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Rhel BootLoader, Single-user mode password & Interactive Boot in a Cloud environment

Posted on 2014-10-22
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Last Modified: 2014-11-10
We run cloud service & our vCenter is not accessible to our tenants
and their IT support; so I would say console access is not feasible
unless the tenant/customer IT come to our DC.

If the following 3 hardenings are done our tenant/customer RHEL
Linux VM,  what's the impact to the tenant's sysadmin & IT operation?


a) CIS 1.5.3 Set Boot Loader Password :
    if this password is set, when tenant reboot (shutdown -r)
    their VM each time, will it prompt for the bootloader
    password at console?  If so, is there any way the tenant,
    could still get their VM booted up if they have no access
    to vCenter's console?

b) CIS 1.5.4 Require Authentication for Single-User Mode :
    Does Linux allow ssh access while in single-user mode &
    can this 'single-user mode password' be entered via an
    ssh session (without access to console), assuming certain
    'terminal' service is started up / running while in single
    user mode

c) CIS 1.5.5 Disable Interactive Boot :
    what's the general consensus on this? Disable or enable?
    Our corporate hardening guide does not mention this item.
    So if the tenant wishes to boot up step by step (ie pausing
    at each startup script), they can't do it?

Feel free to add any other impacts that anyone can think of

Lastly, how do people out there grant console access to their
tenants in Cloud environment without security compromise
(I mean without granting vCenter access) : I heard that we can
customize vCenter in a modular way to grant limited access of
vCenter to  each tenants, is this so & any link that describes this?
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Question by:sunhux
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10 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 40396392
I'm also concerned that without console access, when a tenant shut down
their VM, how do they boot it up unless they get us (the Cloud provider's
sysadmin) to do the boot up for them from vCenter.  So how does the
cloud providers out there address this?
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LVL 123

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1840 total points
ID: 40396519
a. they will need to enter a password at the console.

b. yes, this could be done via SSL certificates.

c. How would they do this? they would need console access.

vCenter Access could be available to access their VMs with correct permissions.
0
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 40396799
> b. yes, this could be done via SSL certificates.
Can elaborate how this can be done?  So with SSL cert,
when booting to errorlevel 1, the tenant who has no
console access could still enter the password required
for single-user authentication via an ssh session?
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LVL 123
ID: 40396967
Actually it's the exchange of secure certificates, so you can login to SSH by having the machine certificate on your workstation, this make's it securer, because it's not relying on a password, e.g. jeyboard authentication, which is usually required for SSH.
0
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 40397390
So using this jeyboard authentication, we can boot the Linux
VM to single-user mode?

One last query:
> vCenter access cud be avail to tenants to access their
> VMs with correct permissions
Do you have any link that give such example settings/configuration/cases?
0
 
LVL 123

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1840 total points
ID: 40397771
Single User Mode has be defined as a Boot Parameter, they will need to have Console Access, not SSH.

Which vCenter version are you using?
0
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 40401047
I'm on 5.0 Update 1
0
 

Author Comment

by:sunhux
ID: 40401048
So can I say in general, the cloud service providers out there customize
their vCenter such that tenants have access to it?
0
 
LVL 123

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1840 total points
ID: 40401190
Most only give access via SSH, and do not give real console access.

Do you only have vCenter?
0
 
LVL 62

Assisted Solution

by:gheist
gheist earned 160 total points
ID: 40427163
vcenter is way too expensive and too clumsy to provision service to paying customers.
recently rackspace and amazon rebooted all virtual machines. do you think e.g. dropbox admins booted them entering passwords with fingers bleeding in the afternoon?
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