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Learn to use extended file attributes in Linux to boost security

Dec 16, 2009, 07:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Vincent Danen)

"With all the talk of enhanced file system security and security frameworks, some of the basic file protection enhancements provided by the Linux kernel have been forgotten. While there is certainly a distinct place for security applications like SELinux, GrSecurity and others, there are simple means for securing files as well. ACLs and extended attributes for files are simple and easy to use, and can go a long way in securing files.

"The first tools to use with extended attributes is chattr, which changes file attributes for files, and lsattr which lists those attributes. There are a number of extended attributes you can add or remove from files, including “a”, which makes a file append-only, and “i” which makes a file immutable (cannot be modified, deleted, or renamed, nor can any link be created to the file). There are other attributes that deal with compression, undeletion, secure deletion, and journaling as well."

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