[RFC PATCH] selinux: deprecate disabling SELinux and runtime

Paul Moore paul at paul-moore.com
Thu Dec 19 19:22:28 UTC 2019

Deprecate the CONFIG_SECURITY_SELINUX_DISABLE functionality.  The
code was originally developed to make it easier for Linux
distributions to support architectures where adding parameters to the
kernel command line was difficult.  Unfortunately, supporting runtime
disable meant we had to make some security trade-offs when it came to
the LSM hooks, as documented in the Kconfig help text:

  NOTE: selecting this option will disable the '__ro_after_init'
  kernel hardening feature for security hooks.   Please consider
  using the selinux=0 boot parameter instead of enabling this

Fortunately it looks as if that the original motivation for the
runtime disable functionality is gone, and Fedora/RHEL appears to be
the only major distribution enabling this capability at build time
so we are now taking steps to remove it entirely from the kernel.
The first step is to mark the functionality as deprecated and print
an error when it is used (what this patch is doing).  As Fedora/RHEL
makes progress in transitioning the distribution away from runtime
disable, we will introduce follow-up patches over several kernel
releases which will block for increasing periods of time when the
runtime disable is used.  Finally we will remove the option entirely
once we believe all users have moved to the kernel cmdline approach.

Signed-off-by: Paul Moore <paul at paul-moore.com>
 security/selinux/Kconfig     |    3 +++
 security/selinux/selinuxfs.c |    6 ++++++
 2 files changed, 9 insertions(+)

diff --git a/security/selinux/Kconfig b/security/selinux/Kconfig
index 996d35d950f7..580ac24c7aa1 100644
--- a/security/selinux/Kconfig
+++ b/security/selinux/Kconfig
@@ -42,6 +42,9 @@ config SECURITY_SELINUX_DISABLE
 	  using the selinux=0 boot parameter instead of enabling this
+	  WARNING: this option is deprecated and will be removed in a future
+	  kernel release.
 	  If you are unsure how to answer this question, answer N.
diff --git a/security/selinux/selinuxfs.c b/security/selinux/selinuxfs.c
index 278417e67b4c..adbe2dd35202 100644
--- a/security/selinux/selinuxfs.c
+++ b/security/selinux/selinuxfs.c
@@ -281,6 +281,12 @@ static ssize_t sel_write_disable(struct file *file, const char __user *buf,
 	int new_value;
 	int enforcing;
+	/* NOTE: we are now officially considering runtime disable as
+	 *       deprecated, and using it will become increasingly painful
+	 *       (e.g. sleeping/blocking) as we progress through future
+	 *       kernel releases until eventually it is removed */
+	pr_err("SELinux:  Runtime disable is deprecated, use selinux=0 on the kernel cmdline.\n");
 	if (count >= PAGE_SIZE)
 		return -ENOMEM;

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