TL;DR: In the Analytics team wants to add base firewall rules to stat100x and notebook100x hosts, that will cause any non-localhost or known traffic to be blocked by default. Please let us know in the task if this is a problem for you.

Hi everybody,

the Analytics team has always left the stat100x and notebook100x hosts without a set of base firewall rules to avoid impacting any research/test/etc.. activity on those hosts. This choice has a lot of downsides, one of the most problematic ones is that usually environments like the Python venvs can install potentially any package, and if the owner does not pay attention to security upgrades then we may have a security problem if the environment happens to bind to a network port and accept traffic from anywhere.

One of the biggest problems was Spark: when somebody launches a shell using Hadoop Yarn (--master yarn), a Driver component is created that needs to bind to a random port to be able to communicate with the workers created on the Hadoop cluster. We assumed that instructing Spark to use a predefined range of random ports was not possible, but in we discovered that there is a way (that seems to work fine from our tests). The other big use case that we know, Jupyter notebooks, seems to require only localhost traffic flow without restrictions.

Please let us know in the task if you have a use case that requires your environment to bind to a network port on stat100x or notebook100x and accept traffic from other hosts. For example, having a python app that binds to port 33000 on stat1007 and listens/accepts traffic from other stat or notebook hosts.

If we don't hear anything, we'll start adding base firewall rules to one host at the time during the upcoming weeks, tracking our work on the aforementioned task.


Luca (on behalf of the Analytics team)