Setting up a completely insecure Samba share in Xubuntu

As mentioned in another post, I wanted to set up a completely insecure Samba share on my Xubuntu laptop home server to serve as the family file server. What follows is an account of how I stumbled onto something that appeared to more or less work. I really don't know a thing about Samba so I am sure this is riddled with mistakes and bad advice.

Private and guest (no password prompt) Samba shares with security=user

This sounded like a good approach to me, and it seemed to work with my Mac Mini and Windows XP boxes as clients, but when I tried to mount it on our Windows Vista laptop it kept prompting me for a user name and password and it wouldn't let me mount the share without it.

So I did some more googling and found this guide:

guide to setting up Samba so its wide open and no passwords are required.

In the end I took bits and pieces from both guides, mashed them into the default smb.conf file that comes with Xubuntu, then added some stuff I figured out along the way, and ended up with this as my final configuration in /etc/samba/smb.conf. I have edited out all the commented out options that bulk up the default smb.conf file.


# Change this to the workgroup/NT-domain name your Samba server will part of

# server string is the equivalent of the NT Description field
server string = %h server (Samba, Ubuntu)

# This will prevent nmbd to search for NetBIOS names through DNS.
dns proxy = no

# The specific set of interfaces / networks to bind to
# This can be either the interface name or an IP address/netmask;
# interface names are normally preferred
interfaces = eth0

# This tells Samba to use a separate log file for each machine
# that connects
log file = /var/log/samba/log.%m

# Cap the size of the individual log files (in KiB).
max log size = 1000

# We want Samba to log a minimum amount of information to syslog. Everything
# should go to /var/log/samba/log.{smbd,nmbd} instead. If you want to log
# through syslog you should set the following parameter to something higher.
syslog = 0

# Do something sensible when Samba crashes: mail the admin a backtrace
panic action = /usr/share/samba/panic-action %d

# "security = user" is always a good idea. This will require a Unix account
# in this server for every user accessing the server. See
# /usr/share/doc/samba-doc/htmldocs/Samba3-HOWTO/ServerType.html
# in the samba-doc package for details.
security = share

## You may wish to use password encryption. See the section on
# 'encrypt passwords' in the smb.conf(5) manpage before enabling.
encrypt passwords = true

# If you are using encrypted passwords, Samba will need to know what
# password database type you are using.
passdb backend = tdbsam

obey pam restrictions = yes

guest account = nobody
invalid users = root

# This boolean parameter controls whether Samba attempts to sync the Unix
# password with the SMB password when the encrypted SMB password in the
# passdb is changed.
unix password sync = yes

# For Unix password sync to work on a Debian GNU/Linux system, the following
# parameters must be set (thanks to Ian Kahan < for
# sending the correct chat script for the passwd program in Debian Sarge).
passwd program = /usr/bin/passwd %u
passwd chat = *Enter\snew\s*\spassword:* %n\n *Retype\snew\s*\spassword:* %n\n *password\supdated\ssuccessfully* .

# This boolean controls whether PAM will be used for password changes
# when requested by an SMB client instead of the program listed in
# 'passwd program'. The default is 'no'.
pam password change = yes

# This option controls how nsuccessful authentication attempts are mapped
# to anonymous connections
map to guest = bad user

# Most people will find that this option gives better performance.
# See smb.conf(5) and /usr/share/doc/samba-doc/htmldocs/Samba3-HOWTO/speed.html
# for details
# You may want to add the following on a Linux system:
socket options = TCP_NODELAY

# Allow users who've been granted usershare privileges to create
# public shares, not just authenticated ones
usershare allow guests = yes

comment = Public Share
# Path to directory
path = /media/truecrypt1
# Allow writing to share
read only = No
# Force connections as guests
guest only = Yes
guest ok = Yes
# Optionally, specify guest account here
guest account = nobody
# These two are optional
# Sets the umask for files/directories created on this share
force create mode = 777
force directory mode = 777

Then I restarted samba by running:

sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart

Once I had Samba up and running I had to untangle all the various Linux permissions issues. In the past I have run into weird issues where only the Owner of a file could do certain things, even though all permissions were set to allow all users to do anything, so out of an abundance of caution I just recursively changed the owner of the Truecrypt mount point to "nobody" and the group to "nogroup", which is the user that Samba uses under my smb.conf:

sudo chown nobody:nogroup /media/truecrypt1

I also gave everyone read-write permissions on the mount point:

sudo chmod -R a+rw /media/truecrypt1/

When I copied files over to the encrypted drive from within the filesystem (i.e. not through the Samba server) I was always careful to preface my commands with "sudo -u nobody" which means run the command as user nobody, which made sure all the files I copied over had the right owner. Another way to do this would have been to just copy the file and then do a recursive chown on the encrypted drive. Also, after I copied files over to the encrypted drive through the filesystem I ran this again to ensure that all the copied files had the permissions I wanted:

sudo chmod -R a+rw /media/truecrypt1/

When I did some test copies of files from remote machines over the Samba share I kept having problems with files not getting the right permissions. It turns out that Linux permissions are not inherited from the parent directory, but instead the permissions are determined by the umask system variable for all users. I think its possible to set a umask for each user (maybe). After a lot of research and some trial and error I learned that if these values are put in the share definition in /etc/samba/smb.conf:

force create mode = 777
force directory mode = 777

Then that tells Samba that all new files and directories have full read-write-execute permissions. In the long term I should probably go back and reconfigure all of the permissions settings, but at that point I just wanted to get it working in some fashion or another.


R said...

This is quite funny.

Andy is suggesting you to share a folder to anyone, including your Internet cafe neighbours. But the shared folder is not just any folder like Music or the like. The example happens to share a very special folder: "/media/truecrypt1".

If that folder exists and is not empty, it actually contains your real secrets. The ones for which you have gone to the trouble of installing and setting up TrueCrypt, and hopefully selecting a really long password to encrypt your TrueCrypt volume. Not even the NSA could get at your secrets. Unless you copy/paste Andy's example config, so that if he happens to be on the same network as you are, he can just copy all those very secret secrets to his own hard drive...

AndyfromTucson said...

At least someone is paying attention! I set up this Samba share on a computer that lives exclusively on my home network, so I wasn't concerned about internet cafe neighbors being able to see it.