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Revision as of 14:37, 25 September 2013 by Indigo (Talk | contribs) (Configuration: adding a sentence to explain sysctl processing hierarchy for the conf files)

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sysctl is a tool for examining and changing kernel parameters at runtime (package procps-ng in official repositories). sysctl is implemented in procfs, the virtual process file system at /proc/.


Note: From version 207, systemd only applies settings from /etc/sysctl.d/* and /usr/lib/sysctl.d/*. If you had customized /etc/sysctl.conf, you need to rename it as /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf.

The sysctl preload/configuration file can be created at /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf. For systemd, /etc/sysctl.d/ and /usr/lib/sysctl.d/ are drop-in directories for kernel sysctl parameters. The naming and source directory decide the order of processing, which is important since the last parameter processed may override earlier ones. For example, a /usr/lib/sysctl.d/50-default.conf will be overriden by /etc/sysctl.d/50-default.conf and any configuration file processed later from both directories.

To load all configuration files, execute

# sysctl --system 

which will also output the applied hierarchy. See the new configuration files and more specifically systemd's sysctl.d man page for more information.

The parameters available are those listed under /proc/sys/. For example, the kernel.sysrq parameter refers to the file /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq on the file system. The sysctl -a command can be used to display all currently available values.

Note: If you have the kernel documentation installed (linux-docs), you can find detailed information about sysctl settings in /usr/src/linux-$(uname -r)/Documentation/sysctl/. It is highly recommended reading these before changing sysctl settings.

Settings can be changed through file manipulation or using the sysctl utility. For example, to temporarily enable the magic SysRq key:

# sysctl kernel.sysrq=1


# echo "1" > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq

To preserve changes between reboots, add or modify the appropriate lines in /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf.

Tip: After changing settings in /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf, you can load them directly with # sysctl -p, after creating a symlink to the legacy configuration:
# ln -s /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf /etc/sysctl.conf
# sysctl -p


Preventing link TOCTOU vulnerabilities

See the commit message for when this feature was added for the rationale.

fs.protected_hardlinks = 1
fs.protected_symlinks = 1
Note: Already enabled by default nowadays. Only left here as information.

Hide kernel symbol addresses

Enabling kernel.kptr_restrict will hide kernel symbol addresses in /proc/kallsyms from regular users, making it more difficult for kernel exploits to resolve addresses/symbols dynamically. This will not help that much on a precompiled Arch Linux kernel, since a determined attacker could just download the kernel package and get the symbols manually from there, but if you're compiling your own kernel, this can help mitigating local root exploits. This will break some perf commands when used by non-root users (but main perf features require root access anyway). See FS#34323 for more information.

kernel.kptr_restrict = 1


Improving performance

Warning: This may cause dropped frames with load-balancing and NATs, only use this for a server that communicates only over your local network.
# reuse/recycle time-wait sockets
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_reuse = 1
net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle = 1

TCP/IP stack hardening

#### ipv4 networking ####

## TCP SYN cookie protection (default)
## helps protect against SYN flood attacks
## only kicks in when net.ipv4.tcp_max_syn_backlog is reached
net.ipv4.tcp_syncookies = 1

## protect against tcp time-wait assassination hazards
## drop RST packets for sockets in the time-wait state
## (not widely supported outside of linux, but conforms to RFC)
net.ipv4.tcp_rfc1337 = 1

## tcp timestamps
## + protect against wrapping sequence numbers (at gigabit speeds)
## + round trip time calculation implemented in TCP
## - causes extra overhead and allows uptime detection by scanners like nmap
## enable @ gigabit speeds
net.ipv4.tcp_timestamps = 0
#net.ipv4.tcp_timestamps = 1

## source address verification (sanity checking)
## helps protect against spoofing attacks
net.ipv4.conf.all.rp_filter = 1

## disable ALL packet forwarding (not a router, disable it) (default)
net.ipv4.ip_forward = 0

## log martian packets
net.ipv4.conf.all.log_martians = 1

## ignore echo broadcast requests to prevent being part of smurf attacks (default)
net.ipv4.icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts = 1

## optionally, ignore all echo requests
## this is NOT recommended, as it ignores echo requests on localhost as well
#net.ipv4.icmp_echo_ignore_all = 1

## ignore bogus icmp errors (default)
net.ipv4.icmp_ignore_bogus_error_responses = 1

## IP source routing (insecure, disable it) (default)
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_source_route = 0

## send redirects (not a router, disable it)
net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0

## ICMP routing redirects (only secure)
net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0
net.ipv4.conf.all.secure_redirects = 1 (default)


Small periodic system freezes

Set dirty bytes to small enough value (for example 4M):

vm.dirty_background_bytes = 4194304
vm.dirty_bytes = 4194304

Try to change kernel.io_delay_type (x86 only):

  • 0 - IO_DELAY_TYPE_0X80

See also