blob: 044d0e02cd4fbd16109a35d49e7baba485304db3 [file] [log] [blame]
hosts_access \- format of host access control files
This manual page describes a simple access control language that is
based on client (host name/address, user name), and server (process
name, host name/address) patterns. Examples are given at the end. The
impatient reader is encouraged to skip to the EXAMPLES section for a
quick introduction.
The extended version of the access control language is described in the
\fIhosts_options\fR(5) document. \fBNote that this language supersedes
the meaning of \fIshell_command\fB as documented below.\fR
In the following text, \fIdaemon\fR is the process name of a
network daemon process, and \fIclient\fR is the name and/or address of
a host requesting service. Network daemon process names are specified
in the inetd configuration file.
The access control software consults two files. The search stops
at the first match:
.IP \(bu
Access will be granted when a (daemon,client) pair matches an entry in
the \fI/etc/hosts.allow\fR file.
.IP \(bu
Otherwise, access will be denied when a (daemon,client) pair matches an
entry in the \fI/etc/hosts.deny\fR file.
.IP \(bu
Otherwise, access will be granted.
A non-existing access control file is treated as if it were an empty
file. Thus, access control can be turned off by providing no access
control files.
Each access control file consists of zero or more lines of text. These
lines are processed in order of appearance. The search terminates when a
match is found.
.IP \(bu
A newline character is ignored when it is preceded by a backslash
character. This permits you to break up long lines so that they are
easier to edit.
.IP \(bu
Blank lines or lines that begin with a `#\' character are ignored.
This permits you to insert comments and whitespace so that the tables
are easier to read.
.IP \(bu
All other lines should satisfy the following format, things between []
being optional:
.ti +3
daemon_list : client_list [ : shell_command ]
\fIdaemon_list\fR is a list of one or more daemon process names
(argv[0] values) or server port numbers or wildcards (see below).
\fIclient_list\fR is a list
of one or more host names, host addresses, patterns or wildcards (see
below) that will be matched against the client host name or address.
The more complex forms \fIdaemon@host\fR and \fIuser@host\fR are
explained in the sections on server endpoint patterns and on client
username lookups, respectively.
List elements should be separated by blanks and/or commas.
With the exception of NIS (YP) netgroup lookups, all access control
checks are case insensitive.
.ne 4
The access control language implements the following patterns:
.IP \(bu
A string that begins with a `.\' character. A host name is matched if
the last components of its name match the specified pattern. For
example, the pattern `\' matches the host name
.IP \(bu
A string that ends with a `.\' character. A host address is matched if
its first numeric fields match the given string. For example, the
pattern `131.155.\' matches the address of (almost) every host on the
Eind\%hoven University network (131.155.x.x).
.IP \(bu
A string that begins with an `@\' character is treated as an NIS
(formerly YP) netgroup name. A host name is matched if it is a host
member of the specified netgroup. Netgroup matches are not supported
for daemon process names or for client user names.
.IP \(bu
An expression of the form `n.n.n.n/m.m.m.m\' is interpreted as a
`net/mask\' pair. An IPv4 host address is matched if `net\' is equal to the
bitwise AND of the address and the `mask\'. For example, the net/mask
pattern `\' matches every address in the
range `\' through `\'.
`\' is not a valid mask value, so a single host can be
matched just by its IP.
.IP \(bu
An expression of the form `n.n.n.n/mm' is interpreted as a
`net/masklength' pair, where `mm' is the number of consecutive `1'
bits in the netmask applied to the `n.n.n.n' address.
.IP \(bu
An expression of the form `[n:n:n:n:n:n:n:n]/m\' is interpreted as a
`[net]/prefixlen\' pair. An IPv6 host address is matched if
`prefixlen\' bits of `net\' is equal to the `prefixlen\' bits of the
address. For example, the [net]/prefixlen pattern
`[3ffe:505:2:1::]/64\' matches every address in the range
`3ffe:505:2:1::\' through `3ffe:505:2:1:ffff:ffff:ffff:ffff\'.
.IP \(bu
A string that begins with a `/\' character is treated as a file
name. A host name or address is matched if it matches any host name
or address pattern listed in the named file. The file format is
zero or more lines with zero or more host name or address patterns
separated by whitespace. A file name pattern can be used anywhere
a host name or address pattern can be used.
.IP \(bu
Wildcards `*\' and `?\' can be used to match hostnames or IP addresses. This
method of matching cannot be used in conjunction with `net/mask\' matching,
hostname matching beginning with `.\' or IP address matching ending with `.\'.
