[PATCH v5 01/10] capabilities: introduce CAP_PERFMON to kernel and user space

Alexey Budankov alexey.budankov at linux.intel.com
Mon Jan 20 11:23:00 UTC 2020

Introduce CAP_PERFMON capability designed to secure system performance
monitoring and observability operations so that CAP_PERFMON would assist
CAP_SYS_ADMIN capability in its governing role for perf_events, i915_perf
and other performance monitoring and observability subsystems.

CAP_PERFMON intends to harden system security and integrity during system
performance monitoring and observability operations by decreasing attack
surface that is available to a CAP_SYS_ADMIN privileged process [1].
Providing access to system performance monitoring and observability
operations under CAP_PERFMON capability singly, without the rest of
CAP_SYS_ADMIN credentials, excludes chances to misuse the credentials and
makes operation more secure.

CAP_PERFMON intends to take over CAP_SYS_ADMIN credentials related to
system performance monitoring and observability operations and balance
amount of CAP_SYS_ADMIN credentials following the recommendations in the
capabilities man page [1] for CAP_SYS_ADMIN: "Note: this capability is
overloaded; see Notes to kernel developers, below."

Although the software running under CAP_PERFMON can not ensure avoidance
of related hardware issues, the software can still mitigate these issues
following the official embargoed hardware issues mitigation procedure [2].
The bugs in the software itself could be fixed following the standard
kernel development process [3] to maintain and harden security of system
performance monitoring and observability operations.

[1] http://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man7/capabilities.7.html
[2] https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/latest/process/embargoed-hardware-issues.html
[3] https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/latest/admin-guide/security-bugs.html

Signed-off-by: Alexey Budankov <alexey.budankov at linux.intel.com>
 include/linux/capability.h          | 12 ++++++++++++
 include/uapi/linux/capability.h     |  8 +++++++-
 security/selinux/include/classmap.h |  4 ++--
 3 files changed, 21 insertions(+), 3 deletions(-)

diff --git a/include/linux/capability.h b/include/linux/capability.h
index ecce0f43c73a..8784969d91e1 100644
--- a/include/linux/capability.h
+++ b/include/linux/capability.h
@@ -251,6 +251,18 @@ extern bool privileged_wrt_inode_uidgid(struct user_namespace *ns, const struct
 extern bool capable_wrt_inode_uidgid(const struct inode *inode, int cap);
 extern bool file_ns_capable(const struct file *file, struct user_namespace *ns, int cap);
 extern bool ptracer_capable(struct task_struct *tsk, struct user_namespace *ns);
+static inline bool perfmon_capable(void)
+	struct user_namespace *ns = &init_user_ns;
+	if (ns_capable_noaudit(ns, CAP_PERFMON))
+		return ns_capable(ns, CAP_PERFMON);
+	if (ns_capable_noaudit(ns, CAP_SYS_ADMIN))
+		return ns_capable(ns, CAP_SYS_ADMIN);
+	return false;
 /* audit system wants to get cap info from files as well */
 extern int get_vfs_caps_from_disk(const struct dentry *dentry, struct cpu_vfs_cap_data *cpu_caps);
diff --git a/include/uapi/linux/capability.h b/include/uapi/linux/capability.h
index 240fdb9a60f6..8b416e5f3afa 100644
--- a/include/uapi/linux/capability.h
+++ b/include/uapi/linux/capability.h
@@ -366,8 +366,14 @@ struct vfs_ns_cap_data {
 #define CAP_AUDIT_READ		37
+ * Allow system performance and observability privileged operations
+ * using perf_events, i915_perf and other kernel subsystems
+ */
+#define CAP_PERFMON		38
-#define CAP_LAST_CAP         CAP_AUDIT_READ
+#define CAP_LAST_CAP         CAP_PERFMON
 #define cap_valid(x) ((x) >= 0 && (x) <= CAP_LAST_CAP)
diff --git a/security/selinux/include/classmap.h b/security/selinux/include/classmap.h
index 7db24855e12d..c599b0c2b0e7 100644
--- a/security/selinux/include/classmap.h
+++ b/security/selinux/include/classmap.h
@@ -27,9 +27,9 @@
 	    "audit_control", "setfcap"
 #define COMMON_CAP2_PERMS  "mac_override", "mac_admin", "syslog", \
-		"wake_alarm", "block_suspend", "audit_read"
+		"wake_alarm", "block_suspend", "audit_read", "perfmon"
 #error New capability defined, please update COMMON_CAP2_PERMS.

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