(Slightly) Securing Wargame Servers

I was setting up some wargame boxes for a private group and wanted to reduce the risk of malfeasence/abuse from these boxes. One option, used by many public wargames, is locking down the firewall. While that’s a great start, I decided to go one step further and prevent directly logging in as the wargame users, requiring that the users of my private wargames have their own accounts.

Step 1: Setup the Private Accounts

This is pretty straightforward: create a group for these users that can SSH directly in, create their accounts, and setup their public keys.

1
2
3
4
5
# groupadd sshusers
# useradd -G sshusers matir
# su - matir
$ mkdir -p .ssh
$ echo 'AAA...' > .ssh/authorized_keys

Step 2: Configure PAM

This will setup PAM to define who can log in from where. Edit /etc/security/access.conf to look like this:

1
2
3
4
# /etc/security/access.conf
+ : (sshusers) : ALL
+ : ALL : 127.0.0.0/24
- : ALL : ALL

This allows sshusers to log in from anywhere, and everyone to log in locally. This way, users allowed via SSH log in, then port forward from their machine to the wargame server to connect as a level.

Edit /etc/pam.d/sshd to use this by uncommenting (or adding) a line:

1
account  required     pam_access.so nodefgroup

Step 3: Configure SSHD

Now we’ll configure SSHD to allow access as needed: passwords locally, keys only from remote hosts, and make sure we use pam. Ensure the following settings are set:

1
2
3
4
UsePAM yes

Match Host !127.0.0.0/24
  PasswordAuthentication no

Step 4: Test

Restart sshd and you should be able to connect remotely as any user in sshusers, but not any other user. You should also be able to port forward and check then connect with a username/password through the forwarded port.