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OpenVMS Guide to System Security

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11.8 Using the System Management Utility

The System Management utility (SYSMAN) is a facility supporting the cluster work of the security administrator. Through its centralized management of nodes and clusters, SYSMAN lets you perform system management tasks from your local node that the utility executes on all nodes in the target environment.

To use SYSMAN requires OPER privilege on the local node and authorization for the OPER privilege on any remote node. The utility does not require a password when you are operating within a cluster in your own account. The operating system audits any logical link connections or any operation in which the utility requires a password.

System managers using SYSMAN should be careful that logical names are set to the same name on each node.

11.9 Managing Cluster Membership

Clustered systems use a group number and a cluster password to both allow multiple independent clustered systems to coexist on the same extended local area network (LAN) and to prevent accidental access to a cluster by unauthorized computers. The group number uniquely identifies each cluster system on a LAN. The cluster password serves as an additional check to ensure the integrity of individual clusters on the same LAN that accidentally use identical group numbers. The password also prevents an intruder who discovers the group number from joining the cluster.

The cluster group number and password (in encrypted form) are maintained in the cluster authorization file, SYS$COMMON:[SYSEXE]CLUSTER_AUTHORIZE.DAT. This file is created during installation of the operating system if you indicate that you want to set up a local area or mixed interconnect cluster. The installation procedure then prompts you for the cluster group number and password.

Under normal conditions, you need not alter records in the CLUSTER_AUTHORIZE.DAT file interactively. However, if you suspect a security breach, you may want to change the cluster password. In that case, you use SYSMAN to make the change. The file is accessible only to users with the SYSPRV privilege. Note that if you change either the group number or the password, you must reboot the entire cluster.

If your configuration has multiple system disks, each disk must have a copy of CLUSTER_AUTHORIZE.DAT. You must run SYSMAN to update all copies.

The following command sequence illustrates the use of SYSMAN to change the cluster password:

%SYSMAN-I-CAFOLDGROUP, existing group will not be changed
%SYSMAN-I-GRPNOCHG, Group number not changed
%SYSMAN-I-CAFREBOOT, cluster authorization file updated
 The entire cluster should be rebooted.

11.10 Using DECnet Between Cluster Nodes

The cluster environment provides such a rich resource-sharing model (which includes files and volumes, disk and tape devices, and batch and print queues) that it is usually unnecessary to directly access another cluster node through DECnet software. Nonetheless, there are situations where resources may not be uniformly shared across the cluster. This is particularly true in mixed interconnect or local area cluster configurations, where you may choose to limit cluster access to a satellite's disk or tape volumes. In such cases, users need to use the DCL command SET HOST or some form of network access to access a satellite's resources from other cluster members. See Section 12.3 for more information on network access through proxy logins.

Chapter 12
Security in a Network Environment

Security in a network environment is even more sensitive than security in a single-system environment. Security is also harder to achieve because of operational complexities and the decentralization of control that commonly exist in networks. The larger the network, the more difficult the problem of establishing control and communication between security administrators of the numerous nodes.

There are limitations to the degree of security any networking site can expect to achieve due to limitations currently present in networking technology. Being sensitive to potential problems can help you avoid operations that could increase the security exposure in your network. This chapter helps you recognize these problem areas and adjust your operations accordingly.

See the OpenVMS System Manager's Manual for information on the networking software options for OpenVMS systems, including the following:

  • Compaq TCP/IP Services for OpenVMS
  • DECnet-Plus for OpenVMS (DECnet Phase V)
  • DECnet for OpenVMS (DECnet Phase IV)

12.1 Managing Network Security

Networking software regulates access to the network on various levels:

  • Privileges for access to the network. To perform any kind of network activity, all network users must have TMPMBX and NETMBX privileges. Privileged users hold privileges in addition to TMPMBX and NETMBX.
  • Access control. To connect to a networked node, a user needs explicit access information, a proxy account, an application account, or a default DECnet account. (See Section 12.2.)
  • Routing initialization passwords for connecting local nodes to remote nodes over synchronous or asynchronous lines. (See Section 12.5.)

12.1.1 Requirements for Achieving Security

There are three critical requirements for achieving security in a network environment:

  • Common security policy
    There must be a correspondence between the initiating process on the source machine and the process on the target machine that works on behalf of the initiating process (see Figure 12-1). This correspondence must be managed by the two reference monitors and must be consistent with the security policy intended on the target machine (which is ultimately responsible for protecting the object). See Chapter 2 for a description of the reference monitor.
  • Shared access control information
    The authorization database on the target machine must have some access authorization, such as an account or a proxy, that corresponds to the initiating process on the source machine.
  • Protected circuits, lines, terminals, and processors
    There must be a protected means of communication between the two reference monitors (source and target) so that correspondence between the local and remote subjects can be reliably established and authenticated.

