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SubjectRe: [PATCH 2/2] x86-64: seccomp: fix 32/64 syscall hole
Hi!

> >> Ptrace has performance and/or reliability problems when used to
> >> sandbox threaded applications due to potential race conditions when
> >> inspecting system call arguments. We hope that we can avoid this
> >> problem with seccomp.
> >
> >ptrace certainly has performance issues. I take it the only "reliability
> >problems" you are talking about are MT races with modifications to user
> >memory that is relevant to a system call. (Is there something else?)
>
> As of 1999, I believe there were some other issues for using ptrace
> securely:
>
> 1. I do not know of a good way to reliably ensure that all children of
> a traced program will be traced as well. If you wait for the fork()
> call to return, check the pid, and start tracing the child process,
> you are subject to race conditions. (strace's solution is to modify
> the code of the traced program to put a trapping instruction immediately
> after the call site to fork(). This is a grody hack and I had a hard
> time convincing myself that this will be secure in all cases.)
>
> 2. ptrace disrupts the process hierarchy and Unix signals. Because of
> the way ptrace overloads signals to deliver tracing events, tracing is
> not transparent. For instance, if the parent and child are both traced,
> and the parent waits for a signal from the child, things may no longer
> work the same way while being traced. Working around this requires
> non-trivial code. Complexity is the enemy of security and makes it hard
> to gain confidence this doesn't introduce subtle issues.
>
> 3. If the tracing application should happen to die unexpectedly
> (OOM, anyone?), I believe the traced application continues running,
> now without any security checks.
>
> 4. I seem to recall that when I looked at this in 1999, if the traced
> app makes a syscall that should not be allowed, I couldn't find a good
> way to prevent that syscall from executing. I don't know if current
> ptrace has solved this problem.
>
> Disclaimer: I haven't checked whether these all still apply today.

subterfugue.net has ptrace-based monitor that is secure AFAICT. We
improved ptrace for it a bit...
Pavel
--
(english) http://www.livejournal.com/~pavelmachek
(cesky, pictures) http://atrey.karlin.mff.cuni.cz/~pavel/picture/horses/blog.html


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