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Managing NFS and NIS, 2nd Edition by Hal Stern, Ricardo Labiaga, Mike Eisler

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Chapter 12. Network Security

The simplicity and transparency provided by NFS and NIS must be weighed against security concerns. Providing access to all files to all users may not be in the best interests of security, particularly if the files contain sensitive or proprietary data. Not all hosts may be considered equally secure or "open," so access may be restricted to certain users. Transparency must be limited when dealing with secured hosts: if you have taken precautions to prevent unauthorized access to a machine, you don't want someone to be able to sit down and use an open window or logged-in terminal to access the secured machine. To enforce access restrictions, you always want password verification for users, which means eliminating some of the network transparency provided by NIS.

This chapter describes mechanisms for tightening access restrictions to machines and filesystems. It is not intended to be a complete list of security loopholes and their fixes. The facilities and administrative techniques covered are meant to complement the network transparency provided by NFS and NIS while still enforcing local security measures. For a more detailed treatment of security issues, refer to Practical Unix Security, by Garfinkel and Spafford (O'Reilly & Associates, 1996).

User-oriented network security

One area of concern is user access to hosts on the network. Figure 12-1 shows several classes of permissions to consider, reflecting the ways in which a user might access a host from ...

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