Archive for December, 2018

How to disown a process once it is running on Linux – old but useful trick

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

how-to-disown-a-shell-running-process-on-linux-trick

There is one very old but  gold useful UNIX / Linux trick, I remembered which will be interesting to share it's called  it is called disowning.


Lets say you run execution of a job an rsync job or a simple copy job of a very large file, but in the middle of the copy you remembered you need to do something else and thus want to switch back to shell (without opening a new ssh if on remote server) or a new console if on a local machine.
Then how can you background the copy process and move the process to the rest of long running process system list e.g. "disown" it from yourself so the process continues its job in the background just like of the rest of the backgrounded running processes on the system.

Here is the basic syntax of the disown command:
 

help disown
disown: disown [-h] [-ar] [jobspec …]
    By default, removes each JOBSPEC argument from the table of active jobs.
    If the -h option is given, the job is not removed from the table, but is
    marked so that SIGHUP is not sent to the job if the shell receives a
    SIGHUP.  The -a option, when JOBSPEC is not supplied, means to remove all
    jobs from the job table; the -r option means to remove only running jobs.

 

Here is a live example of what I meant by above lines and actual situation where disown comes super useful.

The 'disown' command/builtin (this is in bash), which will disassociate the process from the shell and not send the HUP signal to the process on exit.

root@linux:~# cp -rpf SomeReallyLargeFile1 SomeReallylargeFile2

[1]+  Stopped                 cp -i -r SomeReallyLargeFile SomeReallylargeFile2
root@linux:~#  bg %1
[1]+ cp -i -r SomeReallyLargeFile SomeReallylargeFile2 &
root@linux:~#  jobs
[1]+  Running                 cp -i -r testLargeFile largeFile2 &
root@linux:~# disown -h %1
root@linux:~# ps -ef |grep largeFile2
root      5790  5577  1 10:04 pts/3    00:00:00 cp -i -rpf SomeReallyLargeFile SomeReallylargeFile2
root      5824  5577  0 10:05 pts/3    00:00:00 grep largeFile2
root@linux:~#


Of course you can always use something like GNU screen (VT100/ ANSI Terminal screen manager) or tmux (terminal multiplexer) to detach the process but you will have to have run the screen  / tmux session in advance which you might haven't  yet as well as it is  required one of the 2 to be present on a servers and on many servers in complex client environments this might be missing and hard to install (such as server is behind a firewall DMZ-ed (Demilitirezed Zoned) network and no way to install extra packages), the disown command makes sense.

Another useful old tip, that new Linux users might not konw is the nohup command (which runs a command immune to hangups with output to a non-tty), nohup's main use is if you want to run process in background with (ampersand) from bash / zsh / tcsh etc. and keep the backgrounded process running even once you've exited the active shell, to do so run the proc background as follows:
 

$ nohup command-to-exec &

 

Hope this helps someone, Enjoy!

 

Automatic network restart and reboot Linux server script if ping timeout to gateway is not responding as a way to reduce connectivity downtimes

Monday, December 10th, 2018

automatic-server-network-restart-and-reboot-script-if-connection-to-server-gateway-inavailable-tux-penguing-ascii-art-bin-bash

Inability of server to come back online server automaticallyafter electricity / network outage

These days my home server  is experiencing a lot of issues due to Electricity Power Outages, a construction dig operations to fix / change waterpipe tubes near my home are in action and perhaps the power cables got ruptered by the digger machine.
The effect of all this was that my server networking accessability was affected and as I didn't have network I couldn't access it remotely anymore at a certain point the electricity was restored (and the UPS charge could keep the server up), however the server accessibility did not due restore until I asked a relative to restart it or under a more complicated cases where Tech aquanted guy has to help – Alexander (Alex) a close friend from school years check his old site here – alex.pc-freak.net helps a lot.to restart the machine physically either run a quick restoration commands on root TTY terminal or generally do check whether default router is reachable.

