restrict file transfer in rsync, scp, sftp?

Damien Miller djm at
Sun Nov 12 13:52:48 AEDT 2023

On Sat, 11 Nov 2023, Bob Proulx wrote:

> I am supporting a site that allows members to upload release files.  I
> have inherited this site which was previously existing.  The goal is
> to allow members to file transfer to and from their project area for
> release distribution but not to allow general shell access and not to
> allow access to other parts of the system.
> Currently rsync and old scp has been restricted using a restricted
> shell configuration.  But of course that does not limit sftp.  And of
> course sftp can be chrooted which would work okay for us.  Use the
> ForceCommand internal-sftp configuration to put the process in a
> chroot.  But then that configuration blocks rsync.
>     Match ... other stuff
>     Match ALL
>         ChrootDirectory /releases
>         ForceCommand internal-sftp
>         AllowTcpForwarding no
>         X11Forwarding no
> I have not been able to deduce a way to set up sftp-in-a-chroot *only*
> when sftp is requested and allow rsync when rsync is requested and
> allow rsync to work normally when rsync is requested.

You can do this using a custom setuid shell or forcecommand (it needs
to be setuid because chroot requires privileges). It can look at
the contents of $SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND and decide on whether to run
rsync or chroot then run sftp-server.

It is possible to do this without setuid, but the forcecommand would
need to live inside the ChrootDirectory along with everything else
sftp-server and rsync needs.

If you're on Linux, then maybe you could cook something up using
namespaces and bind mounts to simplify this.


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