
To avoid losing these messages or intermixing them with user messages, it is
better to use the console solely for the message output.
On some systems, physical access to the console is equivalent to having access
to the entire system. Use another terminal unless the system configuration
prevents this. In any event, allow physical access to
/dev/console only to the most trusted users of the system.
Most of the terminals on the system are named
/dev/tty1, /dev/tty2, /dev/tty3, ...
These devices may at times be owned by a protected subsystem (such as
uucp or terminal) and be unavailable for general
use. You have the option of configuring the terminals for login
sessions, protected subsystems, or for nothing.
Line printer subsystem
The purpose of the lp subsystem is to provide an
administrative role that has control over printing
facilities. Unlike the less trusted version of the lp
commands, the trusted version does not require a special printer account that
owns and executes (with the SUID bit set) all the printer programs.
Instead, there is an lp group with multiple users as its members.
The lp authorization in
allows the user to be a printer administrator.
There may be multiple Printer administrators. They force the
administrator to have a login userid (LUID) of 0 or a login name of
lp, a scheme that does not allow you much flexibility in account
setups or individual accountability.
All printer administrators are allowed to execute some commands that
non-authorized users cannot, and can perform certain actions within commands
that are restricted from other users.
Only administrators may run accept, lpadmin,
lpmove, lpsched, lpshut, and reject.
For the other commands, enhancements due to lp
authorization are detailed under each command heading.
The lp authorization allows access to the printing functions
using the Printer Manager.
To determine the invoker, the Printer subsystem command uses the immutable
login user ID (LUID). Less trusted versions use various
other schemes, all of which could be fooled. The commands listed here perform
exactly like their traditional (less trusted) versions except where noted:
The accept command may only be used by printer administrators.
The less trusted version of cancel allowed any
user to cancel any job. The originating user is notified of the
cancellation via mail. The trusted version of cancel
gives this right to printer administrators only.
Mail is still sent to the originator when a job is canceled by the printer
administrator. Other users can only remove jobs they submitted.
The disable command operates without change from the less
command operates without change from the less trusted version.
The trusted version of the lp command, with the
-w option enabled by you, never writes to the terminal
directly as does the less trusted version of lp.
The trusted version of lp knows that the system prohibits
direct writing to another user's terminal.
program is used to send the message;
refer to the previous discussion of write
in the terminal subsystem.
The trusted version of the lp
command creates an output label for each file submitted. The output label
contains the system label (the same as seen on most terminals), the owner,
group, and mode of the file. To accurately determine the
output label, the lp command cannot accept input from pipes. This is
because the discretionary attributes of a file are not available if the file
was accessed on the other end of a pipe. Note that input redirection and
temporary files may still be printed.
Printer files are always copied to the printer spool by assuming the
-c (copy) option, even if the user did not explicitly
request it. By doing this, the lp
subsystem ensures that the file cannot be altered between the time the
request was made and the time it is printed. (The less trusted version of
does not guarantee that the file cannot be updated, even while the printer is
running.) As added protection, the file being copied is locked during the
formation of the output label and the copy operation, so that the file and
label output accurately reflects the file being printed.
This command may only be used by printer administrators.
The lpforms command operates without change from the less
This command may only be used by printer administrators.
The lpsched command may only be used by the super user.
When the lpsched command uses a printer device dedicated to
the lp subsystem, the subsystem guarantees exclusive use of
the printer device each time it is used.
Any prior activity (outside the lp subsystem) on that device
is forcibly stopped. In this way, the lp subsystem ensures
that the file being output is not interspersed with other output, unlike
less trusted versions.
The lpshut command may only be used by printer administrators.
The trusted version of lpstat does not display other users'
jobs if the invoking user does not have the lp authorization.
Knowing the jobs of other users is not necessary since unauthorized
users cannot hold or cancel those jobs anyway. Printer administrators
see all printer jobs, and they can hold or cancel any job that has been
This command may only be used by printer administrators.
All the files in this file hierarchy have the same formats and purposes as
their counterparts in
less trusted versions of UNIX. In the trusted version, the files are
accessible by any printer administrator, so that the group permissions are the
only ones of true importance. In all cases, the spool, its directories, and
all data files allow no access to the user population. Hence, a user can be
assured that a private file that is spooled for printing cannot be accessed or
changed by untrusted users.
