Cuckoo Rooter

The Cuckoo Rooter is a new concept, providing root access for various commands to Cuckoo (which itself generally speaking runs as non-root). This command is currently only available for Ubuntu and Debian-like systems.

In particular, the rooter helps Cuckoo out with running network-related commands in order to provide per-analysis routing options. For more information on that, please refer to the Per-Analysis Network Routing document. Cuckoo and the rooter communicate through a UNIX socket for which the rooter makes sure that Cuckoo can reach it.

Its usage is as follows:

$ cuckoo rooter --help
Usage: cuckoo rooter [OPTIONS] [SOCKET]

  -g, --group TEXT  Unix socket group
  --service PATH    Path to service(8) for invoking OpenVPN
  --iptables PATH   Path to iptables(8)
  --ip PATH         Path to ip(8)
  --sudo            Request superuser privileges
  --help            Show this message and exit.

By default the rooter will default to chown‘ing the cuckoo user as user and group for the UNIX socket, as recommended when Installing Cuckoo. If you’re running Cuckoo under a user other than cuckoo, you will have to specify this to the rooter as follows:

$ sudo cuckoo rooter -g <user>

The other options are fairly straightforward - you can specify the paths to specific Linux commands. By default one shouldn’t have to do this though, as the rooter takes the default paths for the various utilities as per a default setup.


Due to the fact that the rooter must be run as root user, there are some slight complications when using a virtualenv to run Cuckoo. More specifically, when running sudo cuckoo rooter, the $VIRTUAL_ENV environment variable will not be passed along, due to which Python will not be executed from the same virtualenv as it would have been normally.

To resolve this one simply has to execute the cuckoo binary from the virtualenv session directly. E.g., if your virtualenv is located at ~/venv, then running the rooter command could be done as follows:

$ sudo ~/venv/bin/cuckoo rooter

Alternatively one may use the --sudo flag which will call sudo on the correct cuckoo binary with all the provided flags. In turn the user will have to enter his or her password and, assuming all is fine, the Cuckoo Rooter will be started properly, e.g.:

(venv)$ cuckoo rooter --sudo

Cuckoo Rooter Usage

Using the Cuckoo Rooter is actually pretty easy. If you know how to start it, you’re basically good to go. Even though Cuckoo talks with the Cuckoo Rooter for each analysis with a routing option other than None Routing, the Cuckoo Rooter does not keep any state or attach to any Cuckoo instance in particular.

It is therefore that once the Cuckoo Rooter has been started you may leave it be - the Cuckoo Rooter will take care of itself from that point onwards, no matter how often you restart your Cuckoo instance.