[RFC][PATCH 00/13] Mount, FS, Block and Keyrings notifications [ver #4]

Casey Schaufler casey at schaufler-ca.com
Mon Jun 10 21:25:27 UTC 2019

On 6/10/2019 12:53 PM, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 10, 2019 at 12:34 PM Casey Schaufler <casey at schaufler-ca.com> wrote:
>>>>> I think you really need to give an example of a coherent policy that
>>>>> needs this.
>>>> I keep telling you, and you keep ignoring what I say.
>>>>>  As it stands, your analogy seems confusing.
>>>> It's pretty simple. I have given both the abstract
>>>> and examples.
>>> You gave the /dev/null example, which is inapplicable to this patchset.
>> That addressed an explicit objection, and pointed out
>> an exception to a generality you had asserted, which was
>> not true. It's also a red herring regarding the current
>> discussion.
> This argument is pointless.
> Please humor me and just give me an example.  If you think you have
> already done so, feel free to repeat yourself.  If you have no
> example, then please just say so.

To repeat the /dev/null example:

Process A and process B both open /dev/null.
A and B can write and read to their hearts content
to/from /dev/null without ever once communicating.
The mutual accessibility of /dev/null in no way implies that
A and B can communicate. If A can set a watch on /dev/null,
and B triggers an event, there still has to be an access
check on the delivery of the event because delivering an event
to A is not an action on /dev/null, but on A.

>>>>>  If someone
>>>>> changes the system clock, we don't restrict who is allowed to be
>>>>> notified (via, for example, TFD_TIMER_CANCEL_ON_SET) that the clock
>>>>> was changed based on who changed the clock.
>>>> That's right. The system clock is not an object that
>>>> unprivileged processes can modify. In fact, it is not
>>>> an object at all. If you care to look, you will see that
>>>> Smack does nothing with the clock.
>>> And this is different from the mount tree how?
>> The mount tree can be modified by unprivileged users.
>> If nothing that unprivileged users can do to the mount
>> tree can trigger a notification you are correct, the
>> mount tree is very like the system clock. Is that the
>> case?
> The mount tree can't be modified by unprivileged users, unless a
> privileged user very carefully configured it as such.

"Unless" means *is* possible. In which case access control is
required. I will admit to being less then expert on the extent
to which mounts can be done without privilege.

>   An unprivileged
> user can create a new userns and a new mount ns, but then they're
> modifying a whole different mount tree.

Within those namespaces you can still have multiple users,
constrained be system access control policy.

>>>>>  Similarly, if someone
>>>>> tries to receive a packet on a socket, we check whether they have the
>>>>> right to receive on that socket (from the endpoint in question) and,
>>>>> if the sender is local, whether the sender can send to that socket.
>>>>> We do not check whether the sender can send to the receiver.
>>>> Bzzzt! Smack sure does.
>>> This seems dubious. I’m still trying to get you to explain to a non-Smack person why this makes sense.
>> Process A sends a packet to process B.
>> If A has access to TopSecret data and B is not
>> allowed to see TopSecret data, the delivery should
>> be prevented. Is that nonsensical?
> It makes sense.  As I see it, the way that a sensible policy should do
> this is by making sure that there are no sockets, pipes, etc that
> Process A can write and that Process B can read.

You can't explain UDP controls without doing the access check
on packet delivery. The sendmsg() succeeds when the packet leaves
the sender. There doesn't even have to be a socket bound to the
port. The only opportunity you have for control is on packet
delivery, which is the only point at which you can have the
information required.

> If you really want to prevent a malicious process with TopSecret data
> from sending it to a different process, then you can't use Linux on
> x86 or ARM.  Maybe that will be fixed some day, but you're going to
> need to use an extremely tight sandbox to make this work.

I won't be commenting on that.

>>>>> The signal example is inapplicable.
>>>> From a modeling viewpoint the actions are identical.
>>> This seems incorrect to me
>> What would be correct then? Some convoluted combination
>> of system entities that aren't owned or controlled by
>> any mechanism?
> POSIX signal restrictions aren't there to prevent two processes from
> communicating.  They're there to prevent the sender from manipulating
> or crashing the receiver without appropriate privilege.

POSIX signal restrictions have a long history. In the P10031e/2c
debates both communication and manipulation where seriously
considered. I would say both are true.

>>>  and, I think, to most everyone else reading this.
>> That's quite the assertion. You may even be correct.
>>>  Can you explain?
>>> In SELinux-ese, when you write to a file, the subject is the writer and the object is the file.  When you send a signal to a process, the object is the target process.
>> YES!!!!!!!!!!!!
>> And when a process triggers a notification it is the subject
>> and the watching process is the object!
>> Subject == active entity
>> Object  == passive entity
>> Triggering an event is, like calling kill(), an action!
> And here is where I disagree with your interpretation.  Triggering an
> event is a side effect of writing to the file.  There are *two*
> security relevant actions, not one, and they are:
> First, the write:
> Subject == the writer
> Action == write
> Object == the file
> Then the event, which could be modeled in a couple of ways:
> Subject == the file

Files   are   not   subjects. They are passive entities.

> Action == notify
> Object == the recipient
> or
> Subject == the recipient
> Action == watch
> Object == the file
> By conflating these two actions into one, you've made the modeling
> very hard, and you start running into all these nasty questions like
> "who actually closed this open file"

No, I've made the code more difficult. You can not call
the file a subject. That is just wrong. It's not a valid

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