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libcap 2


POSIX 1003.1e capabilities (utilities)


Library for getting and setting POSIX.1e capabilities


Libcap utility programs


capsh - capability shell wrapper


capsh [OPTION]...


Linux capability support and use can be explored and constrained with this tool. This tool provides a handy wrapper for certain types of capability testing and environment creation. It also provides some debugging features useful for summarizing capability state.


The tool takes a number of optional arguments, acting on them in the order they are provided. They are as follows:
--help Display the list of commands supported by capsh.
--print Display prevailing capability and related state.
-- [args] Execute /bin/bash with trailing arguments. Note, you can use -c ’command to execute’ for specific commands.
== Execute capsh again with remaining arguments. Useful for testing exec() behavior.
--caps=cap-set Set the prevailing process capabilities to those specified by cap-set. Where cap-set is a text-representation of capability state as per cap_from_text(3).
--drop=cap-list Remove the listed capabilities from the prevailing bounding set. The capabilites are a comma separated list of capabilities as recognized by the cap_from_name(3) function. Use of this feature requires that the capsh program is operating with CAP_SETPCAP in its effective set.
--inh=cap-list Set the inheritable set of capabilities for the current process to equal those provided in the comma separated list. For this action to succeed, the prevailing process should already have each of these capabilities in the union of the current inheritable and permitted capability sets, or the capsh program is operating with CAP_SETPCAP in its effective set.
--user=username Assume the identity of the named user. That is, look up the user’s uid and gid with getpwuid(3) and their group memberships with getgrouplist(3) and set them all using cap_setuid(3) and cap_setgroups(3). Following this command, the effective capabilities will be cleared, but the permitted set will not be so the running program is still privileged.
--modes Lists all of the libcap modes supported by --mode.
--mode=<mode> Force the program into a cap_set_mode(3) security mode. This is a set of securebits and prevailing capability arrangement recommended for its pre-determined security stance.
--inmode=<mode> Confirm that the prevailing mode is so named, or exit with a status 1.
--uid=id Force all uid values to equal id using the setuid(2) system call. This argument may require explicit preparation of the effective set.
--cap-uid=<uid> use the cap_setuid(3) function to set the uid of the current process. This performs all prepations for setting the uid without dropping capabilities in the process. Following this command the prevailing effective capabilities will be lowered.
--is-uid=<id> Exit with status 1 unless the current uid equals <id>.
--gid=<id> Force all gid values to equal id using the setgid(2) system call.
--is-gid=<id> Exit with status 1 unless the current gid equals <id>.
--groups=<gid-list> Set the supplementary groups to the numerical list provided. The groups are set with the setgroups(2) system call. See --user for a more convenient way of doing this.
--keep=<0|1> In a non-pure capability mode, the kernel provides liberal privilege to the super-user. However, it is normally the case that when the super-user changes uid to some lesser user, then capabilities are dropped. For these situations, the kernel can permit the process to retain its capabilities after a setuid(2) system call. This feature is known as keep-caps support. The way to activate it using this program is with this argument. Setting the value to 1 will cause keep-caps to be active. Setting it to 0 will cause keep-caps to deactivate for the current process. In all cases, keep-caps is deactivated when an exec() is performed. See --secbits for ways to disable this feature.
--secbits=N Set the security-bits for the program, this is via prctl(2), PR_SET_SECUREBITS API, and the list of supported bits and their meaning can be found in the <sys/secbits.h> header file. The program will list these bits via the --print command.
--chroot=path Execute the chroot(2) system call with the new root-directory (/) equal to path. This operation requires CAP_SYS_CHROOT to be in effect.
--forkfor=sec This command causes the program to fork a child process for so many seconds. The child will sleep that long and then exit with status 0. The purpose of this command is to support exploring the way processes are killable in the face of capability changes. See the --killit command. Only one fork can be active at a time.
--killit=sig This commands causes a --forkfor child to be kill(2)d with the specified signal. The command then waits for the child to exit. If the exit status does not match the signal being used to kill it, the capsh program exits with status 1.
--decode=N This is a convenience feature. If you look at /proc/1/status there are some capability related fields of the following form:
CapInh: 0000000000000000
CapPrm: ffffffffffffffff
CapEff: fffffffffffffeff
CapBnd: ffffffffffffffff
This option provides a quick way to decode a capability vector represented in this form. For example, the missing capability from this effective set is 0x0100. By running:
capsh --decode=0x0100
we observe that the missing capability is: cap_setpcap.
--supports=xxx As the kernel evolves, more capabilities are added. This option can be used to verify the existence of a capability on the system. For example, --supports=cap_syslog will cause capsh to promptly exit with a status of 1 when run on kernel 2.6.27. However, when run on kernel 2.6.38 it will silently succeed.
--has-p=xxx Exit with status 1 unless the permitted vector has capability xxx raised.
--has-ambient Performs a check to see if the running kernel supports ambient capabilities. If not, the capsh command exits with status 1.
--has-a=xxx Exit with status 1 unless the ambient vector has capability xxx raised.
--addamb=xxx Adds the specificed ambient capability to the running process.
--delamb=xxx Removes the specified ambient capability from the running process.
--noamb Drops all ambient capabilities from the running process.


Following successful execution the tool exits with status 0. Following an error, the tool immediately exits with status 1.


Written by Andrew G. Morgan <>.


Please report bugs via:;list_id=1047723&product=Tools&resolution=---
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