What is SELinux? 20 Advantages of SELinux

What is SELinux?

What is SELinux

SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) is a Linux kernel security module that provides a security mechanism for supporting access control policies. It was developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a way to enhance the security of Linux systems.

SELinux provides mandatory access controls (MAC) in addition to the traditional discretionary access controls (DAC) that are implemented in the Linux kernel. DAC controls are based on the permissions assigned to files and directories, and they allow the owner of a file or directory to determine who has access to it. MAC controls, on the other hand, are based on the security context of a process and allow the system administrator to define more fine-grained access controls.

SELinux was introduced as a way to address the limitations of DAC and provide an additional layer of security to Linux systems. It is especially useful in environments where security is a high priority, such as in government, military, or financial organizations.

While you can use Linux without SELinux, it is generally considered a good idea to use it if your system requires a high level of security. If you do not need the additional security provided by SELinux, you can disable it or run Linux in permissive mode, which allows SELinux to enforce policies but does not block any actions that would violate those policies.

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Advantages of SELinux

Here are some benefits of using SELinux on your Linux systems:

  1. Enhanced security: SELinux provides an additional layer of security by enforcing mandatory access controls.
  2. Fine-grained control: SELinux allows you to define very specific access controls based on the security context of a process.
  3. Improved system integrity: SELinux can help prevent unauthorized changes to system files and configurations.
  4. Increased compliance: SELinux can help you meet regulatory requirements for security.
  5. Reduced vulnerabilities: SELinux can help reduce the risk of vulnerabilities in your system by restricting access to sensitive files and processes.
  6. Improved isolation: SELinux can help isolate different processes and prevent them from interfering with each other.
  7. Enhanced auditing: SELinux provides detailed logs of system activity, making it easier to audit and monitor your system.
  8. Improved system stability: SELinux can help prevent malicious or misbehaving processes from disrupting the system.
  9. Enhanced confidentiality: SELinux can help protect sensitive data from being accessed by unauthorized processes.
  10. Improved system availability: SELinux can help prevent denial of service attacks by limiting access to system resources.
  11. Enhanced resilience: SELinux can help prevent attackers from gaining a foothold on your system.
  12. Improved resource utilization: SELinux can help ensure that processes only have access to the resources they need, improving overall system performance.
  13. Enhanced separation of duties: SELinux can help enforce the separation of duties between different users and processes.
  14. Improved traceability: SELinux provides detailed logs of system activity, making it easier to trace the actions of processes.
  15. Enhanced system forensics: SELinux can provide valuable information for forensic investigations.
  16. Improved flexibility: SELinux can be customized to meet the specific security needs of your organization.
  17. Enhanced scalability: SELinux can be used on systems of any size, from small standalone systems to large enterprise environments.
  18. Improved interoperability: SELinux can be used with other security technologies to provide a comprehensive security solution.
  19. Enhanced reliability: SELinux can help prevent system failures and improve overall reliability.
  20. Improved usability: SELinux can be configured to allow users to perform their tasks while still enforcing strict security policies.

Alternatives of SELinux

SELinux is not alone that providing MAC-level security there are many other players in this category. Some alternative options to SELinux for implementing mandatory access controls on Linux systems include:

  • AppArmor: This is a security extension for the Linux kernel that allows you to specify access controls for programs. It is similar to SELinux in that it provides a way to enforce security policies, but it uses a different syntax and approach.
  • TOMOYO Linux: This is another security extension for the Linux kernel that provides MAC controls. It was developed in Japan and is used in a number of Linux distributions in Asia.
  • Grsecurity: This is a set of patches for the Linux kernel that includes a number of security features, including MAC controls. It is not a standalone security module like SELinux or AppArmor, but rather a collection of enhancements to the kernel.
  • Smack: This is a simple MAC system for Linux that is designed to be easy to use and understand. It is not as feature-rich as SELinux or AppArmor, but it can be a good choice for systems that do not require a high level of security.
  • GnuTLS: This is a library that provides support for secure communications, including support for X.509 certificates. It can be used as an alternative to SELinux for implementing secure communication channels on a Linux system.

There are many other security tools and frameworks available for Linux that can be used to enhance the security of your system.

Linux Distributions Provides SELinux

SELinux is not enabled by default on all of these distributions, but it is usually available as an option that can be enabled during installation or enabled later on. Some distributions, such as RHEL and CentOS, are designed with a focus on security and include SELinux as a key component of their security strategy. Other distributions may not prioritize security as highly but still offer SELinux as an optional security feature.


In this article, we get to know about what is SELinux and its advantages and alternatives. SELinus provides MAC-level security and if you need a security system then you must use it. We can consider other options al well. Hope you Like the article.

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