Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Didier Stevens

SANS ISC: InfoSec Handlers Diary Blog InfoSec Handlers Diary Blog


Sign Up for Free!   Forgot Password?
Log In or Sign Up for Free!

Using Sudo with Python For More Security Controls

Published: 2021-07-08
Last Updated: 2021-07-08 11:09:18 UTC
by Xavier Mertens (Version: 1)
0 comment(s)

I'm a big fan of the Sudo[1] command. This tool, available on every UNIX flavor, allows system administrators to provide access to certain users/groups to certain commands as root or another user. This is performed with a lot of granularity in the access rights and logging/reporting features. I'm using it for many years and I'm still learning great stuff about it. Yesterday, at the Pass-The-Salt[2] conference, Peter Czanik presented a great feature of Sudo (available since version 1.9): the ability to extend features using Python modules! There are several scenarios where Python can be used: 

  • Approval
  • Audit
  • I/O
  • Policy

As usual, Python support is not enabled by default on many Linux distributions. You will have to recompile a local Sudo instance with the '--enable-python' flag:

./configure --prefix=/usr/local --enable-python && make && make install

Once your new Sudo is ready, you just have to enable the Python interface you'd like to use. Edit your sudo.conf file and add a line like this one:

Plugin python_io python_plugin.so ModulePath=/usr/local/lib/sudo/sudo_isc_test.py ClassName=MyIOPlugin

ModulePath specifies the location of the Python script that will contain our code and ClassName is the class that will be defined in the script. In this case, I'm enabling the support for I/O operations.

Let's have a look at the script now:

# cat /usr/local/lib/sudo/sudo_isc_test.py
import sudo

VERSION = 1.0

class MyIOPlugin(sudo.Plugin):
    def log_ttyout(self, buf: str) -> int:
        if "root:x:0:" in buf:
            sudo.log_info("WARNING: Suspicious activity on passwd file detected!")
            return sudo.RC.REJECT
        if "8.8.8.8" in buf:
            sudo.log_info("WARNING: Suspicious network activity detected!")
            return sudo.RC.REJECT

And in practice, how it works:

# sudo cat /etc/passwd
root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
daemon:x:1:1:daemon:/usr/sbin:/usr/sbin/nologin
bin:x:2:2:bin:/bin:/usr/sbin/nologin
sys:x:3:3:sys:/dev:/usr/sbin/nologin
sync:x:4:65534:sync:/bin:/bin/sync
games:x:5:60:games:/usr/games:/usr/sbin/nologin
man:x:6:12:man:/var/cache/man:/usr/sbin/nologin
lp:x:7:7:lp:/var/spool/lpd:/usr/sbin/nologin
mail:x:8:8:mail:/var/mail:/usr/sbin/nologin
news:x:9:9:news:/var/spool/news:/usr/sbin/nologin
uucp:x:10:10:uucp:/var/spool/uucp:/usr/sbin/nologin
proxy:x:13:13:proxy:/bin:/usr/sbin/nologin
www-data:x:33:33:www-data:/var/www:/usr/sbin/nologin
backup:x:34:34:backup:/var/backups:/usr/sbin/nologin
list:x:38:38:Mailing List Manager:/var/list:/usr/sbin/nologin
irc:x:39:39:ircd:/var/run/ircd:/usr/sbin/nologin
gnats:x:41:41:Gnats Bug-Reporting System (admin):/var/lib/gnats:/usr/sbin/nologin
nobody:x:65534:65534:nobody:/nonexistent:/usr/sbin/nologin
_apt:x:100:65534::/nonexistent:/usr/sbin/nologin
messagebus:x:101:101::/nonexistent:/usr/sbin/nologin

WARNING: Suspicious activity on passwd file detected!

# sudo host 8.8.8.8
8.8.8.8.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer dns.google.

WARNING: Suspicious network activity detected!

Of course, you can do much more and also generate events. This is really powerful and helpful to better control what users/scripts do with Sudo. More information about the integration with python is available on the website[3].

[1] https://www.sudo.ws
[2] https://www.pass-the-salt.org
[3] https://www.sudo.ws/man/1.9.0/sudo_plugin_python.man.html

Xavier Mertens (@xme)
Senior ISC Handler - Freelance Cyber Security Consultant
PGP Key

0 comment(s)
Diary Archives