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Open port to Custom VM in Oracle Cloud

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English Oracle Cloud Security Tipps
rOger Eisenecher
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rOger Eisenecher
> 12 years leading and building a SOC for MSSP • > 20 years working in security • > 40 years working with IT • 100% tech nerd.
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Oracle is a nice cloud provider which provides some resources for free. That’s perfect if you want to experiment with some web services. But unfortunatly accessing them is not an easy task if you are a beginner in this environment. I will show you what you have to do to get access to your VM (beside of SSH).


For testing purposes I was looking for a free tier of Cloud services and found an offer from Oracle Cloud. Details available here:

Just register and you are ready to go. Creating a VM with an Oracle based image is super easy - I used Ubuntu 22.04. Then I installed a simple web service listening on port 80 and - surprise surprise - the service is not accessible from the internet 🤬.

Examine the issue

After some initial checks like is a service listening on desired port with ss -tlnp I assumed that Oracle has hardened the images with a firewall in place.

root@plnx-srv01:/home/ubuntu# ss -tlnp
State  Recv-Q Send-Q   Local Address:Port   Peer Address:Port Process                                                   
LISTEN 0      128               [::]:22             [::]:*     users:(("sshd",pid=663,fd=4))          

First hurdle

In Linux iptables is used for that job. To see if there are rules in place you just issue following command to save existing rules in a file:

root@plnx-srv01:/home/ubuntu# iptables-save > iptables-rules.txt

And guess - Yes, there where rules. By default Oracle is dropping mostly everything except SSH traffic. So I added an additional rule for my Web service which is listening on port 80. You have to edit file /etc/iptables/rules.v4 (gets automatically applied during boot):

# CLOUD_IMG: This file was created/modified by the Cloud Image build process
# iptables configuration for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

# See the Oracle-Provided Images section in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
# documentation for security impact of modifying or removing these rule

:OUTPUT ACCEPT [463:49013]
:InstanceServices - [0:0]
-A INPUT -p icmp -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p udp --sport 123 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m state --state NEW -m tcp --dport   22 -j ACCEPT

# My Custom Rule(s) - START
-A INPUT -p tcp -m state --state NEW -m tcp --dport   80 -j ACCEPT
# My Custom Rule(s) - END

-A INPUT -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited
-A FORWARD -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited
-A OUTPUT -d -j InstanceServices
-A InstanceServices -d -p tcp -m owner --uid-owner 0 -m tcp --dport 3260 -m comment --comment "See the Oracle-Provided Images section in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure documentation for security impact of modifying or removing this rule" -j ACCEPT
... (other rules left out for better readability)

Second hurdle

After a reboot the firewall rules are in place but still no connection to my web service was possible. I had to do a deeper troubleshooting session with tcpdump (has to be installed). With that tool I found out that no traffic reaches my VM (except SSH).

As many Cloud provider also Oracle provides Network Access Policies to VMs. They are called Ingress Rules and are defined on the Virtual cloud networks of the VM. There you have to add corresponding rules and only if they are defined traffic gets forwarded to your VM.

Navigate to this list by following this steps:

  • Go to Instances
  • Click on your VM, eg. instance-20230221-2132
  • Click in the “Instance information” view on your subnet, eg. subnet-20230221-2138
  • Now you see your “Security Lists”. Click on it, eg. Default Security List for vcn-20230221-2138

Finally you just have to add an new ingress rule by hitting on button Add Ingress Rules:

Definition of ingress rule for port 80/tcp.

As you can see the rule defines that the whole internet ( is allowed to access port 80 by TCP.

Tipp: You can specify multiple ports seperated with comma - the GUI will then create for each port a seperate rule, eg. fill in 80, 443 in the field Destination Port Range and the GUI will create two dedicated rules, one for port 80 and one for port 443.

After adding this rule you should see it in the list:

Security List with added rule for port 80/tcp.

Finally communication from the internet to your VM on port 80/tcp is now working!


To summarize here is the solution in two simple steps:

  1. Add firewall rule to local iptables definition in /etc/iptables/rules.v4
  2. Edit Ingress Rules for your VM

Now you should have connectivity! 🎉