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Can The Root User Access The Contents Of LXD Containers?

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#1 Guest_hollowface_*


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Posted 28 May 2016 - 08:51 PM

This post is inspired by the unanswered question: http://askubuntu.com/questions/778854/can-someone-with-root-access-enter-in-a-lxd-container-and-see-its-contents .


Can the root user access the contents of LXD containers? Yes! Root has access to everything, including the contents of all LXD containers.

Terminal Test Output:

example1@example:~$ lxc start "Ubuntu_14.04_X86-64_Container"
example1@example:~$ lxc exec "Ubuntu_14.04_X86-64_Container" -- /bin/bash
root@Ubuntu_14:~# echo "Testing 1 2 3" > /testfile
root@Ubuntu_14:~# exit
example1@example:~$ cat "/var/lib/lxd/containers/Ubuntu_14.04_X86-64_Container/rootfs/testfile"
Testing 1 2 3
example1@example:~$ su root -c "echo 'Testing v2 1 2 3' > '/var/lib/lxd/containers/Ubuntu_14.04_X86-64_Container/rootfs/testfile'"
example1@example:~$ lxc exec "Ubuntu_14.04_X86-64_Container" -- /bin/bash
root@Ubuntu_14:~# cat /testfile
Testing v2 1 2 3
root@Ubuntu_14:~# exit
example1@example:~$ lxc stop "Ubuntu_14.04_X86-64_Container"

In the above test we can see a file is created in the container, and then modified by the host root account. If this is undesirable one could use a virtual machine (VirtualBox, VMware Workstation Player, etc) rather than a virtual system (container). When the VM is offline, it's virtual disk could still be mounted, and contents
accessed that way, so it would be advisable to setup the guest OS with encrypted partitions (something I have no experience with).

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#2 technonymous


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Posted 30 May 2016 - 11:00 PM

Root can do anything. So you as the owner of the machine should be the only one that knows the root and superuser credentials. However, you as the root or superuser can give ownership of a file over to other users that are not part of the superuser group & chmod it 700 for them. However, can a user trust root?

Edited by technonymous, 30 May 2016 - 11:02 PM.

#3 mremski


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Posted 31 May 2016 - 02:42 AM

I don't know why this would come as a suprise to anyone.  Containers are designed to prevent a process running inside the container from accessing anything outside the container.  They are not designed to prevent outside the container  accessing container files, simply because the container files "live" on the real filesystem.  As said in #2 "root can do anything";  regarding containers,  more specifically "Host machine root can do anything it wants to containers".

FreeBSD since 3.3, only time I touch Windows is to fix my wife's computer

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