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This is a simple utility for enumerating D-Bus endpoints, an nmap for D-Bus.

The problem with auditing D-Bus services is that while endpoint names and the policy for well-known name ownership is easily discoverable, it's less easy to enumerate the methods and properties they export.

Endpoints are expected to allow introspection (although unfortunately it's not enforced that the introspection be complete), but it's laborious and complicated to do this because it requires drilling-down through object path heirarchies.

This is a tool that automates that, and allows some simple filtering and probing. It is intended to help make D-Bus services more discoverable by system administrators and security researchers, analagous to the netstat or find / -perm -u+s you might currently use to probe your attack surface.


By default, dbus-map lists all the clients on the system bus and tries to map them to processes.

$ dbus-map
PID                 USER                                        NAME                             CMDLINE
-1               unknown                        org.freedesktop.DBus                                    
12975               root                      org.freedesktop.login1         /lib/systemd/systemd-logind
29264               root                 com.ubuntu.LanguageSelector                    /usr/bin/python3 /usr/lib/language-selector/ls-dbus-backend
29268               root                       com.ubuntu.USBCreator                    /usr/bin/python3 /usr/share/usb-creator/usb-creator-helper
4548                root                                com.hp.hplip                     /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/hp-pkservice
5634              colord                org.freedesktop.ColorManager              /usr/lib/colord/colord

The name will either be its well known name, or if it begins with ':' that's a unique name assigned by D-Bus. If a well-known name is unprotected and you have enabled probes (see below), a ! appears after the name. This means that you have permission to take over the name.

(Note: Unprotected is not necessarily bad, you might be an Active Administrator or it might be by design)

To dump all the exposed methods, use --dump-methods, it will print them prefixed with m:, followed by the instance and method name and then the object path.

$ dbus-map --dump-methods
PID             USER                                        NAME                             CMDLINE
-1           unknown                        org.freedesktop.DBus                                    
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.Hello /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.RequestName /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.ReleaseName /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.StartServiceByName /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.UpdateActivationEnvironment /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.NameHasOwner /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.ListNames /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.ListActivatableNames /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.AddMatch /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.RemoveMatch /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.GetNameOwner /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.ListQueuedOwners /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.GetConnectionUnixUser /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.GetConnectionUnixProcessID /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.GetAdtAuditSessionData /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.GetConnectionSELinuxSecurityContext /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.GetConnectionAppArmorSecurityContext /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.ReloadConfig /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.GetId /
    m:org.freedesktop.DBus.Introspectable.Introspect /
12975               root                      org.freedesktop.login1         /lib/systemd/systemd-logind
    m:org.freedesktop.login1.Manager.GetSession /org/freedesktop/login1
    m:org.freedesktop.login1.Manager.GetSessionByPID /org/freedesktop/login1
    m:org.freedesktop.login1.Manager.GetUser /org/freedesktop/login1
    m:org.freedesktop.login1.Manager.GetSeat /org/freedesktop/login1

There's no guarantee that an endpoint uses PolicyKit actions consistently or even correctly, so dbus-map can probe methods and properties to see what is permitted. It does this by setting properties to their current values and checking for an error.

For Methods, dbus-map calls them with invalid parameters and checks what error was returned. If the error indicates access was denied, it's assumed it's protected by a polkit action. If the call was rejected because of invalid parameters, it probably is not.

To probe methods use --enable-probes, and only properties and methods that dbus-map thinks you have access to will be displayed. However, be aware this might generate lots of polkit-agent activity (i.e. authentication prompts).

If you want, dbus-map can automatically cancel all authentication attempts, as if you had hit Escape. This is achieved by registering itself as it's own null authentication agent.

It is not currently possible for dbus-map to automate successful authentication, as that requires root (or invoking polkit-agent-helper-1). In future, it might be possible to authenticate once, and dbus-map will keep invoking polkit-agent-helper-1 for you, but this is not currently implemented.

$ dbus-map --dump-methods --enable-probes --null-agent

Now only methods that you can invoke should be listed. This also works with properties, which are prefixed with p:

$ dbus-map --dump-methods --dump-properties --enable-probes --null-agent

To call a method or set a property you have discovered, use the standard utility dbus-send.


The standard way of authenticating D-Bus methods is with PolicyKit actions. If you want to list all the PolicyKit actions available, you can use the standard tool pkaction.

$ pkaction 

This doesn't allow any sort of filtering though (for example, dump all actions permitted by inactive (remote) users without authentication), so I've added basic support for this.

This is currently very basic, e.g.

$ dbus-map --dump-actions=inactive=yes,any=yes
Action                                                           Any/Inactive/Active
org.freedesktop.login1.inhibit-handle-power-key                  No/Yes/Yes                   No/Yes/Yes
com.ubuntu.systemservice.getkeyboard                             No/Yes/Yes
com.canonical.indicator.sound.AccountsService.ModifyOwnUser      Yes/Yes/Yes

PolicyKit/D-Bus Glossary

A quick primer on PolicyKit/D-Bus terminology.

Term Description
Method Analagous to an RPC.
Well-Known Name D-Bus services might listen on a reserved name, analagous to a reserved tcp port.
Unique Name All clients have a unique name, similar to an ip address.
Action Name of a privilege that you may or may not be granted (like com.filesystem.mount)
Active If you are physically sitting at a console, then you are an Active user.
Inactive If you are remote (e.g. ssh), then you are inactive.
Administrator Defined by your distribution, but usually means group membership (e.g. adm or wheel).

You can find out if you are Active like this:

$ cat /proc/self/cgroup 

Then search for that session in /run/systemd

$ grep ACTIVE /run/systemd/sessions/c4

Build Requirements

  • libxml2
  • libprocps
  • libglib2

Build Instructions

Just run make, I think this is enough to install dependencies:


$ sudo apt-get install libxml2-dev libprocps-dev glib2.0-dev


$ sudo yum install procps-ng-devel libxml2-devel glib2-devel


This is a simple utility for enumerating D-Bus endpoints, an nmap for D-Bus.







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