Mandatory Access Control with AppArmor

Armor On

© Lead Image © Fotum, Fotolia.com

© Lead Image © Fotum, Fotolia.com

Article from Issue 228/2019
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Today's security environment is a tumultuous landscape riddled with threats. AppArmor offers an extra ring of protection for your system, and it is easier to learn and implement than many alternative mandatory access control solutions.

Mandatory Access Control (MAC) is a policy-based security framework that augments conventional security systems by providing an additional layer of protection. Unlike normal permissions, which revolve around performing functions on a filesystem, MAC deals with applications rather than files and directories. MAC doesn't replace existing permissions but supplements them. Since Linux Kernel 2.6, all the MAC versions are implemented over the Linux Security Module (LSM) framework. This article will focus on AppArmor [1], which has been around since 1998 and has been supported by Canonical since 2009.

One advantage of a policy-based model is that a policy cannot be changed by the user, unlike normal permissions, which can be changed if you have sufficient rights. Another added benefit is that it is applicable to all users, even those with superuser privileges.

AppArmor: A Beginner's Delight

Policy-based systems have a higher learning curve, but even the most basic MAC will bolster the system security. Many policy-based systems are so complex that users don't delve deeply enough to implement them effectively. One benefit of AppArmor is that it is comprehensive, yet simple enough to deploy with minimal investment of time and training.

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