Linux Namespaces

Starting from kernel 2.6.24, there are 6 different types of Linux namespaces. Namespaces are useful in isolating processes from the rest of the system, without needing to use full low level virtualization technology. CLONE_NEWIPC: IPC Namespaces: SystemV IPC and POSIX Message Queues can be isolated. CLONE_NEWPID: PID Namespaces: PIDs are isolated, meaning that a PID inside of the namespace can conflict with a PID outside of the namespace. PIDs inside the namespace will be mapped to other PIDs outside of the namespace. The first PID inside the namespace will be ‘1’ which outside of the namespace is assigned to init CLONE_NEWNET: Network Namespaces: Networking (/proc/net, IPs, interfaces and routes) are isolated. Services can be run on the same ports within namespaces, and “duplicate” virtual interfaces can be created. CLONE_NEWNS: Mount Namespaces. We have the ability to isolate mount points as they appear to processes. Using mount namespaces, we can achieve similar functionality to chroot() however with improved security. CLONE_NEWUTS: UTS Namespaces. This namespaces primary purpose is to isolate the hostname and NIS name. CLONE_NEWUSER: User Namespaces. Here, user and group IDs are different inside and outside of namespaces and can be duplicated. Let’s look first at the structure of a C program, required to demonstrate process namespaces. The following has been tested on Debian 6 and 7. First, we need to allocate a page of memory on the stack, and set a pointer to the end of that memory page. We use alloca to allocate stack memory rather than malloc which would allocate memory on the heap. void *mem = alloca(sysconf(_SC_PAGESIZE)) + sysconf(_SC_PAGESIZE); Next, we use clone to create a child process, passing the location of our child stack ‘mem’, as well as the required flags to specify a new namespace. We specify ‘callee’ as the function to execute within the child space: mypid = clone(callee, mem, SIGCHLD | CLONE_NEWIPC | CLONE_NEWPID | CLONE_NEWNS | CLONE_FILES, NULL); After calling clone we then wait for the child process to finish, before terminating the parent. If not, the parent execution flow will continue and terminate immediately after, clearing up the child with it: while (waitpid(mypid, &r, 0) < 0 && errno == EINTR) { continue; } Lastly, we’ll return to the shell with the exit code of the child: if (WIFEXITED(r)) { return WEXITSTATUS(r); } return EXIT_FAILURE; Now, let’s look at the callee function: static int callee() { int ret; mount("proc", "/proc", "proc", 0, ""); setgid(u); setgroups(0, NULL); setuid(u); ret = execl("/bin/bash", "/bin/bash", NULL); return ret; } Here, we mount a /proc filesystem, and then set the uid (User ID) and gid (Group ID) to the value of ‘u’ before spawning the /bin/bash shell. […]

By | November 23rd, 2014|BASH, C/C++, Linux, Networking, Security Consultant|1 Comment

Performing DNS Queries in Python

dnspython provides a detailed interface into DNS. In its simplest form, it’s possible to perform queries in only a couple of lines of code. Here’s a commented example: import dns.resolver #import the module myResolver = dns.resolver.Resolver() #create a new instance named ‘myResolver’ myAnswers = myResolver.query("", "A") #Lookup the ‘A’ record(s) for for rdata in myAnswers: #for each response print rdata #print the data The results in my case are: […]

By | November 21st, 2014|Development, Python|2 Comments

Nginx, SSL & php5-fpm on Debian Wheezy

I decided to take a break from my love affair with Apache and set up a recent development project on Nginx. I’ve seen nothing but good things in terms of speed and performance from Nginx. I decided to set up a LEMP server (Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP), minus the MySQL as it’s already installed on my VM host server, and plus SSL. Here’s the full setup tutorial on Debian Wheezy: Step #1 – Installing the packages apt-get install nginx-extras mysql-client apt-get install php5-fpm php5-gd php5-mysql php-apc php-pear php5-cli php5-common php5-curl php5-mcrypt php5-cgi php5-memcached MySQL can be installed into the mix with a simple: apt-get install mysql-server […]

By | October 11th, 2014|Development, Hosting, Linux, MySQL, MySQL, PHP, PHP, PHP Articles, VPS|0 Comments

