Quoting the security(7) man page: The kernel runs with five different security levels. Any super-user process can raise the level, but no process can lower it.
The security levels are:
- -1 Permanently insecure mode – always run the system in insecure mode. This is the default initial value.
- 0 Insecure mode – immutable and append-only flags may be turned off. All devices may be read or written subject to their permissions.
- 1 Secure mode – the system immutable and system append-only flags may not be turned off; disks for mounted file systems, /dev/mem and /dev/kmem may not be opened for writing; /dev/io (if your platform has it) may not be opened at all; kernel modules (see kld(4)) may not be loaded or unloaded.
- 2 Highly secure mode – same as secure mode, plus disks may not be opened for writing (except by mount(2)) whether mounted or not. This level precludes tampering with file systems by unmounting them, but also inhibits running newfs(8) while the system is multi- user. In addition, kernel time changes are restricted to less than or equal to one second. Attempts to change the time by more than this will log the message “Time adjustment clamped to +1 second”.
- 3 Network secure mode – same as highly secure mode, plus IP packet filter rules (see ipfw(8), ipfirewall(4) and pfctl(8)) cannot be changed and dummynet(4) or pf(4) configuration cannot be adjusted.