ISPmanager and selinux

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Software requirements

  • Centos 5.3
  • ISPmanager-Pro 4.3.32. - .34


We have managed to make ISPmanager work together with SELinux which enables to separate client hosting from the server. Even though the system lacks the security feature that allows, for example, an attacker to use root privileges, his access to resources and the possible damage he can do will be limited.
The main principle of this method is that you need to have two httpd, one for ispmgr, the other for hosting clients. Optionally you may deploy a very useful feature, i.e. errors in the configuration file of the client's Apache will not cause ISPmanager to fail. The client's Apache runs on a standard context of SELinux. There is a module for ispmgr apache that starts it in unconfined_c, thus disabling SELinux.

Creating SELlinux module for ispmgr

We would recommend that you not perform these actions on the machine where the hosting service is hosted. To set up the module you will need the same distribution version as will be used for hosting. If you are using the machine where the hosting is running, you need to enable SELinux and restore the attributes (see information below).

 yum install selinux-policy-devel.noarch  policycoreutils
 mkdir ~/policy
 cd ~/policy

In this directory create the files: ispmgr.fc ispmgr.if ispmgr.te


 /usr/sbin/httpd_ispmgr  --      gen_context(system_u:object_r:ispmgr_exec_t,s0)
 /usr/sbin/httpd_ispmgr.worker   --      gen_context(system_u:object_r:ispmgr_exec_t,s0)


## <summary>
##      Execute a domain transition to run ispmgr.
## </summary> 
               type ispmgr_t, ispmgr_exec_t;
       allow $1 ispmgr_t:fd use;
       allow ispmgr_t $1:fd use;
       allow $1 ispmgr_t:fifo_file rw_file_perms;
       allow $1 ispmgr_t:process sigchld;



 type ispmgr_t;
 type ispmgr_exec_t;
 require {
       type initrc_t;
       type unconfined_t;
 domain_entry_file(ispmgr_t, ispmgr_exec_t)


Run the make command

 make -f /usr/share/selinux/devel/Makefile
 Compiling targeted ispmgr module
 /usr/bin/checkmodule:  loading policy configuration from tmp/ispmgr.tmp
 /usr/bin/checkmodule:  policy configuration loaded
 /usr/bin/checkmodule:  writing binary representation (version 6) to tmp/ispmgr.mod
 Creating targeted ispmgr.pp policy package
 rm tmp/ispmgr.mod.fc tmp/ispmgr.mod

Booting the module

If everything went well, you will see the ispmgr.pp file. If not, you will need to delete the tmp subdirectory and the ispmgr.pp file before restarting make.

Boot the newly created module and make sure that it is put on the list.

 semodule -i ispmgr.pp
 semodule -l

If you are creating the module on the machine where the hosting service is hosted, delete selinux-policy-devel.noarch package

Activating SELinux and installing the module

Perform the following actions on the machines with ispmgr

Enable selinux to run in permissive mode and restore the file attributes, because ispmgr did not installed them, if selinux was disabled.

Specify SELINUX=permissive in /etc/selinux/config

 touch /.autorelabel
 shutdown -rf now

Depending on the number of files on the disk it may take some time to reboot.

 yum install policycoreutils

If you are creating the module on another machine, you need to copy the ispmgr.pp module, boot and locate it:

 semodule -i ispmgr.pp
 semodule -l

Creating the httpd clone

 cp -ax /usr/sbin/httpd /usr/sbin/httpd_ispmgr
 cp -ax /usr/sbin/httpd.worker /usr/sbin/httpd_ispmgr.worker

Set up the context and make sure that it is ispmgr_exec_t

 restorecon -F /usr/sbin/httpd_ispmgr /usr/sbin/httpd_ispmgr.worker
 ls -lZ /usr/sbin/httpd_ispmgr /usr/sbin/httpd_ispmgr.worker

If the context differs, try to find out what's happening to ispmgr.pp
View the logs:

 mkdir /var/log/httpd_ispmgr
 chmod 700 /var/log/httpd_ispmgr
 cd /etc/httpd
 ln -s ../../var/log/httpd_ispmgr  logs_ispmgr

Clone the configs, directories and start-up scripts. The differences from the original are described below: cp -ax /usr/sbin/apachectl /usr/sbin/apachectl_ispmgr

diff -u /usr/sbin/apachectl /usr/sbin/apachectl_ispmgr

 --- /usr/sbin/apachectl 2009-07-14 14:03:18.000000000 +0400
 +++ /usr/sbin/apachectl_ispmgr  2009-10-19 07:34:44.000000000 +0400
 @@ -41,7 +41,7 @@
  # --------------------                              --------------------
  # the path to your httpd binary, including options if necessary
  # the command that outputs a formatted text version of the HTML at the
 @@ -58,8 +58,8 @@
  # Source /etc/sysconfig/httpd for $HTTPD setting, etc.
 -if [ -r /etc/sysconfig/httpd ]; then
 -   . /etc/sysconfig/httpd
 +if [ -r /etc/sysconfig/httpd_ispmgr ]; then
 +   . /etc/sysconfig/httpd_ispmgr