The purpose of the backup subsystem is to provide a full set
of disk and tape management tools without requiring detailed knowledge
The backup administrator assumes
responsibility of file system maintenance. The backup administrator
is responsible for all actions which do not modify the format of file
systems, while the root
account is still responsible for formatting, configuring, and maintaining
the consistency of file system disk partitions.
The backup authorization in
allows the user to be Backup
administrator and perform file backups
(root always has backup authorization).
Users with backup or create_backup authorization can
Users with backup or restore_backup authorization
can restore from backups.
The following authorizations are defined for the backup subsystem:
enables full use of system backup commands
allows user to create backups
allows use of df program
allows user to restore from backups
All disk partitions are protected with owner root, group
backup and mode
-r--r----. The mount table (/etc/mnttab) is publicly readable,
modified only by the mount command. The df
program is SGID to backup, which enforces the
queryspace and backup authorizations.
The backup authorization allows access to the backup functions
using the Backup Manager.
The df command may only be used by Backup administrators. Otherwise,
the options and output format remain the same as the less trusted version.
The mkfs command may only be used by a member of the
(or by the super user, which is discouraged). As always, this command
must be used to initialize a filesystem after the partitions are laid out.
Immediately after mkfs is run, you should run labelit
to complete the initialization.
command associates the filesystem with a directory mount point.
This program is used by backupif to display and modify the
mounted file systems.
This is used by backup to check and repair filesystems.
This program is used to copy entire UNIX and XENIX filesystems to
either magtape or cartridge tape.
This program is used to copy entire XENIX disk filesystems to
either magtape or cartridge tape.
This program is used to replace entire XENIX filesystem images on magtape
or cartridge tape to a clean (newly formatted with mkfs)
This program is used to replace entire XENIX or UNIX filesystem images
on magtape or cartridge tape.
This is the default backup program. cpio makes
non-filesystem specific copies of filesystem data.
This file contains the relationship between mounted filesystem
devices and the directories on which they are mounted (mount points).
It is used to display that relationship in both
df and the backup selection.
Because altering this file would display erroneous information to
backup administrators and reading this file defaults the
access protection created for the backup subsystem, this file
must be accessible to the backup group only.
These block and character special files are the buffered interfaces
to the disk partitions
you have set up. They are used for mounting the filesystem they contain
onto a directory. The backup group must be able to read and
write these files. It is a severe security breach if others can access
these files in any way.
The Authentication subsystem provides you with an exhaustive set of account
management services. These services are:
self-checking to prevent dangerous actions, and
monitored extensively by the auditing system.
The auth authorization in
allows an Authentication administrator to
perform sensitive actions on the Authentication database. This database
contains all information on account ownership, types,
authorizations, locked status, login times, password change times, and various
With the auth authorization, an Authentication administrator
may alter Authentication parameters for other users. Because this database
directly controls the attributes of any account on the system, this
subsystem controls user access
to your system. The trust you place in the system can be no
greater than that placed in the Authentication administrators. Not
only must they be trustworthy people, but they must also not leave any
uncorrected mistakes when assigning authorizations to the accounts they manage.
The auth authorization allows access to the user account
management functions using the Account Manager.
The passwd command in UNIX has been greatly enhanced for both
security and flexibility. The trusted system checks on system-wide password
parameters as well as user-specific ones and, depending on the results found,
the user has a choice of choosing their own password or having one chosen for
them. You can set each account to do either one of these, or do both. A
closely related change is that, regardless of the method for getting the
password, you can have the system screen passwords that are probable
guesses by intruders. The password selection method, as well as the optional
restriction screening, are set by Authentication administrators in
SCOadmin for a single account or for system-wide use.
The login command is no longer available as a command used in a
session to start a new session.
Instead, a user must first log out before logging in as another user.
Sublogins are forbidden since the LUID of a session
may not change once it is set. This is to guarantee to you that
the owner of a session is known at all times. If the login program
were allowed to be run from a session, the login USERID would have
to change and the guarantee would be broken.
