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SubjectRe: [malware-list] TALPA - a threat model? well sorta.
On Thu, 14 Aug 2008, tvrtko.ursulin@sophos.com wrote:

> Eric Paris wrote on 13/08/2008 19:57:44:
>
>>> It's clear from the protection model that you described that on 'read'
>>> you want to wait until the scan is done before you give the data to
> the
>>> process asking for it... and that's totally reasonable: "Do not give
>>> out bad data" is a very clear line in terms of security.
>>>
>>> for the "dirty" case it gets muddy. You clearly want to scan "some
>>> time" after the write, from the principle of getting rid of malware
>>> that's on the disk, but it's unclear if this HAS to be synchronous.
>>> (obviously, synchronous behavior hurts performance bigtime so lets do
>>> as little as we can of that without hurting the protection).
>>> One advantage of doing the dirty case async (and a little time
> delayed)
>>> is that repeated writes will get lumped up into one scan in practice,
>>> saving a ton of performance.
>>> (scan-on-close is just another way of implementing "delay the dirty
>>> scan").
>>> Based on Alans comments, to me this sounds like we should have an
>>> efficient mechanism to notify userspace of "dirty events"; this is not
>>> virus scan specific in any way or form. And this mechanism likely will
>>> need to allow multiple subscribers.
>>
>> I'm certainly willing to go down the inotify'ish path for async
>> notification of 'dirty' inodes instead of implement my own async
>> mechanism if I can find a way to do it.
>
> Do I understand correctly that everyone agrees scanning whenever an inode
> gets dirty would be a terrible thing for performance?
>
> Another thing we have here is that malware could not be neccessariliy
> identified until the very last write (one example where it will always be
> the case are PDF files (I think)).
>
> So the whole question is at which point should be performing an async
> scan. Close seems like a natural point which should be ideal for majority
> of applications, I don't see how any time-based lumping/delaying scheme
> can be better than close?

all you need is the ability to mark a file as 'dirty', and some way for
programs that are interested in dirty files learning about it later and
decideing to do a scan. if the file gets dirtied again after they do they
scan they will need to do another one (this is a classic trade-off between
the 'security' of looking for things quickly or 'efficiancy' of only
looking when you don't think they will change again. in other words,
policy -> userspace)

David Lang


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