If necessary, you may edit the following line in both described above files: STATUSURL="http://localhost:80/server-status" according to the peculiarities of each server.

cp -ax /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd_ispmgr

diff -u /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd_ispmgr

 --- /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd      2009-07-14 14:08:09.000000000 +0400                                   
 +++ /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd_ispmgr       2009-10-19 07:18:30.000000000 +0400                           
 @@ -5,16 +5,16 @@                                                                                     
  # chkconfig: - 85 15                                                                                 
  # description: Apache is a World Wide Web server.  It is used to serve \                             
  #             HTML files and CGI.                                                                    
 -# processname: httpd                                                                                 
 -# config: /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf                                                                 
 -# config: /etc/sysconfig/httpd                                                                       
 -# pidfile: /var/run/                                                                        
 +# processname: httpd_ispmgr                                                                          
 +# config: /etc/httpd/conf/httpd_ispmgr.conf                                                          
 +# config: /etc/sysconfig/httpd_ispmgr
 +# pidfile: /var/run/
  # Source function library.
  . /etc/rc.d/init.d/functions
 -if [ -f /etc/sysconfig/httpd ]; then
 -        . /etc/sysconfig/httpd
 +if [ -f /etc/sysconfig/httpd_ispmgr ]; then
 +        . /etc/sysconfig/httpd_ispmgr
  # Start httpd in the C locale by default.
 @@ -30,15 +30,15 @@
  # Path to the apachectl script, server binary, and short-form for messages.
  # check for 1.3 configuration
  check13 () {
 -       CONFFILE=/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
 +       CONFFILE=/etc/httpd/conf/httpd_ispmgr.conf

cp -ax /etc/sysconfig/httpd /etc/sysconfig/httpd_ispmgr

diff -u /etc/sysconfig/httpd /etc/sysconfig/httpd_ispmgr

 --- /etc/sysconfig/httpd        2009-07-14 14:08:09.000000000 +0400
 +++ /etc/sysconfig/httpd_ispmgr 2009-10-19 07:39:15.000000000 +0400
 @@ -6,13 +6,13 @@
  # available, but does not work with some modules (such as PHP).
  # The service must be stopped before changing this variable.
  # To pass additional options (such as -D definitions) to the
  # httpd binary at startup, set OPTIONS here.
 +OPTIONS="-f conf/httpd_ispmgr.conf"
  # The httpd process is started in the C locale as default; to

cp -ax /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf_ispmgr mv /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf_others

diff -u /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf_others /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf_ispmgr

 --- /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf_others   2009-12-10 06:00:30.000000000 +0300
 +++ /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf_ispmgr   2009-11-28 02:39:26.000000000 +0300
 @@ -15,10 +15,7 @@
  # When we also provide SSL we have to listen to the
  # the HTTPS port in addition.
 -Listen 123.456.78.202:443
 -Listen 123.456.78.203:443
 -Listen 123.456.78.204:443
 +Listen 123.456.78.198:443
  ##  SSL Global Context
 @@ -89,8 +86,8 @@
  # Use separate log files for the SSL virtual host; note that LogLevel
  # is not inherited from httpd.conf.
 -ErrorLog logs/ssl_error_log
 -TransferLog logs/ssl_access_log
 +ErrorLog logs_ispmgr/ssl_error_log
 +TransferLog logs_ispmgr/ssl_access_log
  LogLevel warn
  #   SSL Engine Switch:
 @@ -225,7 +222,7 @@
  #   Per-Server Logging:
  #   The home of a custom SSL log file. Use this when you want a
  #   compact non-error SSL logfile on a virtual host basis.
 -CustomLog logs/ssl_request_log \
 +CustomLog logs_ispmgr/ssl_request_log \
          "%t %h %{SSL_PROTOCOL}x %{SSL_CIPHER}x \"%r\" %b"

The Listen directive should be edited according to your server's peculiarities. I put ispmgr to the IP address that is bound to the license, and left the rest of them for the users' Apache.

cp -ax /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf /etc/httpd/conf/httpd_ispmgr.conf

diff -U 1 /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf /etc/httpd/conf/httpd_ispmgr.conf