Figure 12-1 The Reference Monitor in a Network

12.1.2 Auditing in the Network

Security administrators can audit network activity by enabling specific event classes with the SET AUDIT command. Possible audits include:

  • Use of NCP commands. Each NCP command line is audited along with its completion status.
  • Use of privilege. In a network environment, much of this privilege use is related to the use of the OPER privilege in modifying the volatile network database.
  • Initiation and termination of connections. On VAX systems running DECnet for OpenVMS, each network connection results in four audits:
    1. The source node, which initiates the connection, logs the first event message.
    2. The target node, which receives the incoming initiation message, logs the second event.
    3. The third event message is logged by whichever node terminates the connection.
    4. The last event message is logged by the node where the link is terminated.
    With an incoming network connection, the auditing message has a remote user name field that identifies who initiated the connection. With outgoing logical link connections, the remote logical link identifier is always 0.

12.2 Hierarchy of Access Controls

Whenever a DECnet node attempts to connect to a remote DECnet node, it sends access control information to the remote node. Access control information can come from a number of sources. The following list shows the hierarchy of access control from highest to lowest priority:

  1. The network user on the local node can explicitly supply access control information. If this is the case, the remote node uses the access control information. See Section 12.2.1 for information about explicit access control.
  2. The local node checks to see if outgoing proxy access is enabled for a local node or an application. If proxy is enabled, the local node sends the initiating user name in the connect request. If proxy is also enabled on the remote node, the DECnet software determines if the initiating user has proxy access. See Section 12.2.2 and Section 12.3 for information about proxy access control.
  3. When the remote node sees that no access control has been specified and that no proxy is applicable, it checks the configuration database. If the database contains an application user name, it uses that name. See Section 12.2.3 and Section 12.4 for information about default application accounts.
  4. If there is no default application user name in its configuration database, the remote node checks the configuration database for default nonprivileged DECnet user name information. If the information is there, the remote node uses the default nonprivileged DECnet user name. See Section 12.4 for information about the default DECnet account.

Finally, if none of these sources supply the information, the connection fails.

12.2.1 Using Explicit Access Control

Users can execute a either a DCL or an NCP command on a remote node by supplying explicit access control information. The access control information contains a user name and password and provides access to a specific account on the remote system. To supply explicit access control information, you can use either a standard OpenVMS node specification or an NCP command:

  • In the OpenVMS node specification, the access control string consists of the user name for the remote account and the user's password enclosed within quotation marks:

    NODE"username password"::disk:[directory]file.typ

    In the following, user Puterman uses an access control string to copy the file BIONEWS.MEM:

  • If you want to execute an NCP command on a remote node, you can do so by specifying a user name and password. In the following example, you can display all characteristics information about the application MAIL on the remote node TORONTO:


12.2.2 Using Proxy Logins

A proxy login enables a user logged in at a remote node to be logged in automatically to a specific account at the local node, without having to supply any access control information. Note that a proxy login is not the same as an interactive login. A proxy login means that specific network access operations can be executed, such as a copy operation. By contrast, an interactive login requires a user to supply a user name and password before the user can perform any interactive operations.

To establish a proxy login on the local node, the remote user must have a default proxy account on the local node that maps to a local user name. The remote user assumes the same file access, rights, and privileges as the local user name. You can use the proxy login capability to increase security because it minimizes the need to specify explicit access control information in node specifications passed over the network or stored in command procedures.

Note that network applications can also be assigned proxy login access.

The use of access control strings is not permitted in an evaluated configuration. Proxy login accounts should be used in the evaluated configuration.

12.2.3 Using Default Application Accounts

Another form of access control specific to network applications is default account information used by inbound connects from remote nodes that send no access control information. Because the remote node supplies no access control information, the local node uses the default information you specify for the application to make the connection.

You can use the following command to store default access control information about the application in the network configuration database:


12.3 Proxy Access Control

Section 12.2.2 defines the concept of proxy logins. You can authorize proxy access when you encounter situations where users either on different nodes or in different groups want to share files on your system and you are reluctant to give out passwords or to set the directory and file protection to W:RWE. With proxy logins, there is no need to embed passwords in commands to copy a file across the network. There is also no need to allow world read access to a file for file transfers. The user enters the following form of the DCL command COPY to a default proxy account:

COPY remotenode::file-spec file-spec

To copy a file over the network using proxy access from an account other than the default, the user includes the name of the proxy account in the access control string of the DCL command, as follows:

COPY remotenode"proxyacct"::file-spec file-spec

12.3.1 Special Security Measures with Proxy Access

Proxy access is a selective merging of the authorization databases of the affected systems. Therefore, the security is only as good as the security of the least secure node.