This kind of Pc-Freak.net downtime issues over the last month become too frequent (the machine was down about 5 times for 2 to 5 hours and this was too much (and weirdly enough it was not accessible from the internet even after electricity network was restored and the only solution to that was a physical server restart (from the Power Button).

To decrease the number of cases in which known relatives or friends has to  physically go to the server and restart it, each time after network or electricity outage I wrote a small script to check accessibility towards Default defined Network Gateway for my server with few ICMP packages sent with good old PING command
and trigger a network restart and system reboot
(in case if the network restart does fail) in a row.

1. Create reboot-if-nwork-is-downsh script under /usr/sbin or other dir

Here is the script itself:

 

#!/bin/sh
# Script checks with ping 5 ICMP pings 10 times to DEF GW and if so
# triggers networking restart /etc/inid.d/networking restart
# Then does another 5 x 10 PINGS and if ping command returns errors,
# Reboots machine
# This script is useful if you run home router with Linux and you have
# electricity outages and machine doesn't go up if not rebooted in that case

GATEWAY_HOST='192.168.0.1';

run_ping () {
for i in $(seq 1 10); do
    ping -c 5 $GATEWAY_HOST
done

}

reboot_f () {
if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
        echo "$(date "+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S") Ping to $GATEWAY_HOST OK" >> /var/log/reboot.log
    else
    /etc/init.d/networking restart
        echo "$(date "+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S") Restarted Network Interfaces:" >> /tmp/rebooted.txt
    for i in $(seq 1 10); do ping -c 5 $GATEWAY_HOST; done
    if [ $? -eq 0 ] && [ $(cat /tmp/rebooted.txt) -lt ‘5’ ]; then
         echo "$(date "+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S") Ping to $GATEWAY_HOST FAILED !!! REBOOTING." >> /var/log/reboot.log
        /sbin/reboot

    # increment 5 times until stop
    [[ -f /tmp/rebooted.txt ]] || echo 0 > /tmp/rebooted.txt
    n=$(< /tmp/rebooted.txt)
        echo $(( n + 1 )) > /tmp/rebooted.txt
    fi
    # if 5 times rebooted sleep 30 mins and reset counter
    if [ $(cat /tmprebooted.txt) -eq ‘5’ ]; then
    sleep 1800
        cat /dev/null > /tmp/rebooted.txt
    fi
fi

}
run_ping;
reboot_f;

You can download a copy of reboot-if-nwork-is-down.sh script here.

As you see in script successful runs  as well as its failures are logged on server in /var/log/reboot.log with respective timestamp.
Also a counter to 5 is kept in /tmp/rebooted.txt, incremented on each and every script run (rebooting) if, the 5 times increment is matched

a sleep is executed for 30 minutes and the counter is being restarted.
The counter check to 5 guarantees the server will not get restarted if access to Gateway is not continuing for a long time to prevent the system is not being restarted like crazy all time.
 

2. Create a cron job to run reboot-if-nwork-is-down.sh every 15 minutes or so 

I've set the script to re-run in a scheduled (root user) cron job every 15 minutes with following  job:

To add the script to the existing cron rules without rewriting my old cron jobs and without tempering to use cronta -u root -e (e.g. do the cron job add in a non-interactive mode with a single bash script one liner had to run following command:

 

{ crontab -l; echo "*/15 * * * * /usr/sbin/reboot-if-nwork-is-down.sh 2>&1 >/dev/null; } | crontab –


I know restarting a server to restore accessibility is a stupid practice but for home-use or small client servers with unguaranteed networks with a cheap Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) devices it is useful.

Summary

Time will show how efficient such a  "self-healing script practice is.
Even though I'm pretty sure that even in a Corporate businesses and large Public / Private Hybrid Clouds where access to remote mounted NFS / XFS / ZFS filesystems are failing a modifications of the script could save you a lot of nerves and troubles and unhappy customers / managers screaming at you on the phone 🙂


I'll be interested to hear from others who have a better  ideas to restore ( resurrect ) access to inessible Linux server after an outage.?
 