The access control language supports explicit wildcards:
The universal wildcard, always matches.
Matches any host whose name does not contain a dot character.
Matches any user whose name is unknown, and matches any host whose name
\fIor\fR address are unknown. This pattern should be used with care:
host names may be unavailable due to temporary name server problems. A
network address will be unavailable when the software cannot figure out
what type of network it is talking to.
Matches any user whose name is known, and matches any host whose name
\fIand\fR address are known. This pattern should be used with care:
host names may be unavailable due to temporary name server problems. A
network address will be unavailable when the software cannot figure out
what type of network it is talking to.
Matches any host whose name does not match its address. When tcpd is
built with -DPARANOID (default mode), it drops requests from such
clients even before looking at the access control tables. Build
without -DPARANOID when you want more control over such requests.
.ne 6
Intended use is of the form: `list_1 EXCEPT list_2\'; this construct
matches anything that matches \fIlist_1\fR unless it matches
\fIlist_2\fR. The EXCEPT operator can be used in daemon_lists and in
client_lists. The EXCEPT operator can be nested: if the control
language would permit the use of parentheses, `a EXCEPT b EXCEPT c\'
would parse as `(a EXCEPT (b EXCEPT c))\'.
.ne 6
If the first-matched access control rule contains a shell command, that
command is subjected to %<letter> substitutions (see next section).
The result is executed by a \fI/bin/sh\fR child process with standard
input, output and error connected to \fI/dev/null\fR. Specify an `&\'
at the end of the command if you do not want to wait until it has
Shell commands should not rely on the PATH setting of the inetd.
Instead, they should use absolute path names, or they should begin with
an explicit PATH=whatever statement.
The \fIhosts_options\fR(5) document describes an alternative language
that uses the shell command field in a different and incompatible way.
The following expansions are available within shell commands:
.IP "%a (%A)"
The client (server) host address.
.IP %c
Client information: user@host, user@address, a host name, or just an
address, depending on how much information is available.
.IP %d
The daemon process name (argv[0] value).
.IP "%h (%H)"
The client (server) host name or address, if the host name is
.IP "%n (%N)"
The client (server) host name (or "unknown" or "paranoid").
.IP "%r (%R)"
The clients (servers) port number (or "0").
.IP %p
The daemon process id.
.IP %s
Server information: daemon@host, daemon@address, or just a daemon name,
depending on how much information is available.
.IP %u
The client user name (or "unknown").
.IP %%
Expands to a single `%\' character.
Characters in % expansions that may confuse the shell are replaced by
In order to distinguish clients by the network address that they
connect to, use patterns of the form:
.ti +3
process_name@host_pattern : client_list ...
Patterns like these can be used when the machine has different internet
addresses with different internet hostnames. Service providers can use
this facility to offer FTP, GOPHER or WWW archives with internet names
that may even belong to different organizations. See also the `twist\'
option in the hosts_options(5) document. Some systems (Solaris,
FreeBSD) can have more than one internet address on one physical
interface; with other systems you may have to resort to SLIP or PPP
pseudo interfaces that live in a dedicated network address space.
The host_pattern obeys the same syntax rules as host names and
addresses in client_list context. Usually, server endpoint information
is available only with connection-oriented services.
When the client host supports the RFC 931 protocol or one of its
descendants (TAP, IDENT, RFC 1413) the wrapper programs can retrieve
additional information about the owner of a connection. Client username
information, when available, is logged together with the client host
name, and can be used to match patterns like:
.ti +3
daemon_list : ... user_pattern@host_pattern ...
The daemon wrappers can be configured at compile time to perform
rule-driven username lookups (default) or to always interrogate the
client host. In the case of rule-driven username lookups, the above
rule would cause username lookup only when both the \fIdaemon_list\fR
and the \fIhost_pattern\fR match.
A user pattern has the same syntax as a daemon process pattern, so the
same wildcards apply (netgroup membership is not supported). One
should not get carried away with username lookups, though.
.IP \(bu
The client username information cannot be trusted when it is needed
most, i.e. when the client system has been compromised. In general,
ALL and (UN)KNOWN are the only user name patterns that make sense.
.IP \(bu
Username lookups are possible only with TCP-based services, and only
when the client host runs a suitable daemon; in all other cases the
result is "unknown".
.IP \(bu
A well-known UNIX kernel bug may cause loss of service when username
lookups are blocked by a firewall. The wrapper README document
describes a procedure to find out if your kernel has this bug.
.IP \(bu
Username lookups may cause noticeable delays for non-UNIX users. The
default timeout for username lookups is 10 seconds: too short to cope
with slow networks, but long enough to irritate PC users.
