How To: Remove AppArmor From Ubuntu

In today’s article, we’re going to learn how to remove AppArmor from Ubuntu. This will work for other distros, like Debian. It’s actually not a very difficult task to remove AppArmor from Ubuntu, but it’s not something you necessarily want to do. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…

As many of you know, I write many of these articles based on the notes I’ve taken over the years. I’m a little reluctant to write this one, because removing AppArmor is probably not the best of choices.

AppArmor is similar to the various jails and application isolation techniques. It’s a security tool that restricts applications to a constrained set of resources. If the application is then compromised, it only has access to that set of resources and not to the whole system.

In other words, unless you know what you’re doing, you almost certainly don’t want to remove AppArmor from Ubuntu. In fact, if you don’t know what you’re doing then doing this is almost certainly a ‘not-bright’ choice.

If you’re going to remove AppArmor, you should consider replacing it with something else. SELinux is an option that’s similar, though I suppose you could use something like Firejail and be prepared to craft your own application profiles.

Again, removing AppArmor from Ubuntu (or whatever distro you’re using that has it) is probably not a good idea. I include the article because the information is already out there and because some folks may just decide to operate their system without such protections. This is Linux, you have the freedom to make bad choices. This isn’t even the first time I’ve shown you how to make bad choices.

Remove AppArmor From Ubuntu:

Like oh so many of these articles, you’re gonna need an open terminal. Just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. (I say that a whole lot on this site.)

We should first check to ensure AppArmor exists and is running. To do so, enter the following command:

What you’re looking for is several lines into the output. You’re looking for ‘apparmor module is loaded‘. If you see that, AppArmor both exists and is running. So, the next step in removing AppArmor is to stop the service. You do that with:

In case AppArmor is somehow installed again, we’ll make sure that it won’t start at boot by disabling the service entirely. That seems like a good idea.

Finally, we nuke AppArmor from existence with a purge command:

And that should do it. You probably want to reboot, just to make sure there are no tendrils sticking around – but stopping the service first should mean you don’t need to. Either way, you have now removed AppArmor from your system – assuming you followed the directions.

Closure:

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, don’t do this unless you know what you’re doing and unless you have something to replace AppArmor with. It’s really a bad idea and you’ll gain very little. I wouldn’t even do this with a system air-gapped from the network, unless I had a very good reason to do so.

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