Ensure use of privileged commands are collected


Monitor privileged programs, those that have the setuid and/or setgid bit set on execution, to determine if unprivileged users are running these commands.


Execution of privileged commands by non-privileged users could be an indication of someone trying to gain unauthorized access to the system.


Both the audit and remediation section of this recommendation will traverse all mounted file systems that is not mounted with either noexec or nosuid mount options. If there are large file systems without these mount options, such traversal will be significantly detrimental to the performance of the system.

Before running either the audit or remediation section, inspect the output of the following command to determine exactly which file systems will be traversed:

# findmnt -n -l -k -it $(awk '/nodev/ { print $2 }' /proc/filesystems | paste -sd,) | grep -Pv 'noexec|nosuid'

To exclude a particular file system due to adverse performance impacts, update the audit and remediation sections by adding a sufficiently unique string to the grep statement. The above command can be used to test the modified exclusions.

NOTE: Nessus has provided the target output to assist in reviewing the benchmark to ensure target compliance.


Edit or create a file in the /etc/audit/rules.d/ directory, ending in .rules extension, with the relevant rules to monitor the use of privileged commands.

# {
UID_MIN=$(awk '/^s*UID_MIN/{print $2}' /etc/login.defs)
for PARTITION in $(findmnt -n -l -k -it $(awk '/nodev/ { print $2 }' /proc/filesystems | paste -sd,) | grep -Pv 'noexec|nosuid' | awk '{print $1}'); do
readarray -t DATA < <(find '${PARTITION}' -xdev -perm /6000 -type f | awk -v UID_MIN=${UID_MIN} '{print '-a always,exit -F path=' $1 ' -F perm=x -F auid>='UID_MIN' -F auid!=unset -k privileged' }')
for ENTRY in '${DATA[@]}'; do
readarray &> /dev/null -t OLD_DATA < '${AUDIT_RULE_FILE}'
printf '%s
' '${COMBINED_DATA[@]}' | sort -u > '${AUDIT_RULE_FILE}'

Merge and load the rules into active configuration:

# augenrules --load

Check if reboot is required.

# if [[ $(auditctl -s | grep 'enabled') =~ '2' ]]; then printf 'Reboot required to load rules
'; fi

Special mount points

If there are any special mount points that are not visible by default from just scanning /, change the PARTITION variable to the appropriate partition and re-run the remediation.

Additional Information:

Potential reboot required

If the auditing configuration is locked (-e 2), then augenrules will not warn in any way that rules could not be loaded into the running configuration. A system reboot will be required to load the rules into the running configuration.

System call structure

For performance (man 7 audit.rules) reasons it is preferable to have all the system calls on one line. However, your configuration may have them on one line each or some other combination. This is important to understand for both the auditing and remediation sections as the examples given are optimized for performance as per the man page.

NIST SP 800-53 Rev. 5:



See Also