Linux has always been a very stable and trustworthy operating system - even more so in comparison with it's closed-source alternatives. Driven by closed source vendors' questionable license policies, security risks, bugs and vendor-lock, more and more IT-managers choose the Linux alternative. Linux also has a good reputation -- as have other Unices -- when it comes to security. That may or may not be due to the blatant lack of proper security in other "operating systems". However, your data is arguably not safe on a standard Linux system. Linux is susceptible to security breaches, malware and programming bugs too.
Hence, a number of workarounds and extensions have been written. One of the most popular (and in my not so humble opinion one of the most elegant and stable ones) is Rule Set Based Access Control. I have been working with RSBAC since 1999 and have been impressed by what Amon wrote ever since. However, the lack of a good cookbook for it struck me as one of the major hurdles on the road to its acceptance. For I am convinced that it deserves such broad acceptance given its qualities.
So, we set out to write such a cookbook. And here it is. It still is a work in progress, and unless the nature of security related work suddenly changes probably will be so indefinitely. The authors wanted to create a useful book that would guide you through the seemingly awkward process of understanding, installing and maintaining RSBAC. This first version of our book originated from various materials, amongst them the introduction to RSBAC written by Stanislav Ievlev, the original documentation written by the author of RSBAC, Amon Ott, and a sequel of four articles I wrote for the Dutch Linux Magazine. We had to write many additional chapters from scratch and many hours were spent researching and trying actual security configurations. We finally made it.
It is up to you to judge our efforts, and, hopefully, improve our work. To quote the laudated Dr David A. Lien, author of the excellent (1977) TRS80 Level I BASIC beginners manual: "Sit back, relax, read slowly as though savoring a good novel, and above all, let your imagination wander. I'll supply you with all the routine facts and techniques you need. The real enjoyment begins when your imagination start the creative juices flowing and a computer becomes a tool in your own hands. You become its master - not the other way around.".
To the many people we unintentionally forgot to give credit where due, from the bottom of our hearts: we thank you.
Henk Klöpping, December 2002