Attempt Least Privilege for Unix

The vulnerability option profile includes a scan option that allows users to attempt least privileges required when using Unix authentication.

Go to VM/VMDR > Scans > Option Profiles. On the Scan tab, scroll down to the Authentication section. Enable Unix authentication, and then select Attempt least privilege for Unix (skip root delegation in Unix record)

Attempt least privilege option in option profile

When the option Attempt least privilege for Unix (skip root delegation in Unix record) is selected in the option profile, we will not pass root delegation information from Unix authentication records to the scanner during vulnerability scans, and thus the scanner will not perform checks with elevated root privileges that are not required. 

Purpose and Benefit

For compliance scans, in order to evaluate all compliance checks an account with superuser (root) privileges is required. Users have the option in the Unix authentication record to use root delegation tools (Sudo, Pimsu, PowerBroker) in order to provide a lower-privileged user account in the record and still perform scan tests with the elevated privileges of the superuser (root). 

For vulnerability scans, root level privileges are not mandatory. However, since the same authentication records are used for both compliance scans and vulnerability scans, root level privileges are being used for vulnerability scans when root delegation tools are selected in the Unix record. 

The principle of least privilege access is a security best practice where only the minimum account privileges required are used to perform an action. It’s for this reason that we introduced this scan option for vulnerability scans. When this option is used, we will not pass the root delegation information specified in the Unix record to the scanner for vulnerability scans. The lower privileged user account specified in the Unix record will be used. This option will not affect compliance scans.