FreeBSD 4.x: Safe to unmount the proc filesystem??

Posted on 2001-09-03
Last Modified: 2010-04-21
This question relates to patching a security hole in FREEBSD 4.1 as advised in the advisory below.

My question is:  
Is it safe to unmount the proc filesystem on a production server ?
Can this be used as a permanent workaround ?
Please advice...
procfs vulnerability leaks set[ug]id process memory

IV. Workaround

To work around the problem, perform the following steps as root:

Unmount all instances of the procfs and linprocfs filesystems using
the unmount(8) command:

# umount -f -a -t procfs
# umount -f -a -t linprocfs

Disable the automatic mounting of all instances of procfs in /etc/fstab:
remove or comment out the line(s) of the following form:

proc /proc procfs rw 0 0
proc /compat/linux/proc linprocfs rw 0 0
Question by:thiamwah
  • 4
  • 3
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 6452924
As long as you aren't using Linux compatibility mode, then yes it probably should be safe. But you may loose access to some tools that use procfs and information represented there. I don't know that I'd consider that to be a permanent solution. A better long term solution would be to upgrade to a later version (say 4.3 STABLE).

Author Comment

ID: 6455734
hi jlevie,

I see many directories created by nobody (apache user)
and other users on a daily basis. Please advice.

--- ls -al sampling of /proc ---

dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42958
dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42959
dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42960
dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42961
dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42962
dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42963
dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42964
dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42965
dr-xr-xr-x  15 nobody  nogroup   512 Sep  5 13:44 42966
dr-xr-xr-x  15 root    wheel     512 Sep  5 13:44 43632
dr-xr-xr-x  15 root    wheel     512 Sep  5 13:44 455
dr-xr-xr-x  15 root    wheel     512 Sep  5 13:44 5
dr-xr-xr-x  15 root    wheel     512 Sep  5 13:44 64075
dr-xr-xr-x  15 root    wheel     512 Sep  5 13:44 64077
dr-xr-xr-x  15 root    wheel     512 Sep  5 13:44 66237
dr-xr-xr-x  15 root    wheel     512 Sep  5 13:44 66370


Author Comment

ID: 6455788
hi jlevie,

I need your expertise in FreeBSD.. :)
can you also look at my other related question at

Netscaler Common Configuration How To guides

If you use NetScaler you will want to see these guides. The NetScaler How To Guides show administrators how to get NetScaler up and configured by providing instructions for common scenarios and some not so common ones.

LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 6456917
Those represent process information for active processes on the system. It's normal to see them being created and removed as processes start and exit. And that's the problem with unmounting procfs. And tool that needs to access the process information won't work if it can't get to procfs.

The best solution is, as stated above, to upgrade the system to a version that doesn't have the vulnerability. I'd have to check to be certain, but I think that this vulnerability may have been closed by one of the updates to 4.1. If that's the case then you could cvsup your sources for 4.1 to STABLE and re-build the system with 'make world'
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 6456947
Nope, never mind about the 4.1 STABLE branch. I don't see any evidence that the fix has been applied there.

Author Comment

ID: 6462985
hi jlevie,

I am a bit paranoid about having to CVSUp the whole source and recompiling them because I tried on a Pentium Celeron with 64 MB ram, and it tooks hours to even download the whole source. And I read comments that it will take another 3.5 hours to recompile the sources. YIKES! :)

Compiling kernels is OK to me but compiling the whole source tree.. !

My production machines are all DELL Dual Pentium 3 CPUs with 512 MB RAM. I wonder how would they fare ? How do I minimize the chances that anything would go wrong inn your experience of cvsuping sources on a prod machine?

Are they any links in your recommendation that I can refer to for this topic? Pls advice!

Thanks a million
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

jlevie earned 100 total points
ID: 6469214
Cvsup'ing the source tree can take quite a while, depending on how fast your Internet link is and how busy the cvs site that you use is. When I'm going to cvsup a system I check connectivity to each of the sites and try the one with the lowest ping RTT. Usually that will be the site that I'll get the best response from. Assming all of your boxes are all "reachable" from each other, you can use one box to to do the cvsup and the compiles. The result can then be installed on the other boxes. The way I do that is to NFS export /usr/src, /usr/obj, & /usr/ports and mount those volumes on the other boxes.

Yeah doing a 'make buildworld' on a 64Mb system will be on the slow side. Doing so on one of you dual processor boxes should be pretty quick as they have a decent about of ram. The advantage of building everything is, of course, that you get all of the updates for all the important stuff. It doesn't update a lot of the userland utilities (X, KDE/Gnome, etc.) that come from the eports collection. But after updating the OS and the ports collection you can pretty easily update anything from the ports collection.

Featured Post

Master Your Team's Linux and Cloud Stack!

The average business loses $13.5M per year to ineffective training (per 1,000 employees). Keep ahead of the competition and combine in-person quality with online cost and flexibility by training with Linux Academy.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

In tuning file systems on the Solaris Operating System, changing some parameters of a file system usually destroys the data on it. For instance, changing the cache segment block size in the volume of a T3 requires that you delete the existing volu…
Installing FreeBSD… FreeBSD is a darling of an operating system. The stability and usability make it a clear choice for servers and desktops (for the cunning). Savvy?  The Ports collection makes available every popular FOSS application and packag…
Learn several ways to interact with files and get file information from the bash shell. ls lists the contents of a directory: Using the -a flag displays hidden files: Using the -l flag formats the output in a long list: The file command gives us mor…
Learn how to navigate the file tree with the shell. Use pwd to print the current working directory: Use ls to list a directory's contents: Use cd to change to a new directory: Use wildcards instead of typing out long directory names: Use ../ to move…

777 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question