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Solaris Profile Shells

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user_attr prof_attr exec_attr auth_attr policy.conf    
Reference   sudo vs RBAC ACLs usage is roles Profile Shells Humor Etc

When a user runs the su command to assume a role, profile shells launch from within the parent shell. There are only three profile shells in Solaris: pfsh, pfcsh, and pfksh. These profile shells are actually the hardlinks to Solaris Bourne shell (sh), Solaris C shell (csh), and Solaris Korn shell (ksh), respectively.

A profile shell is a hardlink to a regualar Solaris shells that enables checking privileges that are assigned to the role.  In other words, the shell and the profile shell are hardlinked and have the same inode number. You can check this using commands "ls -i /usr/bin/sh /usr/bin/pfsh" or "ls -i /usr/bin/ksh /usr/bin/pfksh". The standard UNIX (tcsh) and Linux shells (bash) are not aware of the RBAC database. That means that bash cannot be used as a profile shell.

Before executing any command, the profile shell checks the roleís profile and  commands associated with this profile.  If the same command appears in more than one profile, the profile shell uses the first matching entry.

The pfexec command executes the command with the attributes specified in the database. It looks like pfexec can be used as a substitute to sudo prefix (pfksh, pfsh and pfexec share the same man page:

The second form, pfexec -P privspec, allows a user to obtain the additional privileges awarded to the user's profiles in prof_attr(4). The privileges specification on the commands line is parsed using priv_str_to_set(3C). The resulting privileges are intersected with the union of the privileges specified using the "privs" keyword in prof_attr(4) for all the user's profiles and added to the inheritable set before executing the command.

Naturally as any additional level of complexity this introduces new type of vulnerabilities, for example:

Sun Solaris 8 and 9: CVE reference: CAN-2004-1394

Sun has reported a vulnerability in Solaris, which can be exploited by malicious, local users to gain escalated privileges. The pfexec program may reportedly execute "profile" commands with additional privileges if the execution profiles database contains an invalid entry for a user's custom rights profile. Patches exist for Solaris 8 and  Solaris 9



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Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

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The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D


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Last modified: March 12, 2019