[PATCH 3/5] exec: Remove recursion from search_binary_handler

Casey Schaufler casey at schaufler-ca.com
Thu May 14 16:56:43 UTC 2020

On 5/14/2020 7:56 AM, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
> Kees Cook <keescook at chromium.org> writes:
>> On Tue, May 12, 2020 at 04:47:14PM -0700, Kees Cook wrote:
>>> And now I wonder if qemu actually uses the resulting AT_EXECFD ...
>> It does, though I'm not sure if this is to support crossing mount points,
>> dropping privileges, or something else, since it does fall back to just
>> trying to open the file.
>>     execfd = qemu_getauxval(AT_EXECFD);
>>     if (execfd == 0) {
>>         execfd = open(filename, O_RDONLY);
>>         if (execfd < 0) {
>>             printf("Error while loading %s: %s\n", filename, strerror(errno));
>>             _exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
>>         }
>>     }
> My hunch is that the fallback exists from a time when the kernel did not
> implement AT_EXECFD, or so that qemu can run on kernels that don't
> implement AT_EXECFD.  It doesn't really matter unless the executable is
> suid, or otherwise changes privileges.
> I looked into this a bit to remind myself why exec works the way it
> works, with changing privileges.
> The classic attack is pointing a symlink at a #! script that is suid or
> otherwise changes privileges.  The kernel will open the script and set
> the privileges, read the interpreter from the first line, and proceed to
> exec the interpreter.  The interpreter will then open the script using
> the pathname supplied by the kernel.  The name of the symlink.
> Before the interpreter reopens the script the attack would replace
> the symlink with a script that does something else, but gets to run
> with the privileges of the script.
> Defending against that time of check vs time of use attack is why
> bprm_fill_uid, and cap_bprm_set_creds use the credentials derived from
> the interpreter instead of the credentials derived from the script.
> The other defense is to replace the pathname of the executable that the
> intepreter will open with /dev/fd/N.
> All of this predates Linux entirely.  I do remember this was fixed at
> some point in Linux but I don't remember the details.  I can just read
> the solution that was picked in the code.
> All of this makes me wonder how are the LSMs protected against this
> attack.
> Let's see the following LSMS implement brpm_set_creds:
> tomoyo   - Abuses bprm_set_creds to call tomoyo_load_policy [ safe ]
> smack    - Requires CAP_MAC_ADMIN to smack setxattrs        [ vulnerable? ]
>            Uses those xattrs in smack_bprm_set_creds

What is the concern? If the xattrs change after the check,
the behavior should still be consistent. 

> apparmor - Everything is based on names so the symlink      [ safe? ]
>            attack won't work as it has the wrong name.
>            As long as the trusted names can't be renamed
>            apparmor appears good.
> selinux  - Appears to let anyone set selinux xattrs         [ safe? ]
>            Requires permission for a sid transfer
>            As the attack appears not to allow anything that
>            would not be allowed anyway it looks like selinux
>            is safe.
> LSM folks, especially Casey am I reading this correctly?  Did I
> correctly infer how your LSMs deal with the time of check to time of use
> attack on the script name?
> Eric

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