The login program is still invoked from getty to start
a user session. The procedure for logging in is almost the same. The user
supplies a login name and the system requests a password. Once the password
is entered, the system either lets the user log in or rejects the login
attempt. A user may be rejected for a number of reasons:
The account does not exist.
The password was entered incorrectly.
The password lifetime has been passed.
The number of unsuccessful attempts made to the account has surpassed a
system or account threshold.
The number of unsuccessful attempts made to the terminal has surpassed a
system or terminal threshold.
An Authentication administrator has unconditionally locked the account.
Reasons 3 through 6 notify the user that
the Authentication administrator has locked the account.
If the user enters the correct login name/password combination, the last
successful and unsuccessful login times are displayed on the terminal. The
user should view the dates and times of each to determine if someone else has
used the account. These dates may also be used to determine whether a Trojan
horse program is simulating the login procedure to obtain a
password. A user with doubts about the authenticity of the login dates and
times should report it to you. The earlier you take action on this, the
better you can use fresh audit trails and people's recollections to
find the source of the problem.
The su program has been strengthened a great deal for security.
It now uses information from the Authentication database in determining
whether or not to allow a user to ``switch'' to another user. The following
A user cannot use su to enter an account that has been locked.
The su command cannot be used as a means to bypass the lock-checking
done by login, at, and cron.
The newgrp command operates without change from the less trusted
The auths command is especially tailored for UNIX to allow all
users to adjust their authorizations. No user can increase authorizations,
but one can temporarily decrease authorizations in order to run an untrusted
program or to prevent mistakes. More details on the authorizations and syntax
are given in the man page for
This file keeps track of the history of use of the su program. Each
line represents an attempt to run the su program. The date and time
are first recorded on the line. Then, a ``-'' means the attempt failed;
a ``+'' means the attempt succeeded. After the ``-'' or
``+'' code, the terminal of the attempt is provided. Last, the login
name (using the login UID) of the invoker of su,
together with the login name of the (attempted) changed real UID is
presented. As an example, the following log excerpt
presents some interesting situations:
SU 02/29 19:19 + tty?? root-lp
SU 03/01 20:22 + tty2 blf-root
SU 03/04 04:13 + tty2 fred-proj1
SU 03/07 20:30 - tty2 reese-star
SU 03/07 20:30 + tty2 reese-star
SU 03/07 21:38 + modem auth-root
SU 03/07 21:39 + tty2 blf-root
SU 03/07 21:39 - tty7 daa-root
SU 03/07 21:40 - tty7 daa-root
SU 03/07 21:41 - tty7 daa-root
SU 03/07 21:47 + tty2 fred-proj1
Foremost, it appears as though the user daa is attempting to
break into the root account, for there are many unsuccessful
attempts (denoted with the ``-'' attribute) in rapid succession.
That should be investigated further.
The su program does not require one to become the
root user. In the log above, users root,
fred and reese chose to assume the identities of
In the effort by reese to become the star user, the first
attempt failed and the next immediately succeeded. This occurs
frequently and is quite natural when users mistype the password of the other
account. You should get suspicious, however, when the number of unsuccessful
attempts becomes large. Such attempts, like the case with daa above,
probably means a breach of security.
The su program was used by root to enter the
lp account. This occurrence was detached from any terminal,
because of the special terminal designation of tty??.
This particular case occurred from /etc/rc
where the lpsched daemon is run.
The /usr/adm/sulog file needs attention periodically. It should be
examined and then pruned, saving the most recent entries. The entries
removed from the file should be archived if possible rather than completely
This directory consists of subdirectories that contain private account data
for all the accounts in the system. There is a file for each account.
Because of the sensitive nature of the data here, all these files are
completely protected from the users.
This directory contains the system-wide authorization data for the machine.
The /etc/auth/system directory contains the Terminal Control
database, the File Control database, the Command Control database and the
System Defaults database. This information is accessible to the users but
not writable. The /etc/auth/subsystems directory contains one
file per protected subsystem, each containing the user permissions for that
protected subsystem. This permissions file may only be read by the programs
that are part of that protected subsystem, and is written by the auth user.
