Run API Gateway on privileged ports

Grant the required privileges to API Gateway processes running as non-root to listen on privileged ports.

4 minute read

API Gateway is run as a non-root user to prevent any potential security issues with running as the root user. This topic describes the steps you must perform to grant the required privileges to API Gateway processes to use privileged ports while running as non-root.

Privileged ports are those below 1024. These steps are not required if API Gateway only needs to use ports numbered 1024 and above.

Before you begin

The examples in this topic are for a non-root user named admin and for an API Gateway installation at /opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway. If you have a different non-root user name or installation location, you must modify the examples accordingly.

Security considerations

When privileges have been granted to the vshell binary, it is best to ensure that it can only be executed by its ownership (or a specific system group).

To remove execution rights from all other users on the system, run this command:

# chmod og-x /opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway/platform/bin/vshell

Set API Gateway file ownership to non-root user

The ownership of API Gateway files must be set to the non-root user. You can change the user and group ownership of all files under API Gateway installation directory, for example:

# chown -R admin:admin /opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway

SSL accelerators for HSM

When using a Hardware Security Module (HSM), the non-root user must have access to the device corresponding to the cryptographic accelerator or HSM card. For HSMs such as Cavium and Ultimaco, this means that you must have access to the following directories:

  • Cavium: /dev/pkp_nle_drv
  • Ultimaco: /dev/cs2a

For example, when using Cavium, an admin user using /dev/pkp_nle_drv should have the following permissions:

crw-rw-r-- 1 root admin 126, 0 /dev/pkp_nle_dev

Patch vshell binary with static search paths

When you enable processes running as non-root to listen on privileged ports using setcap (see Enable API Gateway processes to listen on privileged ports), certain environment variables are disabled as a security precaution. For this reason, you must make the locations of API Gateway library files available to the operating system.

Use patchelf to patch the vshell binary with the absolute paths of the API Gateway library files. For example, run the following command:

$ patchelf --force-rpath --set-rpath \
"$VDISTDIR/platform/jre/lib/amd64/server:$VDISTDIR/platform/jre/lib/amd64:$VDISTDIR/platform/jre/lib/amd64/jli:$VDISTDIR/platform/lib/engines:$VDISTDIR/platform/lib:$VDISTDIR/ext/lib" \

Alternatively you can use chrpath, for example:

$ chrpath -r \
"$VDISTDIR/platform/jre/lib/amd64/server:$VDISTDIR/platform/jre/lib/amd64:$VDISTDIR/platform/jre/lib/amd64/jli:$VDISTDIR/platform/lib/engines:$VDISTDIR/platform/lib:$VDISTDIR/ext/lib" \

The examples use $VDISTDIR to refer to the absolute path where API Gateway is installed. You must set $VDISTDIR or modify the example before using it on your own environment. For example, to set VDISTDIR to your gateway installation directory:

export VDISTDIR=/opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway

patchelf is a development and administration tool, and is not installed on systems by default. If you do not wish to install extra tools on your production environment, you can patch the vshell binary on another non-production system and move it to the production environment.

Add API Gateway library paths to jvm.xml

You also need to add API Gateway library paths to jvm.xml. To modify your jvm.xml file, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the system/conf/jvm.xml file in your gateway installation.

  2. Near the top of the file, insert a new line after the following line:

    <JVMSettings classloader="com.vordel.boot.ServiceClassLoader">
  3. Enter the following:

    <VMArg name="-Djava.library.path=$VDISTDIR/$DISTRIBUTION/jre/lib/amd64/server:$VDISTDIR/$DISTRIBUTION/jre/lib/amd64:$VDISTDIR/$DISTRIBUTION/lib/engines:$VDISTDIR/ext/$DISTRIBUTION/lib:$VDISTDIR/ext/lib:$VDISTDIR/$DISTRIBUTION/jre/lib:$VDISTDIR/system/lib:$VDISTDIR/$DISTRIBUTION/lib"/>

Enable API Gateway processes to listen on privileged ports

Use the setcap command to enable processes running as non-root to listen on privileged ports. In this case, you must set the CAP_NET_BIND capability on the vshell binary, which enables the following processes to listen on privileged ports:

  • API Gateway instance
  • Admin Node Manager
  • API Gateway Analytics

Using setcap to set this capability is supported from kernel 2.6.24 onwards. If the kernel version is before 2.6.33, you must enable CONFIG_SECURITY_FILE_CAPABILITIES.

To set the capability on the vshell binary, run the following command:

sudo setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' /opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway/platform/bin/vshell

To verify that the permission has been set, run the following command:

getcap /opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway/platform/bin/vshell
/opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway/platform/bin/vshell = cap_net_bind_service+ep

If you ever need to remove the permission, run the following command:

sudo setcap -r /opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway/platform/bin/vshell

See also Remove privileges when updating.

Restart API Gateway

Start API Gateway as the non-root user. For more information on starting API Gateway, see Start and stop the API Gateway.

Remove privileges when updating the software

Before performing an upgrade, applying a service pack, installing an update, or uninstalling the product, you must first temporarily remove the setcap privileges. Run this command:

sudo setcap -r /opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway/platform/bin/vshell

After an update, run setcap again to restore the privileges:

sudo setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' /opt/Axway-7.7/apigateway/platform/bin/vshell

Last modified July 31, 2020: Update command (#1018) (5aed085c)