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SubjectRe: user ns: arbitrary module loading
Quoting Kees Cook (
> On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 4:57 PM, Serge E. Hallyn <> wrote:
> > Quoting Kees Cook (
> >> The rearranging done for user ns has resulted in allowing arbitrary
> >> kernel module loading[1] (i.e. re-introducing a form of CVE-2011-1019)
> >> by what is assumed to be an unprivileged process.
> >>
> >> At present, it does look to require at least CAP_SETUID along the way
> >> to set up the uidmap (but things like the setuid helper newuidmap
> >> might soon start providing such a thing by default).
> >>
> >> It might be worth examining GRKERNSEC_MODHARDEN in grsecurity, which
> >> examines module symbols to verify that request_module() for a
> >> filesystem only loads a module that defines "register_filesystem"
> >> (among other things).
> >>
> >> -Kees
> >>
> >> [1]
> >
> > So the concern is root in a child user namespace doing
> >
> > mount -t randomfs <...>
> >
> > in which case do_new_mount() checks ns_capable(), not capable(),
> > before trying to load a module for randomfs.
> Well, not just randomfs. Any module that modprobe in the init ns can find.


> > As well as (secondly) the fact that there is no enforcement on
> > the format of the module names (i.e. fs-*).
> >
> > Kees, from what I've seen the GRKERNSEC_MODHARDEN won't be acceptable.
> > At least Eric Paris is strongly against it.
> I'd be curious to hear the objections. It seems pretty nice to me to

Wait, sorry, I mis-spoke. The objection would have been to requiring
CAP_SYS_MODULE, which is different. Sorry!

> add a new argument to every request_module() that specifies the
> "subsystem" it expects a module to load from. Maybe pass
> "request_module=filesystem" or "...=netdev" to the modprobe call. And

That would be useful for adding to the separation of privileges,
i.e. helping contain the leaking of posix caps. It sounds good to

> then in init_module(), check the userargs for which subsystem was
> requested and look up in a table for the entry point module symbol for
> that subsystem to require. e.g. for "request_module=filesystem",
> require that the module contains the "register_filesystem" symbol,
> etc.
> > But how about if we
> > add a check for 'current_user_ns() == &init_user_ns' at that place
> > instead?
> Well, we'd need to mostly revert
> 57eccb830f1cc93d4b506ba306d8dfa685e0c88f ("mount: consolidate
> permission checks") since get_fs_type() is being called before
> may_mount() right now. (And then, as you suggest, we should strengthen
> the test.) I think this will require either more plumbing into
> get_fs_type (something like "bool load_module_if_missing") or the
> subsystem verification stuff in request_module. I think the latter is
> MUCH nicer as it covers this problem in all places, not just this
> "mount" case.

My first instinct was to say I'd like to have the kernel 100% belonging
to the init_user_ns, with child user namespaces having zero ability to
induce loading of any kernel modules, period. So a check for current
being in init_user_ns at request_module itself.

However (thinking more) that seems maybe wrong. You don't need privs to
induce the loading of a new binfmt module right? The host's
/lib/modules and module blacklists should be set up right by the admin
(or distro)... If we require that the host admin manually modprobe
every module which a task in a child user namespace might need, that
goes counter to the goal of kernel modules.

> > Eric Biederman, do you have any objections to that?


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