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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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9.2.5 Restricting access to services

The Internet super-server, inetd, is started at boot time by /etc/rc2.d/S20inetd (for RUNLEVEL=2), which is a symlink to /etc/init.d/inetd. Essentially, inetd allows one running daemon to invoke several others, reducing load on the system.

Whenever a request for service arrives, its protocol and service are identified by looking them up in the databases in /etc/protocols and /etc/services. inetd then looks up a normal Internet service in the /etc/inetd.conf database, or a Sun-RPC based service in /etc/rpc.conf.

For system security, make sure to disable unused services in /etc/inetd.conf. Sun-RPC services need to be active for NFS and other RPC-based programs.

Sometimes, inetd does not start the intended server directly but starts the tcpd TCP/IP daemon wrapper program with the intended server name as its argument in /etc/inetd.conf. In this case, tcpd runs the appropriate server program after logging the request and doing some additional checks using /etc/hosts.deny and /etc/hosts.allow.

If you have problems with remote access in a recent Debian system, comment out "ALL: PARANOID" in /etc/hosts.deny if it exists.

For details, see inetd(8), inetd.conf(5), protocols(5), services(5), tcpd(8), hosts_access(5), and hosts_options(5).

For more information on Sun-RPC, see rpcinfo(8), portmap(8), and /usr/share/doc/portmap/portmapper.txt.gz.

Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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