NFS is well-suited for sharing entire file systems with a large number of known hosts in a transparent manner. However, with ease-of-use comes a variety of potential security problems. Consider the following sections when exporting NFS file systems on a server or mounting them on a client. Doing so minimizes NFS security risks and better protects data on the server.
9.8.1. NFS Security with AUTH_SYS and export controls
Traditionally, NFS has given two options in order to control access to exported files.
First, the server restricts which hosts are allowed to mount which filesystems either by IP address or by host name.
Second, the server enforces file system permissions for users on NFS clients in the same way it does local users. Traditionally it does this using
AUTH_SYS (also called
AUTH_UNIX) which relies on the client to state the UID and GID's of the user. Be aware that this means a malicious or misconfigured client can easily get this wrong and allow a user access to files that it should not.
To limit the potential risks, administrators often allow read-only access or squash user permissions to a common user and group ID. Unfortunately, these solutions prevent the NFS share from being used in the way it was originally intended.
Additionally, if an attacker gains control of the DNS server used by the system exporting the NFS file system, the system associated with a particular hostname or fully qualified domain name can be pointed to an unauthorized machine. At this point, the unauthorized machine is the system permitted to mount the NFS share, since no username or password information is exchanged to provide additional security for the NFS mount.
Wildcards should be used sparingly when exporting directories through NFS, as it is possible for the scope of the wildcard to encompass more systems than intended.
It is also possible to restrict access to the
rpcbind service with TCP wrappers. Creating rules with
iptables can also limit access to ports used by
For more information on securing NFS and
rpcbind, refer to