SELinux - CentOSx86_64: User command limitation

Is SELinux the right tool for this job? If so, what is the best way to do it?

I would like to limit a particular user to only running some list of pre-defined commands/scripts (perhaps in their home directory). In addition the users scripts could have permission to run commands that the user cannot run directly (e.g. the user script test.sh could call 'ping localhost' but the user could not call 'ping localhost' directly from the command line). It is worth mentioning that I think these limitations are only required for one user account (I will not need multiple different configurations for different user accounts).

The OS is CentOSx86_64 and SELinux is enabled as follows:

SELinux status:                 enabled
SELinuxfs mount:                /selinux
Current mode:                   enforcing
Mode from config file:          enforcing
Policy version:                 24
Policy from config file:        targeted

I am very new to SELinux but have experimented with the following:

(1) I thought that the MLS policy would perhaps be best suited (This link looked promising: http://www.centos.org/docs/5/html/Deployment_Guide-en-US/sec-mcs-getstarted.html) for this task so I first attempted to switch this on. The 'SELinux Admin GUI' does not provide any option to change the policy from targeted so I attempted to directly change /etc/selinux/config. This ended with 'kernel panic' after rebooting so I decided not to use the original installed policy (i.e. targeted).

(2) From the SELinux Admin GUI I created a new policy with a policy type of 'Minimal Terminal User Role'. For the 'name' I called it 'limiteduser'. I selected no roles that it would be transitioned to. I selected no additional roles. I selected 'All' TCP and UDP ports for binds/connects. I added no booleans to the policy. After running the generated .sh the new SELinux User and Role were created. I then assigned a login name to the 'limiteduser'. As expected this gave me a user with very limited privileges.

(3) Initially this new user could create a script in its home directory but could not execute it. After I set a boolean called 'allow_gues_exec_content' the user was able to execute the script. Initially the script just contained an 'echo' but once I changed this to ping it failed again. In an attempt to allow 'ping' for this new user I deselected the boolean user_ping (although I think this only applies to user_u rather than guest_u). To do what I want I think an alternative might be to define a 'user_u' based type and then remove permissions (rather than go with the approach I have taken which is to go with a guest_u based type and add permissions - However I don't know how to do that either!).

(4) A number of online sources discuss policy files from a src directory but this was not installed and I could not figure out which package to install that would add this. I have the following selinux related packages installed:

libselinux.x86_64                   2.0.94-5.3.el6                     installed
libselinux-devel.x86_64             2.0.94-5.3.el6                     installed
libselinux-python.x86_64            2.0.94-5.3.el6                     installed
libselinux-utils.x86_64             2.0.94-5.3.el6                     installed
selinux-policy.noarch               3.7.19-126.el6_2.4                 @updates 
selinux-policy-targeted.noarch      3.7.19-126.el6_2.4                 @updates 
setools-console.x86_64              3.3.7-4.el6                        @base    
setools-devel.x86_64                3.3.7-4.el6                        @base    
setools-gui.x86_64                  3.3.7-4.el6                        @base    
setools-libs.x86_64                 3.3.7-4.el6                        @base    
setools-libs-java.x86_64            3.3.7-4.el6                        @base    
setools-libs-python.x86_64          3.3.7-4.el6                        @base    
setools-libs-tcl.x86_64             3.3.7-4.el6                        @base   

I think that I need to define a custom policy (or possibly use the policy 'strict'). Within that policy:

(a) Allow the user to execute files in its home directory. (b) Allow the user scripts to transition into different types in order to run commands that the user does not have permissions for.

Using the SELinux admin GUI (and the configuration files I am aware of) I have not idea how to do this.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

1 Answer 1


I would think limited shell such as http://lshell.ghantoos.org/ would be easier for you. Since it is written in python, you can customize it if you cannot get it to work exactly as you want out of box.

  • Thanks very much for your answer - it looks like it could do exactly what I needed. Due to my company requirements I need to continue trying with SELinux first but I will certainly try this if have no luck.
    – Stuart
    Nov 22, 2012 at 11:31

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