Applies to openSUSE Leap 42.2

18 Introducing AppArmor

Many security vulnerabilities result from bugs in trusted programs. A trusted program runs with privileges that attackers want to possess. The program fails to keep that trust if there is a bug in the program that allows the attacker to acquire said privilege.

AppArmor® is an application security solution designed specifically to apply privilege confinement to suspect programs. AppArmor allows the administrator to specify the domain of activities the program can perform by developing a security profile. A security profile is a listing of files that the program may access and the operations the program may perform. AppArmor secures applications by enforcing good application behavior without relying on attack signatures, so it can prevent attacks even if previously unknown vulnerabilities are being exploited.

18.1 AppArmor Components

AppArmor consists of:

  • A library of AppArmor profiles for common Linux* applications, describing what files the program needs to access.

  • A library of AppArmor profile foundation classes (profile building blocks) needed for common application activities, such as DNS lookup and user authentication.

  • A tool suite for developing and enhancing AppArmor profiles, so that you can change the existing profiles to suit your needs and create new profiles for your own local and custom applications.

  • Several specially modified applications that are AppArmor enabled to provide enhanced security in the form of unique subprocess confinement (including Apache).

  • The AppArmor-related kernel code and associated control scripts to enforce AppArmor policies on your openSUSE® Leap system.

18.2 Background Information on AppArmor Profiling

For more information about the science and security of AppArmor, refer to the following papers:

SubDomain: Parsimonious Server Security by Crispin Cowan, Steve Beattie, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Calton Pu, Perry Wagle, and Virgil Gligor

Describes the initial design and implementation of AppArmor. Published in the proceedings of the USENIX LISA Conference, December 2000, New Orleans, LA. This paper is now out of date, describing syntax and features that are different from the current AppArmor product. This paper should be used only for background, and not for technical documentation.

Defcon Capture the Flag: Defending Vulnerable Code from Intense Attack by Crispin Cowan, Seth Arnold, Steve Beattie, Chris Wright, and John Viega

A good guide to strategic and tactical use of AppArmor to solve severe security problems in a very short period of time. Published in the Proceedings of the DARPA Information Survivability Conference and Expo (DISCEX III), April 2003, Washington, DC.

AppArmor for Geeks by Seth Arnold

This document tries to convey a better understanding of the technical details of AppArmor. It is available at

Print this page