Linux Disable Core Dumps

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Only software developers legitimately need to access core files and none of my production web server requires a core dump. How do I disable core dumps on Debian / CentOS / RHEL / Fedora Linux to save large amounts of disk space?

A core dump file is the memory image of an executable program when it was terminated by the operating system due to various error behavior.

Disable Core Dumps

To disable core dumps for all users, open /etc/security/limits.conf, enter:
# vi /etc/security/limits.conf
Make sure the following config directive exists:

* hard core 0

Save and close the file. Once a hard limit is set in /etc/security/limits.conf, the user cannot increase that limit within his own session. Add fs.suid_dumpable = 0 to /etc/sysctl.conf file:
# echo 'fs.suid_dumpable = 0' >> /etc/sysctl.conf
# sysctl -p

This will make sure that core dumps can never be made by setuid programs. Finally, add the following to /etc/profile to set a soft limit to stop the creation of core dump files for all users (which is default and must be disabled):
# echo 'ulimit -S -c 0 > /dev/null 2>&1' >> /etc/profile

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

8 comment

  1. I believe that the proper way is to have signal handling.
    This wauy you can report the problems and avoid core.
    Letting the system crash and ignoring cores will probably prevent fixing the problems.

  2. Hi,

    I know this is very old, but I thought I’d comment here for those who may see this thread in the future; On production servers, it is still good security practice to keep core dumps turned on. Someone attempted to exploit a service may cause a core dump (if they get something wrong), and this core can then be investigated to see whether this is the case.

  3. I followed the steps and all was fine for a while; I would just get a warning of a segmentation fault having happened, or such similar, instead of being told that a core dump was made …
    But now I started getting the core dumps again.
    ?? Obviously something changed …
    Thanks, Hearthstone.

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