Although proxy access eliminates passwords going over the network, it is possible for a personal computer to bypass the proxy login mechanism by impersonating one of the authorized nodes. For this reason, implement the following procedures:

  • Do not enable incoming proxy access to sensitive data.
  • Set up nonprivileged proxy accounts. If an account does need privilege, be sure those privileges cannot damage your system. (This practice provides a shield between systems in a network if one node is penetrated. The fact that proxy logins provide admittance only to nonprivileged accounts at other nodes may help contain the extent of damage if one system in the network is penetrated.) If your site has high security requirements, do not grant network or remote access to privileged user names.
  • Extend proxy access only to nodes that are always or almost always on the network. (It is easier for an intruder to impersonate a node when it is off the network.) You must create a balance between using proxies and having access control strings with passwords traveling over the network. A workstation or personal computer on the network that is capable of impersonating a node is also capable of monitoring network messages and thus capturing passwords. Ultimately, you must ensure that all nodes connected to your local network have some level of trustworthiness.
  • Exercise caution when authorizing users. Ideally, you should receive a formal authorization request from the security administrator at the remote site.
  • Examine any login command procedures for a proxy account. Make certain that they follow the recommendations in Section for login command procedures in captive accounts. Login command procedures should reside in a well-protected directory owned by a user other than the owner of the proxy account. They should prohibit write access for those who use the account.

12.3.2 Setting Up a Proxy Database

If a remote user's connection request does not contain access control information, the following conditions must be met for proxy access to be approved:

  • The proxy database on the target node must contain a source node's node synonym and source user name combination that matches the remote source node's node synonym and source user name. In Example 12-1, for example, the security administrator adds a proxy for KMahogany. KMahogany must access the proxy accoun from node Birch.
  • The target node's user authorization file must contain a source user name that matches the proxy database entry's target source user name. Example 12-1 assumes that the SYSUAF.DAT file on node Birch has a user authorization record for KMahogany.
  • Incoming proxy access must be enabled for the target node in the configuration database. See Section
  • Incoming proxy access must be enabled for the target application in the configuration database. See Section
  • Outgoing proxy must be enabled on the originating node for the node itself and for all applications that expect to use proxy.

You can control the use of proxy logins at the local node. Use AUTHORIZE to create and modify the permanent proxy database.

The default network proxy authorization file is NET$PROXY.DAT. However, AUTHORIZE maintains the file NETPROXY.DAT for compatibility, for support of many layered products, and for translation of DECnet for OpenVMS (Phase IV) node names.

Each network proxy entry can map a single remote user to multiple proxy user names on the local node (one default proxy user name and up to fifteen additional proxy user names). If you are going to have access to more than one proxy account from the same node and login name, indicate which proxy account should be the default. The proxy database entry identifies the user in the form of nodename::username or nodename::[group,member].

For example, to create a proxy file at a local node and add a default proxy entry mapping user Martin on remote node Boston to user Allen at the local node, enter the following commands:


Similarly, the system manager at a remote node can create and maintain a proxy database of network users having proxy access to specific accounts on that node. Table 12-1 summarizes AUTHORIZE commands used to manage the proxy database.

Table 12-1 AUTHORIZE Commands for Managing Network Proxy Access
Command Argument Description
ADD/PROXY node::remoteuser
Adds proxy access for the specified user.
CREATE/PROXY   Creates a network proxy authorization file.
LIST/PROXY   Creates a listing file of all proxy accounts and all remote users with proxy access to the accounts.
MODIFY/PROXY node::remoteuser Modifies proxy access for the specified user.
REMOVE/PROXY   Deletes proxy access for the specified user.
Displays proxy access allowed for the specified user. Enabling and Disabling Incoming Proxy Access

You can control proxy access to your node and to particular applications.

Controlling Proxy Access to a Node

To accept proxy connections to your node, set the incoming proxy attribute in the executor database in the following way:


To deny proxy connections to your node, set the outgoing proxy attribute in the following way:


If proxy access to the node is disabled, the system ignores any proxy connection request.

A comparable set of steps is necessary on the originating node so that proxy data is transmitted in the connect request message. Set proxy attributes for both the node and for all applications that expect to use proxy, for example:


In general, enabling outgoing proxy is a good idea, even if the target node does not enable proxy for the object, because enabling outgoing proxy puts the originating user name in the connect message. Thus the user name is available for accounting and audit logs on the target node. Be aware that a small number of DECnet applications depend on the nonproxy form of the connect message (for example, some use the connect message space for application information rather than user names) and do not function if outgoing proxy is enabled.

Controlling Proxy Access to an Application

To allow proxy access to a particular application, you must enable the proxy access for both the node and the application. In addition, specify the name of the application in the SET OBJECT command. For example, the following enables proxy access to the application NML:


To disable proxy access to an application, identify the application in the SET OBJECT command, and set the incoming proxy attribute to disable. For example, the following disables proxy access to the application FAL:


If incoming proxy is enabled for the application but the proxy access for the node is disabled, the system in effect ignores any proxy access request to the application.

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