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Section: SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION (8) Updated: 31 août 2010
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uruk - wrapper for Linux iptables, for managing firewall rules

uruk uruk loads an rc file (see uruk-rc(5)) which defines network service access policy, and invokes iptables(8) to set up firewall rules implementing this policy. By default the file /etc/uruk/rc is used; one can overrule this by specifying another file in the URUK_CONFIG environment variable. Under some circumstances, it's useful to use another command for iptables; this can be achieved by setting the URUK_IPTABLES (and/or URUK_IP6TABLES) environment variables. See uruk-rc(5) for details. Uruk will not "just work" out of the box. It needs manual configuration. For those of you who don't like reading lots of documentation:

Once the uruk script is installed, you want to go use it, of course. We'll give a detailed description of what to do here.

First, create an rc file. See uruk-rc(5) for info on how to do this. Once this file is created and installed (this script looks in /etc/uruk/rc by default), you're ready to run uruk. You might want to test your rc file by running uruk in debug mode, see uruk-rc(5).

Vanilla iptables
After editing rc, load your rules like this. First flush your current rules:

Then enable your rc rules

. Inspect the rules by doing:

. If you want to make these changes survive a reboot, use the init script as shipped with this package. If you'd rather write your own init script, the iptables-restore(8) and iptables-save(8) commands from the iptables package might be helpful.

Using the Uruk init script
Assumed is the Uruk init script is installed as explained in the README file. Optionally, install /etc/default/uruk (or /etc/sysconfig/uruk) and tweak it. An example file is in /usr/share/doc/uruk/examples/default (You might like to enable support for IPv6 rules, or for uruk-save.) Now activate uruk by doing:

Now your pre-uruk iptables rules (if any) are saved as the "inactive" ruleset. While executing /etc/init.d/uruk start, your box is open during a short while. If you don't like this, read below about uruk-save.

When rebooting, everything will be fine: /etc/init.d/uruk stores state in /var/lib/uruk/iptables, using iptables-save(8), which comes with Linux iptables.

Using Debian ifupdown
In case you have just one network interface which should get protected, you could use interfaces(5) from the Debian ifupdown package instead of the init script. Suppose you'd like to protect ppp0, and would like not to interfere with traffic on eth0: your other network interface. First write an rc file. Be sure it features

Then run:


to your interfaces stanza, in your /etc/network/interfaces .

Similar tricks might be possible on GNU/Linux systems from other distributions. The author is interested. Need to change your rules?

Using the Uruk init script

While executing /etc/init.d/uruk force-reload, your box is open during a short while. If you don't like this, read below about uruk-save. The uruk script works like (and looks like) the list of statements below. Of course, take a look at /usr/sbin/uruk for the final word on the workings.

3m 3m 1 rc is sourced as a shell script
3m 3m 2 Traffic on $interfaces_unprotect (just lo per default) is trusted:

3m 3m 3 $rc_a is sourced as a shell script, or, in case $rc_a is a directory, all files matching $rc_a/*.rc are sourced as shell scripts
3m 3m 4 ESTABLISHED and RELATED packets are ACCEPT-ed:

3m 3m 5 $rc_b is sourced
3m 3m 6 $interfaces gets protected against spoofing: we don't allow anyone to spoof non-routeable addresses. We block outgoing packets that don't have our address as source: they are either spoofed or something is misconfigured (NAT disabled, for instance). We want to be nice and don't send out garbage.

We drop all incoming packets which don't have us as destination:

And we always allow outgoing connections:

3m 3m 7 $rc_c is sourced
3m 3m 8 Allow traffic to offered services, from trusted sources:

3m 3m 9 $rc_d is sourced
3m 3m 10 Don't answer broadcast and multicast packets:

3m 3m 11 $rc_f is sourced
3m 3m 12 Explicitly allow a subset of the ICMP types. (We disallow all other traffic later.)

3m 3m 13 $rc_g is sourced
3m 3m 14 Log packets (which make it till here)

3m 3m 15 $rc_h is sourced
3m 3m 16 Reject all other packets

3m 3m 17 $rc_i is sourced By default, uruk-save is not used by the uruk init script. You might want to use it, though. The uruk-save script is faster and when using uruk-save, your box won't be open while loading new rules. But beware: uruk-save is not as robust as using uruk itself. However, if you don't use any hooks in your rc file, you're save.

The init script will use uruk-save only if asked to do so in /etc/default/uruk (or /etc/sysconfig/uruk). If this file features

uruk-save is used whenever appropriate. The enable_uruk_save_warning variable controls whether a warning should get displayed whenever uruk-save is called. See uruk-save(8) for more details. By default, uruk drops packets which have unknown RFC 1918 private network addresses in their source or destination.

It rejects packets with source nor destination for one of our IPs.

Packets belonging to locally initiated sessions are allowed: we match state; the local host can act as a client for any remote service.

By default, uruk drops all ICMP packets (except those for interfaces in $interfaces_unprotect) with type other than

3m 3m • address-mask-reply
3m 3m • address-mask-request
3m 3m • destination-unreachable (this is a catch-all for a lot of types)
3m 3m • echo-request
3m 3m • echo-reply
3m 3m • parameter-problem (catch-all for ip-header-bad and required-option-missing)
3m 3m • timestamp-reply
3m 3m • timestamp-request
3m 3m • ttl-zero-during-transit
3m 3m • ttl-zero-during-reassembly

By default, the FORWARD chain is left untouched, so has policy ACCEPT. (This won't do much harm, since packet forwarding is disabled by default in the Linux kernel. However, if you don't mind being paranoid, you might want to add a

to your $rc_a uruk hook. See uruk-rc(5).)

By default, uruk logs all UDP and TCP packets which are blocked by the user defined policies. Loglevel is debug, logprefix is "iptables:". See also the notes on loglevel in uruk-rc(5).

Blocked TCP packets are answered with a tcp-reset. In order to keep the uruk script small and simple, the script does very little error handling. It does not check the contents of the rc file in any way before executing it. When your rc file contains bogus stuff, uruk will very likely behave in unexpected ways. Caveat emptor. You can override some defaults in the shell before executing the uruk script. uruk honors the following variables:

3m 3m • "URUK_CONFIG" Full pathname of rc file; /etc/uruk/rc by default.
3m 3m • "URUK_IPTABLES" Full pathname of iptables executable. /sbin/iptables by default. Overrides iptables.
3m 3m • "URUK_IP6TABLES" Full pathname of ip6tables executable, for IPv6 support. Overrides ip6tables.
3m 3m • "URUK_INTERFACES_UNPROTECT" Default list of unprotected interfaces. Overrides interfaces_unprotect. The default default is lo. uruk-rc(5), uruk-save(8). The Uruk homepage is at .

iptables(8), iptables-save(8), iptables-restore(8), ip6tables(8), ip6tables-save(8), ip6tables-restore(8),

interfaces(5), Copyright (C) 2003 Stichting LogReport Foundation; Copyright (C) 2003, 2004 Tilburg University; Copyright (C) 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010 Joost van Baal

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see Joost van Baal <>

This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 22:02:35 GMT, April 16, 2011