How to use TCP Wrappers for system security

How to use TCP Wrappers for system security


Access control to services compiled with TCP wrappers support is implemented by the /etc/hosts.allow and /etc/hosts.deny files. When a connection attempt is made, the hosts.allow file is checked. If a line is matched, the connection is allowed. Then the hosts.deny file is consulted, if a line is matched, the connection is denied. If no matches have occurred in either file, the connection is allowed.

Create Authorized Use Only Banners

If configured as described below, TCP wrappers will display a warning banner to any user attempting to connect to a service it monitors. The following set of commands generate the directory /etc/banners, and the files therein contain warning banner text for each service. In this example, the banner text is “Use of this system is restricted to authorized users.” Note that exact wording of a warning banner is site specific; however, it should at least emphasize that the use of the system is restricted to authorized persons and that consent to monitor activities is implied by logging in to the system.

[root@localhost]# /bin/mkdir -p /etc/banners
[root@localhost]# /bin/echo “Use of this system is restricted to authorized users” > /etc/banners/
[root@localhost]# cd /etc/banners ; /usr/bin/make -f /usr/share/doc/tcp_wrappers-7.6/Banners.Makefile

Deny Everything Except What is Explicitly Allowed

In order to implement the security best practice stance of deny everything except what is explicitly allowed, issue the following command.
[root@localhost]# echo ‘ALL: ALL: spawn (/bin/echo -e ‘/bin/date'”\n%c attempted connection to %s
and was denied” \
> | /bin/mail -s “Connection attempt to %s” root) &’ > /etc/hosts.deny

Any connection attempt not listed in the hosts.allow file will be denied, a message will be logged to the syslog auth facility, and an email will be sent to root.
Allow Access to Those Who Require It

Edit the hosts.allow file and add a line for each service to which access should be allowed. A few examples are shown below (See the man pages for hosts.allow for more detail).

ALL: LOCAL : banners /etc/banners            # All services from local clients (hostnames with no “.”)
sshd: : banners /etc/banners # SSH connections from host IP addresses  between and

Manoj Chauhan

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