 --- /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf  2009-12-10 05:59:52.000000000 +0300                                                                         
 +++ /etc/httpd/conf/httpd_ispmgr.conf   2009-11-28 02:39:05.000000000 +0300                                                                 
 @@ -27,5 +27,5 @@                                                                                                                           
  # server will use that explicit path.  If the filenames do *not* begin                                                                     
 -# with "/", the value of ServerRoot is prepended -- so "logs/foo.log"                                                                      
 +# with "/", the value of ServerRoot is prepended -- so "logs_ispmgr/foo.log"                                                               
  # with ServerRoot set to "/etc/httpd" will be interpreted by the                                                                           
 -# server as "/etc/httpd/logs/foo.log".                                                                                                     
 +# server as "/etc/httpd/logs_ispmgr/foo.log".                                                                                              
 @@ -62,3 +62,3 @@                                                                                                                           
 -PidFile run/                                                                                                                      
 +PidFile run/                                                                                                               
 @@ -133,6 +133,3 @@                                                                                                                         
 -Listen 123.456.78.202:80                                                                                                                   
 -Listen 123.456.78.203:80                                                                                                                   
 -Listen 123.456.78.204:80                                                                                                                   
 +Listen 123.456.78.198:80                                                                                                                   
 @@ -213,3 +210,3 @@                                                                                                                         
  Include conf.d/*.conf                                                                                                                      
 -Include conf.d/*.conf_others                                                                                                               
 +Include    conf.d/*.conf_ispmgr
 @@ -475,3 +472,3 @@                                                                                                                         
 -ErrorLog logs/error_log                                                                                                                    
 +ErrorLog logs_ispmgr/error_log
 @@ -504,3 +501,3 @@
 -#CustomLog logs/access_log common
 +#CustomLog logs_ispmgr/access_log common
 @@ -510,4 +507,4 @@
 -#CustomLog logs/referer_log referer
 -#CustomLog logs/agent_log agent
 +#CustomLog logs_ispmgr/referer_log referer
 +#CustomLog logs_ispmgr/agent_log agent
 @@ -517,3 +514,3 @@
 -CustomLog logs/access_log combined
 +CustomLog logs_ispmgr/access_log combined
 @@ -854,6 +851,2 @@
 -<Directory /var/www/u1/data/www/>
 -       php_admin_value open_basedir "/var/www/u1/data:."
 -       Options +ExecCGI
 @@ -996,47 +989,6 @@
  #    ServerName
 -#    ErrorLog logs/
 -#    CustomLog logs/ common
 +#    ErrorLog logs_ispmgr/
 +#    CustomLog logs_ispmgr/ common

Edit Listen in both files according to the peculiarities of your hosting. Configure the required parameters (ISPmanager SSL-certificates, etc.) Restart the users' apache in order to free *.80 and *.443

 service httpd restart

Enable the panel's web-server in rcX.d and start it:

 chkconfig httpd_ispmgr --add
 chkconfig httpd_ispmgr on
 service httpd_ispmgr start

If everything went well, and I did everything correctly, both Apache web servers will start, the users' apache will start in the httpd_t domain and the panel's one in unconfined_t.

ps -Chttpd_ispmgr -Chttpd -Z

 root:system_r:httpd_t           23592 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t           23593 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t           23594 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t           23595 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t           23596 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t           23597 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t           23598 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t           23599 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t            2455 ?        00:00:01 httpd
 root:system_r:httpd_t           30644 ?        00:00:00 httpd
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t   2235 ?        00:00:01 httpd_ispmgr
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t  23602 ?        00:00:00 httpd_ispmgr
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t  23603 ?        00:00:00 httpd_ispmgr
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t  23604 ?        00:00:00 httpd_ispmgr
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t  23605 ?        00:00:00 httpd_ispmgr
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t  23606 ?        00:00:00 httpd_ispmgr
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t  23607 ?        00:00:00 httpd_ispmgr
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t  23608 ?        00:00:00 httpd_ispmgr
 system_u:system_r:unconfined_t  23617 ?        00:00:00 httpd_ispmgr


After you have completed the main operations, enable selinux in the Enforced mode and reboot it. Do not use setenforce! Reboot is required, as the processes get the context while creating, and it is inconvenient to restart them manually.

Edit /etc/selinux/config SELINUX=enforcing and reboot.

Then you customize selinux for standard services, specify nonstandard directories to the file's context, set up selinux booleans, etc. If you have any questions, you can find more information in corresponding documents. I will list the commands and the file you will need to create. More information can be found on the Internet and in user manuals.

Specify your context here:


Example on how to do that can be found here:


Useful commands


Use the instructions below to proceed:

  • go to permissive
  • restart a problem service
  • let it do what it prompts
  • watch the records in audit log
  • use it in audit2allow to get a template module
  • analyse the template, and edit it and file_contexts.local
  • prepare and boot the module
  • set up the correct context of the line that we specified in file_contexts.local
  • go to enforced
  • reboot the problem service and check its performance

WBR, Vadim Shkolin, vadim аt

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