The purpose of the cron subsystem is to allow cron,
at, and batch services that are audited as closely as
normal login sessions. The cron subsystem provides a useful interface for
controlling these facilities.
The authorization in
for the cron subsystem is given to cron
administrators who are allowed to view or alter the authority for users
to run the services associated with the cron subsystem. A user
may run the programs of the cron subsystem (excluding the use
of the Cron Manager selections) without the authorization,
provided that a cron administrator has granted the authority.
The cron authorization allows access to the process
management functions using the Cron Manager.
at, batch, crontab
These at commands operate in the same way as the less trusted
version, except that the LUID (login UID), rather than
the real UID, is used by at in determining the user.
Because the LUID cannot be altered during a session, it promotes
better accountability. at and batch jobs run with all
of the login, real, and effective UIDs set to that of the login
This is the cron daemon that actually runs all at,
batch, and crontab jobs. The at,
batch, and crontab commands merely queue the jobs for
the cron daemon to run. This daemon validates the account
(ensures the account is not locked) before running the job.
Although enumerated here, these data files are not manipulated directly by
the cron administrator because of the arcane rules historically
applied to them by the cron subsystem programs. Instead, the
SCOadmin manager provides a more coherent interface, reducing the
possibility that users or permissions are set up incorrectly.
This is the directory containing all the cron administrative files.
This file lists the users allowed to execute the at or
batch programs. If this file exists, it is used to determine
the user's authority.
This file lists the users denied access to the at or
batch programs. If /usr/lib/cron/at.allow does not exist,
/usr/lib/cron/at.deny is used to determine the user's authority. You
should be aware that an empty at.deny file permits access for all
This file lists the users allowed to execute the crontab program. If
this file exists, it is used to determine the user's authority.
This file lists the users denied access to the crontab program. If
/usr/lib/cron/cron.allow does not exist,
is used to determine the user's authority. You should be aware that an
empty cron.deny file permits access for all users.
This file contains a list of commands that are executed before every
at job. It contains commands primarily used to fix and restrict
the environment of the user before running the job submitted.
This file contains a list of commands that are executed before every
batch job. It contains commands primarily used to fix and
restrict the environment of the user before running the job submitted.
This is a log of all at, batch, and crontab
activity reported by the cron daemon since the system was
rebooted. It provides an accurate ASCII log of all user
initiated non-terminal activity. If the
system is up for a very long time and there are many job submissions or
crontab activity, this file should be
periodically examined, pruned, and archived.
This is the log associated with the last time the system was up. Upon
startup, the cron daemon moves any /usr/lib/cron/log
This is the root of the subtree where all at, crontab, and
batch jobs are stored. at and batch jobs are
automatically cleared when they have finished executing. The -r
option of crontab removes a crontab job.
The purpose of the audit subsystem is to provide an
administrative role that has control over auditing facilities.
The audit authorization in
allows the user to be the audit administrator.
The audit administrator can enable and disable auditing, examine
audit records, generate reports and alter audit parameters.
The audit authorization allows access to the audit functions
using the Audit Manager.
The command interface for audit subsystem activation, termination, statistic
retrieval, and subsystem notification.
The auditd utility is the daemon that runs when auditing is enabled.
This program performs audit data analysis and reduction.
audit parameters file
audit log file directory
audit compaction file directory
Creating a new subsystem
The system administrator can create additional subsystems
To create a new subsystem, do the following:
Add a line to /etc/auth/system/authorize of the following format:
subsystem the name of your new subsystem
class1...n optional name(s) of the authorizations
This defines the ``backup'' subsystem (used to control read
access to filesystems), which has two special cases:
``dump'', actually make a backup of the filesystem,
and ``freespace'', ability to read the filesystem to
determine how full it is (but for no other reason).
Create a group with the same name as the subsystem.
Make the (empty) file /etc/auth/subsystems/subsystem,
owner auth or bin, and the
group owner is the new group subsystem with a mode
of at least 440 (the mode must not grant any write
permission to ``other'').
You are finished creating the new subsystem. It should be automatically
recognized and understood by the system and the SCOadmin manager.
There can be at most 32 subsystems and all names must be unique.