Ridding myself of root passwords?

Joshua Marsh joshua at themarshians.com
Thu Feb 6 15:21:14 MST 2014

On Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 2:22 PM, S. Dale Morrey <sdalemorrey at gmail.com>wrote:

> Ok I understand what you are saying.
> My point is that SELinux gets in the way of what I would consider good
> security practices.
You sound like your more security conscious than the average person I've
met or have given my credit card to, so don't take my comments about the
general state of security as directed at you. If this debate is just about
SELinux, then I'll probably end up on your side. I've had much more success
using other LSMs.

> Think about it this way.
> If you configure SELinux to be permissive, then there is effectively no
> difference between that and not having it run at all.
I agree. I think the original point about permissive mode was to get your
configuration figured out in a test environment and then include those
policies in your production system that is enforcing policies. If you
really have something against SELinux, you might try TOMOYO or AppArmor.
TOMOYO has a learning mode where you run your application and it generates
policies for you. You then simply load those policies on a production
system. I've though it would be cool to integrate the learning mode with a
testing system and produce the policies automatically. At that point, LSM
is basically free.

> The valuable information is locked up behind physical hardware firewalls
> and the servers holding this information require VPN tunneling with
> certificate based authentication to get at.  Furthermore, they are
> seperated by function and there is no direct link between them, except as
> nessecary to allow them facilitate their individual bits of business logic.
This is an example to me of being security conscious. Someone was worried
enough about the data that they put some security into protecting it.
Recent hacks suggest that not even this type of work is done on many
applications that have a lot of information about me. Additionally, having
a walled garden may not be secure enough for certain applications. LSMs can
provide protection against things that a walled garden cannot.

There was a recent PLUG meeting that talked about security and the thing I
got out of it was that you need to know the tools out there and how to
protect yourself. You can then decide how important security is to each of
your systems and spend the time necessary to secure it appropriately. If
Linux is your thing, then learning an LSM is going to be beneficial in the
long run. I think you'll find that using them isn't nearly as hard as they
were even a few years ago.

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