SFTP chroot

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Revision as of 15:34, 10 September 2011 by Lefthaha (talk | contribs) (add trouble shooting about ChrootDirectory ownership problem)
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OpenSSH 4.9+ includes a built-in chroot for sftp, but requires a few tweaks to the normal install.


This package is available in the core repository. To install it, run

# pacman -S openssh


In /etc/ssh/sshd_config, modify the Subsystem line for sftp:

 Subsystem       sftp    internal-sftp

At the end of the file, add something similar to the following for a group:

 Match Group sftpusers
   ChrootDirectory %h
   ForceCommand internal-sftp
   AllowTcpForwarding no

Or for a user:

 Match User username
   ChrootDirectory %h
   ForceCommand internal-sftp

The %h represents the users home directory.

Change ownership of chrooted dir to root (for more details see at the end):

chown root ~user

Restart sshd:

# /etc/rc.d/sshd restart

Adding new chrooted users

If using the group method above, ensure all sftp users are put in the appropriate group, i.e.:

 usermod -g sftpusers

Also, set their shell to /bin/false to prevent a normal ssh login:

 usermod -s /bin/false

Note that since this is only for sftp, a proper chroot environment with a shell and /dev/* doesn't need to be created.

Their chroot will be the same as their home directory. The permissions are not the same as a normal home, though. Their home directory must be owned as root and not writable by another user or group. This includes the path leading to the directory. My recommendation is to use /usr/local/chroot as a root and build the home directories under that.

Testing your chroot

# ssh username@localhost

should refuse the connection or fail on login. The response varies, possibly due to the version of OpenSSH used.

# sftp username@localhost

should place you in the chroot'd environment.


Error while trying to connect

Write failed: Broken pipe                                                                                               
Couldn't read packet: Connection reset by peer

If you also find similar message in /var/log/auth.log

sshd[12399]: fatal: bad ownership or modes for chroot directory component "/path/of/chroot/directory/"  

It's ChrootDirectory ownership problem, sshd will reject sftp connections to accounts that are set to chroot into any directory that has ownership/permissions that sshd doesn't consider secure. sshd's apparently strict ownership/permissions requirements dictate that every directory in the chroot path must be owned by root and only writable for the owner. So, for example, if the chroot environment is in a user's home directory both /home and /home/username must be owned by root and have permissions along the lines of 755 or 750 ( group ownership should allow user to access ).

If chroot environment is in user's home directory, make sure user have access to it's home directory, or user would not be able to access it's publickey, produce following error

Permission denied (publickey).

Links & References