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SubjectRe: [PATCH] ptrace: allow restriction of ptrace scope
Kees Cook <> writes:

> As Linux grows in popularity, it will become a larger target for
> malware. One particularly troubling weakness of the Linux process
> interfaces is that a single user is able to examine the memory and
> running state of any of their processes. For example, if one application
> (e.g. Pidgin) was compromised, it would be possible for an attacker to
> attach to other running processes (e.g. Firefox, SSH sessions, GPG agent,
> etc) to extract additional credentials and continue to expand the scope
> of their attack without resorting to user-assisted phishing.
> This is not a theoretical problem. SSH session hijacking
> ( and arbitrary code injection
> ( attacks already
> exist and remain possible if PTRACE is allowed to operate as before.
> PTRACE is not commonly used by non-developers and non-admins, so system
> builders should be allowed the option to disable this debugging system.
> For a solution, some applications use prctl(PR_SET_DUMPABLE, ...) to
> specifically disallow such PTRACE attachment (e.g. ssh-agent), but many
> do not. A more general solution is to only allow PTRACE directly from a
> parent to a child process (i.e. direct "gdb EXE" and "strace EXE" still
> work), or with CAP_SYS_PTRACE (i.e. "gdb --pid=PID", and "strace -p PID"
> still work as root).
> This patch is based on the patch in grsecurity. It includes a sysctl
> to enable the behavior via /proc/sys/kernel/ptrace_scope. This could
> be expanded in the future to further restrict PTRACE to, for example,
> only CAP_SYS_PTRACE (scope 2) or only init (scope 3).

This is ineffective. As an attacker after I gain access to a users
system on ubuntu I can wait around until a package gets an update,
and then run sudo and gain the power to do whatever I want.

Either that or I can inject something nasty into the suid pulse-audio.

I tell you what. If you really want something effective, help Serge
and I finish getting the cross namespace issues fixed for the user
namespace. When complete, it will possible for an unprivileged process
to create a new one, and since kernel capabilities along with everything
else will be local to it, running pidgin, or firefox, or another network
facing potentially buggy application in such a namespace will ensure that
even if the process is compromised it won't have privileges to ptrace another
process or do much else on the system.


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