Selective username lookups can alleviate the last problem. For example,
a rule like:
.ti +3
daemon_list : @pcnetgroup ALL@ALL
would match members of the pc netgroup without doing username lookups,
but would perform username lookups with all other systems.
A flaw in the sequence number generator of many TCP/IP implementations
allows intruders to easily impersonate trusted hosts and to break in
via, for example, the remote shell service. The IDENT (RFC931 etc.)
service can be used to detect such and other host address spoofing
Before accepting a client request, the wrappers can use the IDENT
service to find out that the client did not send the request at all.
When the client host provides IDENT service, a negative IDENT lookup
result (the client matches `UNKNOWN@host\') is strong evidence of a host
spoofing attack.
A positive IDENT lookup result (the client matches `KNOWN@host\') is
less trustworthy. It is possible for an intruder to spoof both the
client connection and the IDENT lookup, although doing so is much
harder than spoofing just a client connection. It may also be that
the client\'s IDENT server is lying.
Note: IDENT lookups don\'t work with UDP services.
The language is flexible enough that different types of access control
policy can be expressed with a minimum of fuss. Although the language
uses two access control tables, the most common policies can be
implemented with one of the tables being trivial or even empty.
When reading the examples below it is important to realize that the
allow table is scanned before the deny table, that the search
terminates when a match is found, and that access is granted when no
match is found at all.
The examples use host and domain names. They can be improved by
including address and/or network/netmask information, to reduce the
impact of temporary name server lookup failures.
In this case, access is denied by default. Only explicitly authorized
hosts are permitted access.
The default policy (no access) is implemented with a trivial deny
.ne 2
.in +3
This denies all service to all hosts, unless they are permitted access
by entries in the allow file.
The explicitly authorized hosts are listed in the allow file.
For example:
.ne 2
.in +3
ALL: LOCAL @some_netgroup
The first rule permits access from hosts in the local domain (no `.\'
in the host name) and from members of the \fIsome_netgroup\fP
netgroup. The second rule permits access from all hosts in the
\\fP domain (notice the leading dot), with the exception of
Here, access is granted by default; only explicitly specified hosts are
refused service.
The default policy (access granted) makes the allow file redundant so
that it can be omitted. The explicitly non-authorized hosts are listed
in the deny file. For example:
.in +3
ALL:, .some.domain
ALL EXCEPT in.fingerd:, .other.domain
The first rule denies some hosts and domains all services; the second
rule still permits finger requests from other hosts and domains.
The next example permits tftp requests from hosts in the local domain
(notice the leading dot). Requests from any other hosts are denied.
Instead of the requested file, a finger probe is sent to the offending
host. The result is mailed to the superuser.
.ne 2
.in +3
in.tftpd: LOCAL, .my.domain
.ne 2
.in +3
in.tftpd: ALL: (/usr/sbin/safe_finger -l @%h | \\
/usr/bin/mail -s %d-%h root) &
The safe_finger command comes with the tcpd wrapper and should be
installed in a suitable place. It limits possible damage from data sent
by the remote finger server. It gives better protection than the
standard finger command.
The expansion of the %h (client host) and %d (service name) sequences
is described in the section on shell commands.
Warning: do not booby-trap your finger daemon, unless you are prepared
for infinite finger loops.
On network firewall systems this trick can be carried even further.
The typical network firewall only provides a limited set of services to
the outer world. All other services can be "bugged" just like the above
tftp example. The result is an excellent early-warning system.
.ne 4
An error is reported when a syntax error is found in a host access
control rule; when the length of an access control rule exceeds the
capacity of an internal buffer; when an access control rule is not
terminated by a newline character; when the result of %<letter>
expansion would overflow an internal buffer; when a system call fails
that shouldn\'t. All problems are reported via the syslog daemon.
/etc/hosts.allow, (daemon,client) pairs that are granted access.
/etc/hosts.deny, (daemon,client) pairs that are denied access.
hosts_options(5) extended syntax.
tcpd(8) tcp/ip daemon wrapper program.
tcpdchk(8), tcpdmatch(8), test programs.
If a name server lookup times out, the host name will not be available
to the access control software, even though the host is registered.
Domain name server lookups are case insensitive; NIS (formerly YP)
netgroup lookups are case sensitive.
Wietse Venema (
Department of Mathematics and Computing Science
Eindhoven University of Technology
Den Dolech 2, P.O. Box 513,
5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
\" @(#) hosts_access.5 1.20 95/01/30 19:51:46