Create SFTP CHROOT Jail User for data transfer to better Linux shared web hosting server security

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Adding user SFTP access to a Linux system is often required and therefore a must for multi users or web hosting environments it is an absolute requirement to have SFTP  user space separation ( isolation ) out of the basic Linux system environment this is done using a fake CHROOT Jail.

Purpose of this article is to show how to create SFTP Chroot JAIL in few easy configurations.

By isolating each user into his own space you will protect the users to not eventually steal or mistakenly leak information such as user credentials / passwords etc.

Besides that it is useful to restrict the User to his own File / Web Space to have granted only access to Secure FTP (SFTP) only and not SSH login access and togheter with the chroot jail environment to protect your server from being attempted to be hacked (rooted / exploited) through some (0day) zero-day kernel 1337 vulnerability.

1. Setup Chrooted file system and do the bind mount in /etc/fstab
 

# chown root:root /mnt/data/share
# chmod 755 /mnt/data/share
# mkdir -p /sftp/home
# mount -o bind /mnt/data/share /sftp/home

Next add to /etc/fstab (e.g. vim /etc/fstab) and add following line:
 

/mnt/data/share /sftp/home  none   bind   0   0


To mount it next:
 

# mount -a


/mnt/data/share is a mounted HDD in my case but could be any external attached storage

 

2. Create User and sftpgroup group and add your new SFTP Jailed user accounts to it

To achieve SFTP only CHROOT Jail environment you need some UNIX accounts new group created such as sftpgroup and use it to assign proper ownership / permissions to newly added SFTP restricted accounts.
 

# groupadd sftpgroup


Once the group exists, next step is to create the desired username / usernames with useradd command and assign it to sftpgroup:

 

# adduser sftp-account1 -s /sbin/nologin -d /sftp/home
# passwd sftp-account1

 

usermod -G sftpgroup sftp-account1


Above both commands could be also done in one line with adduser

 

# adduser sftp-account1 -g sftpgroup -s /sbin/nologin -d /sftp/home

Note the /sbin/nologin which is set to prevent SSH logins but still allow access via sftp / scp data transfer clients Once the user exists it is a good idea to prepare the jailed environment under a separate directory under root File system system lets say in /sftp/home/

3. Set proper permissions to User chrooted /home folder

# mkdir -p /sftp/home
# mkdir /sftp/home/sftp-account1
# chown root:root /sftp/
# chown sftp-account1:sftpgroup /sftp/home/sftp-account1

For each new created uesr (in this case sftp-account1) make sure the permissions are properly set to make the files readable only by the respective user.

# chmod 700 -R /sftp/home/sftp-account1

For every next created user don't forget to do the same 3. Modify SSHD configuration file to add Chroot match rules Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and to the end of it add below configuration:

# vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Subsystem sftp internal-sftp     
Match Group sftpgroup   
ChrootDirectory /sftp/home   
ForceCommand internal-sftp   
X11Forwarding no   
AllowTcpForwarding no


Restart sshd to make the new settings take effect, to make sure you don't ed up with no access (if it is a remote server) run the sshd daemon on a secondary port like so:
 

# /usr/sbin/sshd -p 2208 &

Then restart sshd – if it is old Linux with Init V support

# /etc/init.d/sshd restart

– For systemd Linux systems

# systemctl restart sshd


4. Verify Username (sftp-account1) could login only via SFTP and his environment is chrooted

 

ssh sftp-account1@pc-freak.net

This service allows sftp connections only.
Connection to 83.228.93.76 closed.

 

sftp sftp-account1@pc-freak.net Connected to 83.228.93.76. sftp>


5. Closure

The quick summary of What we have achieved with below is:

restrict Linux users from having no /bin/shell access but still have Secure FTP copy in few steps to summarize them

a. create new user and group for SFTP chrooted restricted access only
b. set proper permissions to make folder accessible only by user itself
c. added necessery sshd config and restarted sshd to make it working d. tested configuration

This short guide was based on documentation on Arch Linux's wiki SFTP chroot you can check it here.