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Re: Setuid

From: Andy Canfield <andy.canfield_at_pimco.mobi>
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 09:43:26 +0700

On 07/22/2011 11:29 PM, David Chapman wrote:
> On 7/22/2011 8:38 AM, Andy Canfield wrote:
>> Had what seems to be a bright idea. It is a bright idea for a
>> Subversion server on Linux or OS X; AFAIK this idea has no relevance
>> to Windows:
>> Take note of the user and group that Apache runs as. Call this
>> combination APACHE, meaning APACHE_USER and APACHE_GROUP.
>> Whatever mod_dav_svn does to any repository will be done by APACHE.
>> Whatever WebSVN does to any repository will be done by APACHE.
>> If I set the svnserve program to be owned by APACHE, and setuid and
>> setgid, then whatever svnserve does to any repository will also be
>> done by APACHE. Only root, or the APACHE user, can make this change
>> to the svnserve program binary.
>> If I set the svnadmin program to be owned by APACHE, and setuid and
>> setgid, then whatever svnadmin does to any repository will also be
>> done by APACHE.
>> If I set the svnlook program to be owned by APACHE, and setuid and
>> setgid, then whatever svnlook does to any repository will be done by
>> So the three access paths - http:, svn:, and direct - will all
>> operate using the same user and group.
>> You don't want to do this to any program, such as 'svn', which relies
>> on user authentication, since it needs to know the actual user that
>> is running the program. But any program which operates directly on
>> the repository can be set this way and that ensures that the
>> repository is always manipulated, at a low level, by the same user
>> all the time.
>> So a post-installation setup would include:
>> * sudo bash
>> cd /usr/bin
>> chown APACHE_USER svnadmin svnlook svnserve
>> chgrp APACHE_GROUP svnadmin svnlook svnserve*
>> This idea also allows me to make the the respository itself
>> accessable only by APACHE. This ensures that the repository can only
>> be manipulated by Subversion code itself (or by root):
>> * sudo bash
>> mkdir /var/svn
>> chown APACHE_USER**/var/svn*
>> * chgrp APACHE_GROUP**/var/svn*
>> * chmod 0700 /var/svn*
>> If I also do this:
>> * sudo bash
>> rm /usr/bin/svnadmin*
>> then all repository creation would have to be done via something like
>> WebSVN, which I assume requires authentication.
>> How does that sound to you guys? Where are the flaws in this idea?
>> Thank you very much.
> It prevents privately owned and managed repositories. Normally,
> individual users can set up their own repositories for their own
> (personal) projects or files. If you are planning to do this on a
> server that you wish to lock down, then I see no reason why it would
> cause problems, but if users can login and do other work on this
> machine, you are constraining them.
Ah, I see a lack of terminology here. Consider the respository located
at /var/svn/sample, the repository named "sample" and accessed through
the browser as "http://example.com/svn/sample". What is the name for
"/var/svn"? Is it a "Repository Collection"? The config entry is
"SVNParentPath", so let's call it the "SVNParent".

If you have an account on that server computer, and you don't have root
access, and you want your own pesonal repository collection, then even
today you can't use http: access to it, either because you can't
configure Apache or because Apache is already configured for the
standard SVNParent.

The suggestion would make the SVNParent accessable only through the
standard software, never directly.

Any user could create his own respository, but it would be in the
standard SVNParent.

If /usr/bin/svnserve is owned by www-data (APACHE) and setuid, then you
can't run /usr/bin/svnserve to access your own personal SVNParent. It
can access your own repository in the standard SVNParent, but not your
own SVNParent.

However, it appears that it can be done using two Linux commands:
* copy /usr/bin/svnserve ~/bin/svnserve
     copy /usr/bin/svnadmin ~/bin/svnadmin*
The copies are owned by you and are no longer setuid. So you can run
~/bin/svnserve and it will operate under your user name and manage your
own personal SVNParent. (I have not tested this yet, but it "should work").

On Fri, 22 Jul 2011 13:24:55 -0400 Nico Kadel-Garcia wrote:
> Sounds dangerous and untested. svnserve, for example, is not designed
> to be run suid. It's not necessarily handling UID versus EUID
> correctly for this. (It might, it's not tested.)

That sounds like a serious concern; no way to be sure. But for me it
would be worth the experiment.
Received on 2011-07-23 04:50:55 CEST

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