MySQL Master-Master Replication, Heartbeat, DRBD, Apache, PHP, Varnish MegaHOWTO

I created this HOWTO while building a new development environment today. The intention is to take a single Apache2/Varnish/MySQL environment and scale it to two servers, with one effectively a “hot-standby” – increase redundancy and continuity whilst maintaining current performance. This HOWTO is based on Linux Debian-76-wheezy-64-minimal 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.60-1+deb7u3 x86_64 Our current server has IP and our new server has IP Section #1: Set up MySQL Master/Master Replication First, we’ll set up MySQL master to master replication. In this configuration, data can be written and read from either host. Bear in mind that issues may exist with autoincrement fields when written to at the same time. There are other caveats with replication so ensure to research them along with how to deal with corruption and repair before considering this setup for a live application. Also be sure to be using the same version of MySQL on both servers – this may not always be necessary, however unless you are very familiar with any changes between versions, not doing so could spell disaster. […]

Linux iproute2 multiple default gateways

This article describes a Linux server set up with 2 interfaces (eth0) and (eth1). Each interface has a separate ISP, network details and default gateway. eth0 has two sets of network details on the same interface and so a virtual interface (eth0:0) must be created to handle the second IP. By default, Linux only allows for one default gateway. Let’s see what happens if we try to use multiple uplinks with 1 default gateway. Assume eth0 is assigned and eth1 is assigned Let’s say our default gateway is (which of course is found through eth0) but there’s also a gateway on eth1 which we can’t enter as Linux only allows for the one. Our routing table now looks like this: root@www1:~# route -n Kernel IP routing table Destination Gateway Genmask Flags Metric Ref Use Iface UG 0 0 0 eth0 U 0 0 0 eth0 U 0 0 0 eth1 If a packet comes in to us, routed through the gateway from say, our machine will receive it. When it tries to reply to however, it runs down the routing table and sees that it’s not local to eth0 or eth1 and therefore will get routed out through the default gateway ( – the problem is, this is the wrong gateway and so the target machine will ignore our response due to it being out of sequence and from the wrong IP. Using iproute2, Linux can track multiple routing tables and therefore multiple default gateways. If the packet comes in through one interface and to one IP, it will go out via a specific default gateway. The script to achieve this is as follows: […]

By | October 5th, 2014|BASH, Linux, Networking, SH/BASH|2 Comments

My 5 step offshore interviewing process

Often being called on to assemble and manage teams of designers or coders in particular through projects, I’ve developed a few tips and tricks in 12+ years of off-shoring which I wanted to share. They may be obvious to some. With experience, I’ve found that most off shore contractors are hard working and keen to grow but can sometimes be challenging or even impossible to work with. Can a job applicant read? Usually, the job description will contain the old test, “please include the word ‘blah’ at the top of your reply to prove you’ve read this description”. This makes sure that the applicant has read the description rather than just posted a cut and paste canned application to multiple jobs. Sometimes, applicants respond to questions that they prepare rather than actually reading and understanding your questions. I was hiring someone to work on some Google AdWords campaigns. I asked, “can you let me have some stats/supporting evidence/case study on any recent previous job – click through rates, impressions, conversions and metrics.” What I’m asking is, what did you do, and what were the results? The applicant on the other hand, seemed to answer the question, “can you tell me anything y0u can think of about some of your past work?” As an applicant, if you can’t read my requirements and queries accurately, how can I work with you? If you want to save yourself the hassle, have a look at our php programmer services. […]

By | July 15th, 2014|Development, Security Consultant|0 Comments

PHP Local and Remote File Inclusion (LFI, RFI) Attacks

PHP supports the ability to ‘include’ or ‘require’ additional files within a script. If unsanitized data is passed to such functions, an attacker may be able to get remote code execution access to the server. A typical include block might look something like this: <?php require("config/"); require("lib/db.lib.php"); require("lib/parser.lib.php"); include("contrib/users/user.contrib.php"); die("This is a test"); ?> Now, it’s also possible to dynamically require or include files based on variables or user input, say for example: […]

By | August 15th, 2013|Linux, PHP, PHP, PHP Articles, Security Consultant|0 Comments