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13 Restricting agent checks

Overview

It is possible to restrict checks on the agent side by creating an item blacklist, a whitelist, or a combination of whitelist/blacklist.

To do that use a combination of two agent configuration parameters:

  • AllowKey=<pattern> - which checks are allowed; <pattern> is specified using a wildcard (*) expression
  • DenyKey=<pattern> - which checks are denied; <pattern> is specified using a wildcard (*) expression

Note that:

  • All system.run[*] items (remote commands, scripts) are disabled by default, even when no deny keys are specified;
  • Since Zabbix 5.0.2 the EnableRemoteCommands agent parameter is:
   * deprecated by Zabbix agent
          * unsupported by Zabbix agent2

Therefore, to allow all remote commands, specify an AllowKey=system.run[*] parameter. To allow only some remote commands, create a whitelist of specific system.run[] commands. To disallow specific remote commands, add DenyKey parameters with system.run[] commands before the AllowKey=system.run[*] parameter.

Important rules

  • A whitelist without a deny rule is only allowed for system.run[*] items. For all other items, AllowKey parameters are not allowed without a DenyKey parameter; in this case Zabbix agent will not start with only AllowKey parameters.
  • The order matters. The specified parameters are checked one by one according to their appearance order in the configuration file:
    • As soon as an item key matches an allow/deny rule, the item is either allowed or denied; and rule checking stops. So if an item matches both an allow rule and a deny rule, the result will depend on which rule comes first.
    • The order affects also EnableRemoteCommands parameter (if used).
  • Unlimited numbers of AllowKey/DenyKey parameters is supported.
  • AllowKey, DenyKey rules do not affect HostnameItem, HostMetadataItem, HostInterfaceItem configuration parameters.
  • Key pattern is a wildcard expression where the wildcard (*) character matches any number of any characters in certain position. It might be used in both the key name and parameters.
  • If a specific item key is disallowed in the agent configuration, the item will be reported as unsupported (no hint is given as to the reason);
  • Zabbix agent with --print (-p) command line option will not show keys that are not allowed by configuration;
  • Zabbix agent with --test (-t) command line option will return "Unsupported item key." status for keys that are not allowed by configuration;
  • Denied remote commands will not be logged in the agent log (if LogRemoteCommands=1).

Use cases

Deny specific check
  • Blacklist a specific check with DenyKey parameter. Matching keys will be disallowed. All non-matching keys will be allowed, except system.run[] items.

For example:

# Deny secure data access
       DenyKey=vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,*]

A blacklist may not be a good choice, because a new Zabbix version may have new keys that are not explicitly restricted by the existing configuration. This could cause a security flaw.

Deny specific command, allow others
  • Blacklist a specific command with DenyKey parameter. Whitelist all other commands, with the AllowKey parameter.
# Disallow specific command
       DenyKey=system.run[ls -l /]
        
       # Allow other scripts
       AllowKey=system.run[*]
Allow specific check, deny others
  • Whitelist specific checks with AllowKey parameters, deny others with DenyKey=*

For example:

# Allow reading logs:
       AllowKey=vfs.file.*[/var/log/*]
       
       # Allow localtime checks
       AllowKey=system.localtime[*]
       
       # Deny all other keys
       DenyKey=*

Pattern examples

Pattern Description Matches No match
* Matches all possible keys with or without parameters. Any None
vfs.file.contents Matches vfs.file.contents without parameters. vfs.file.contents vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd]
vfs.file.contents[] Matches vfs.file.contents with empty parameters. vfs.file.contents[] vfs.file.contents
vfs.file.contents[*] Matches vfs.file.contents with any parameters; will not match vfs.file.contents without square brackets. vfs.file.contents[]
vfs.file.contents[/path/to/file]
vfs.file.contents
vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,*] Matches vfs.file.contents with first parameters matching /etc/passwd and all other parameters having any value (also empty). vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,]
vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,utf8]
vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd]
vfs.file.contents[/var/log/zabbix_server.log]
vfs.file.contents[]
vfs.file.contents[*passwd*] Matches vfs.file.contents with first parameter matching *passwd* and no other parameters. vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd] vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,]
vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd, utf8]
vfs.file.contents[*passwd*,*] Matches vfs.file.contents with only first parameter matching *passwd* and all following parameters having any value (also empty). vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,]
vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd, utf8]
vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd]
vfs.file.contents[/tmp/test]
vfs.file.contents[/var/log/zabbix_server.log,*,abc] Matches vfs.file.contents with first parameter matching /var/log/zabbix_server.log, third parameter matching 'abc' and any (also empty) second parameter. vfs.file.contents[/var/log/zabbix_server.log,,abc]
vfs.file.contents[/var/log/zabbix_server.log,utf8,abc]
vfs.file.contents[/var/log/zabbix_server.log,,abc,def]
vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,utf8] Matches vfs.file.contents with first parameter matching /etc/passwd, second parameter matching 'utf8' and no other arguments. vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,utf8] vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,]
vfs.file.contents[/etc/passwd,utf16]
vfs.file.* Matches any keys starting with vfs.file. without any parameters. vfs.file.contents
vfs.file.size
vfs.file.contents[]
vfs.file.size[/var/log/zabbix_server.log]
vfs.file.*[*] Matches any keys starting with vfs.file. with any parameters. vfs.file.size.bytes[]
vfs.file.size[/var/log/zabbix_server.log, utf8]
vfs.file.size.bytes
vfs.*.contents Matches any key starting with vfs. and ending with .contents without any parameters. vfs.mount.point.file.contents
vfs..contents
vfs.contents

system.run and AllowKey

A hypothetical script like 'myscript.sh' may be executed on a host via Zabbix agent in several ways:

1. As an item key in a passive or active check, for example:

  • system.run[myscript.sh]
  • system.run[myscript.sh,wait]
  • system.run[myscript.sh.nowait]

Here the user may add "wait", "nowait" or omit the 2nd argument to use its default value in system.run[].

2. As a global script (initiated by user in frontend or API).

A user configures this script in AdministrationScripts, sets "Execute on: Zabbix agent" and puts "myscript.sh" into the script's "Commands" input field. When invoked from frontend or API the Zabbix server sends to agent:

  • system.run[myscript.sh,wait] - up to Zabbix 5.0.4
  • system.run[myscript.sh] - since 5.0.5

Here the user does not control the "wait"/"nowait" parameters.

3. As a remote command from an action. The Zabbix server sends to agent:

  • system.run[myscript.sh,nowait]

Here again the user does not control the "wait"/"nowait" parameters.

What that means is if we set AllowKey like:

AllowKey=system.run[myscript.sh]

then

  • system.run[myscript.sh] - will be allowed
  • system.run[myscript.sh,wait], system.run[myscript.sh,nowait] will not be allowed - the script will not be run if invoked as a step of action

To allow all described variants you may add:

AllowKey=system.run[myscript.sh,*] 
       DenyKey=system.run[*]

to the agent/agent2 parameters.