Over this Ocata cycle I have been working on the automation of security hardening in the TripleO OpenStack Installer and various openstack puppet-modules. The desired outcome of this work is to assist operators meet the various compliance standards that exist in the private and public sectors of IT security, using an automated approach.

This blog post will be a round up of the patches merged into Ocata. I will try to follow up soon with a post on plans to the next cycle of Pike.

Note that this is not an exhaustive list of all hardening checks within OpenStack and Linux, the following are patches to amend values not already set “out of the box” as part of a overcloud deployment.


Various values have been set to the secure default in Horizon.

Enforce Password Check

By setting ENFORCE_PASSWORD_CHECK to True within Horizons local_settings.py, it displays an ‘Admin Password’ field on the “Change Password” form to verify that it is the admin logged-in that wants to perform the password change, and not an opportunist who has found their workstation unlocked.

The ENFORCE_PASSWORD_CHECK value can now be toggled via puppet as seen in the following commit to puppet-horizon.

Within TripleO Heat templates, we populate the hiera data fed to puppet-horizon with the True boolean, as seen in this patch.

By utlising TripleO Heat templates, it then becomes possible to toggle this value to false (should someone have a reason to do that) using an enviroment file and passing in a value of horizon::enforce_password_check: false

Disallow Iframe Embed

DISALLOW_IFRAME_EMBED can be used to prevent Horizon from being embedded within an iframe. Legacy browsers are still vulnerable to a Cross-Frame Scripting (XFS) vulnerability, so this option allows extra security hardening where iframes are not used in deployment

In much the same way as with the previous patch, the value is now manageable in puppet-horizon with a secure default set within TripleO with horizon::disallow_iframe_embed: true

Disable Password Reveal

In much the same vain as with enforce_password_check and disallow_iframe_embed, this patch allows the disable_password_reveal value to be toggled via TripleO

Password Validation

Horizon provides a password validation check, which OpenStack cloud operators can use to enforce password complexity checks for users within horizon.

A dictionary containing a regular expression can be used for password validation with help text that is displayed if the password does not pass validation.

This is harnessed using a regex field in Horizons local_settings.py:

HORIZON_CONFIG["password_validator"] = {
   "regex": '.*', ]
      "help_text": _("Your password does not meet the requirements."),

It is now possible to inject your own password validation regex via a heat template enviroment file using the following patches in puppet-horizon and tripleo

An enviroment file can be passed to openstack overcloud deploy --templates -e passsword_validation.yaml


  HorizonPasswordValidator: '^.{8,18}$'
  HorizonPasswordValidatorHelp: 'Password must be between 8 and 18 characters.'

Secure Proxy SSL Header Option

SECURE_PROXY_SSL_HEADER is used to tell Horizon (Django( to take into account the X-Forwarded-Proto header. It is disabled by default as it should only be enabled if one is running horizon behind a proxy.

This can now be toggled in puppet-horizon and is set as true as the default in tripleo-heat-templates

  • Note that the SECURE_PROXY_SSL_HEADER patch was part of the TLS Everywhere work driven by Juan Antonio Osorio

OS Based Changes

/etc/issue Banner

An SSH /etc/issue Banner can be set using the following fields in an enviroment file from patches in puppet-tripleo and tripleo-heat-templates

  OS::TripleO::Services::Sshd: ../puppet/services/sshd.yaml

  BannerText: |
    * This system is for the use of authorized users only. Usage of  *
    * this system may be monitored and recorded by system personnel. *
    * Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring *
    * and is advised that if such monitoring reveals possible        *
    * evidence of criminal activity, system personnel may provide    *
    * the evidence from such monitoring to law enforcement officials.*

Audit entries:

Having a system capable of recording all audit events is key for troubleshooting and peforming analysis of events that led to a certain outcome. Red Hat Enterprise Linux already has a complete audit system which is capable of logging many events such as someone changing the system time, changes to Mandatory / Discretionary Access Control.

All audit rule entries can now be managed via puppet-tripleo mapped to a yaml tripleo-heat-template-template file.

Rules can be entered as follows, and injected into /etc/audit/audit.rules. The auditd service will also be verified as runnning.

    'watch for changes to opasswd file':
      content: '-w /etc/security/opasswd -p wa -k audit_rules_usergroup_modification'
      order  : 1
    'watch for changes to issue file':
      content: '-w /etc/issue -p wa -k audit_rules_networkconfig_modification'
      order  : 2

A full example of audit rules that can be set using Tripleo can be found here

Pike work items

Pike will include changes sufficient enough to provide full DISA STIG compliance.

It is then expected that full security Hardening will be available through the use of a single environment file, for example:

openstack overcloud deploy --templates -e disa-stig-compliance.yaml

CADF Managament

Configure openstack services to emit audit events using CADF

Further Horizon security

Configurable values for CSRF_COOKIE_SECURE and further Horizon values.

Kernel Parameter Hardening

Various sysctl values will be manageable via tripleo-heat-templates, including values for Restricting Access to Kernel Message Buffer, Disable ICMP Redirects and Disable KDump Kernel Crash Analyzer (kdump).

pam.d management

Values to Limit Password Reuse, Set Lockout Time For Failed Password Attempts, Set Password Minimum Length, and other attributes such as Minimum Digits, Minimum number of consecutive characters, retry prompts per session.

Install and Manage AIDE

AIDE (Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment) available to nodes, along with the option to build an itegrity database and configuration of a periodic execution of AIDE integrity verification.


Currently overcloud images contain a single flat partition. Ongoing work in Ironic and Disc Image Builder will make it possible implement to allow layouts such as /var/log/audit /tmp as seperate volumes in heat template formatting.

FIPS Kernel

A full FIPS Compliant Kernel as a deploy option.

Restrict Dynamic Mounting and Unmounting of Filesystems

  • Disable Modprobe Loading of USB Storage Driver
  • Disable Kernel Support for USB via Bootloader Configuration
  • Disable Booting from USB Devices in Boot Firmware

Disable Core Dumps

Disable Core Dumps for SUID programs

Enable ExecShield

Enable Randomized Layout of Virtual Address Space.

Kernel Message Buffer

Restrict Access to Kernel Message Buffer

SSH Changes

  • Allow Only SSH Protocol 2
  • Disable GSSAPI Authentication
  • Disable Kerberos Authentication
  • Enable Use of StictModes
  • Enable Use of Privilege Separation
  • Disable Compression Or Set Compression to delayed
  • Set SSH Idle Timeout Interval
  • Set SSH Client Alive Count
  • Disable SSH Support for .rhosts Files
  • Disable Host-Based Authentication
  • Enable Encrypted X11 Fordwarding
  • Disable SSH Root Login
  • Disable SSH Access via Empty Passwords
  • Do Not Allow SSH Environment Options
  • Use Only Approved Ciphers
  • Use Only FIPS Approved MACs

This is not a final list, and additions may be made as the work proceeds, but it provides a decent overview of changes