Normally, hosts inside a firewall has no IP-accessibility to the network outside of the firewall. This reduces the risk of being intruded by unauthorized people from the Internet. Unfortunately, without IP-accessibility users on the inside hosts can no longer use many of the important tools such as telnet, ftp, xgopher, Mosaic, etc. to access the tremendous resources available in the Internet.
With sockd installed on a server host, users on the other inside hosts can gain back the lost functionalities by using clients programs designed to work with sockd proxy server, e.g, rtelnet in place of telnet, rftp in place of ftp, rfinger in place of finger, etc. Since these client programs work like their normal counterparts without requiring direct IP-connectivity to the Internet, convenience to the users is accomplished without breaching the security. The server host that runs sockd does have to be open to the Internet, and it therefore requires special attention to make sure that it is secure.
A configuration file /etc/sockd.fc (or /etc/sockd.conf) is used to control access to sockd and its services. Permission and denial of a service request can be decided based on various combinations of the requesting host, the destination host, the type of service (destination port number), as well as the requesting user. (See sockd.conf(5) and sockd.fc(5).)
If the server host is multi-homed, i.e., having more than one network interface and with its IP_FORWARDING turned off, and the server support RBIND operation, then it must run a multi-homed version of sockd, which requires another control file /etc/sockd.fr (or /etc/sockd.route) to decide which interface to use for connection to any given destination host. See sockd.route(5) and sockd.fr(5). A multi-homed sockd can be run on a single-homed host as well if necessary; you just have to set up /etc/sockd.route to direct all traffic through the host's one and only network interface.
sockd uses syslog with facility daemon and level notice to log its activities and errors. Typical lines look like
Apr 11 08:51:29 eon sockd: connected -- Connect from don(don)@abc.edu to wxy.com (telnet) Apr 11 09:24:59 eon sockd: terminated -- Connect from don(don)@abc.edu to wxy.com (telnet) Apr 11 09:24:59 eon sockd: 1048 bytes from abc.edu, 285143 bytes from wxy.com Jun 22 18:24:54 eon sockd: refused -- Connect from sam(unknown)@big.com to small.com (ftp)
In these lines, the first user-id is the one reported by the client program, the second one (within the parentheses) is what is reported by identd on the client host. These log lines usually appear in file /var/adm/messages though that can be changed by modifying /etc/syslog.conf. (See syslogd(8) and syslog.conf(5).)
If you allow access to infosystems such as Gopher or WWW, you should be aware that they by nature would tend to get connections to hosts all over the world and would use not only Gopher and WWW ports but possibly also ports for finger, telnet, ftp, nntp, etc. as well as non-privileged ports ( > 1023).
For a stand-alone sockd, /etc/sockd.fc (or /etc/sockd.conf) and /etc/sockd.fr (or /etc/sockd.route), if required, are only read and parsed once at the beginning of program execution. If you change the contents of either file and want to make the running sockd use the new contents, you must send a SIGHUP signal to the running sockd process. Sending a running stand-alone sockd a SIGUSR1 signal causes it to record on the systems's log file the effective contents of configuration and route files that it is currently using. You can find the process id of the stand-alone sockd in /etc/sockd.pid.
Rather than using plain-text configuration file /etc/sockd.conf and route file /etc/sockd.route, sockd now looks for the corresponding frozen files /etc/sockd.fc and /etc/sockd.fr first. The plain-text files are used only if the corresponding frozen files are not found. Use commands make_sockdfc and make_sockdfr to produce the frosen files. Use commands dump_sockdfc and dump_sockdfr to examine the contents of frozen files. (See make_sockdfc(8), make_sockdfr(8), dump_sockdfc(8), and dump_sockdfr(8).) Using frozen configuration and route files can save a lot of overhead at start-up of sockd.
Log entries similar to the following are produced upon failure of user-id verification:
Apr 15 14:42:51 eon sockd: cannot connect to identd on big.edu Apr 15 14:42:51 eon sockd: refused -- Connect from bob(unknown)@big.edu to xyz.com (ftp) Jul 15 12:23:06 eon sockd: *Alert*: real user is sam, not jim Jul 15 12:23:06 eon sockd: refused -- Connect from jim(sam)@abc.org to bad.place.com (WWW)
David Koblas, email@example.com Ying-Da Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org David Mischel, email@example.com