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SubjectRe: TALPA - a threat model? well sorta.
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Helge Hafting wrote on 15/08/2008 11:07:48:

> It seems to me that this "scan on file open" business is the
> wrong way to do things - because it reduces performance.

It can never be free - what ever you do it has to happen some time and
that can and will clash with something else. So your reason why it is
wrong is a bit to simplistic.

> If you scan on file open, then your security sw is too late and
> getting in the way.
>
> It is better to scan in advance. Most machines has lots of idle time.
> Use that time to scan in advance, and mark the files as "clean".
>
> A "clean" file can be opened without further checking anytime - giving
> normal high performance. A file that gets written to becomes "dirty"
> until checked again. Some mechanism for making a clean copy of a
> clean file might help avoid excessive "dirtying".
>
> "Scan on open" might still be useful for cases when the system
> haven't kept up with writing, but please don't aim to have
> this be the _primary_ mode of scanning. A file server
> where most of the stuff is pre-scanned will likely perform much better
> than one scanning everything on open.

The first thing you have to make clear is whether in your vision inode
clean-dirty-unknown status is persistent or not? But in any case I think
you are making a problem where there isn't one, think about it a bit.

But the idea about the ability to make a clean copy is interesting. So we
would need a copy done without userspace intervention and preserving the
inode cache status alongside it. Maybe splice or tee could easily do it?
Although I am not sure how often copying would happen and whether this
would be such a gain.

--
Tvrtko A. Ursulin
Senior Software Engineer, Sophos

"Views and opinions expressed in this email are strictly those of the
author.
The contents has not been reviewed or approved by Sophos."


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