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How to hide processes from other users in Linux’s “top”

A few months ago, I had to set up a server where a bunch of people would need to connect to directly access a MariaDB SQL database, with also an SSH access for tunneling. A few users would also use that server for other purposes, and I didn’t want everyone to view everyone else’s processes, which to my surprise was possible by default (if any user runs top, they can see everyone’s running processes :s).

Starting with Linux kernel version 3.2, a setting was (finally) added to prevent unprivileged users from seeing each others’ processes. Basically, you need to set the hidepid option to 2 for the /proc filesystem:

nano /etc/fstab
– Find the line starting with “proc”
– Add hidepid=2 to the options

For instance, the line:

proc            /proc   proc    defaults      0       0


proc            /proc   proc    defaults,hidepid=2      0       0

Then don’t forget to save and restart

Note that sometimes the proc line can be missing (I have this case on a VPS), I’m not sure what should be done then… Maybe adding the proc line as quoted above would work (?)

Update (2018-09-10)

I just had the case of the missing proc line in a recent install of Kubuntu 18.04 on a new PC (which used UUID= as a way to name devices in there), and adding the proc line, as mentioned in this old Red Hat ticket, did work. Here’s my full /etc/fstab file, for illustration purpose:

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# / was on /dev/sda2 during installation
UUID=7d74ab46-7af7-4f19-8063-89cb86870a83 /               ext4    errors=remoun$
# /boot/efi was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=DB49-AA98  /boot/efi       vfat    umask=0077      0       1
/swapfile                                 none            swap    sw           $
proc            /proc   proc    defaults,hidepid=2      0       0

Posted in Linux, servers.

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