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SubjectRe: [RFC PATCH 00/11] Adding FreeBSD's Capsicum security framework (part 1)
On Fri, Jul 4, 2014 at 8:03 AM, Paolo Bonzini <> wrote:
> Il 03/07/2014 20:39, David Drysdale ha scritto:
>> On Thu, Jul 03, 2014 at 11:12:33AM +0200, Paolo Bonzini wrote:
>>> Given Linux's previous experience with BPF filters, what do you
>>> think about attaching specific BPF programs to file descriptors?
>>> Then whenever a syscall is run that affects a file descriptor, the
>>> BPF program for the file descriptor (attached to a struct file* as
>>> in Capsicum) would run in addition to the process-wide filter.
>> That sounds kind of clever, but also kind of complicated.
>> Off the top of my head, one particular problem is that not all
>> fd->struct file conversions in the kernel are completely specified
>> by an enclosing syscall and the explicit values of its parameters.
>> For example, the actual contents of the arguments to io_submit(2)
>> aren't visible to a seccomp-bpf program (as it can't read the __user
>> memory for the iocb structures), and so it can't distinguish a
>> read from a write.
> I think that's more easily done by opening the file as O_RDONLY/O_WRONLY
> /O_RDWR. You could do it by running the file descriptor's seccomp-bpf
> program once per iocb with synthesized syscall numbers and argument
> vectors.

Right, but generating the equivalent seccomp input environment for an
equivalent single-fd syscall is going to be subtle and complex (which
are worrying words to mention in a security context). And how many
other syscalls are going to need similar special-case processing?
(poll? select? send[m]msg? ...)

> BTW, there's one thing I'm not sure I understand (because my knowledge
> of VFS is really only cursory). Are the capabilities associated to the
> file _descriptor_ (a la F_GETFD/SETFD) or _description_

Capsicum capabilities are associated with the file descriptor (a la
F_GETFD), not the open file itself -- different FDs with different
associated rights can map to the same underlying open file.

> If it is the former, there is some value in read/write capabilities
> because you could for example block a child process from reading an
> eventfd and simulate the two file descriptors returned by pipe(2). But
> if it is the latter, it looks like an important usability problem in
> the Capsicum model. (Granted, it's just about usability---in the end
> it does exactly what it's meant and documented to do).

Attaching the rights to the FD also comes back to the association with
object-capability security. The FD is an unforgeable reference to the
object (file) in question, but these references (with their rights) can
be transferred to other programs -- either by inheritance after fork, or
by explicitly passing the FD across a Unix domain socket.

>> Also, there could potentially be some odd interactions with file
>> descriptors passed between processes, if the BPF program relies
>> on assumptions about the environment of the original process. For
>> example, what happens if an x86_64 process passes a filter-attached
>> FD to an ia32 process? Given that the syscall numbers are
>> arch-specific, I guess that means the filter program would have
>> to include arch-specific branches for any possible variant.
> This is the same for using seccompv2 to limit child processes, no? So
> there may be a problem but it has to be solved anyway by libseccomp.

I don't know whether libseccomp would worry about this, but being able
to send FDs between processes via Unix domain sockets makes this more
visible in the Capsicum case.

>> More generally, I suspect that keeping things simpler will end
>> up being more secure. Capsicum was based on well-studied ideas
>> from the world of object capability-based security, and I'd be
>> nervous about adding complications that take us further away from
>> that.
> True.
>> That mapping would also need be kept closely in sync with the kernel
>> and other system libraries -- if a new syscall is added and libc (or
>> some other library) started using it, the equivalent BPF chunks would
>> need to be updated to cope.
> Again, this is the same problem that has to be solved for process-wide
> seccompv2.

True. I guess new syscalls are sufficiently rare in practice that this
isn't a serious concern.

>>>> [Capsicum also includes 'capability mode', which locks down the
>>>> available syscalls so the rights restrictions can't just be bypassed
>>>> by opening new file descriptors; I'll describe that separately later.]
>>> This can also be implemented in userspace via seccomp and
>> Well, mostly (and in fact I've got an attempt to do exactly that at
>> [..] there's one awkward syscall case. In capability mode we'd like
>> to prevent processes from sending signals with kill(2)/tgkill(2)
>> to other processes, but they should still be able to send themselves
>> signals. For example, abort(3) generates:
>> tgkill(gettid(), gettid(), SIGABRT)
>> Only allowing kill(self) is hard to encode in a seccomp-bpf program, at
>> least in a way that survives forking.
> I guess the thread id could be added as a special seccomp-bpf argument
> (ancillary datum?).

Yeah, I tried exactly that a while ago
but didn't run with it because of the process-wide beneath-only issue below.
But a combination of that and your new prctl() suggestion below might do
the trick.

>> Finally, capability mode also turns on strict-relative lookups
>> process-wide; in other words, every openat(dfd, ...) operation
>> acts as though it has the O_BENEATH_ONLY flag set, regardless of
>> whether the dfd is a Capsicum capability. I can't see a way to
>> do that with a BPF program (although it would be possible to add
>> a filter that polices the requirement to include O_BENEATH_ONLY
>> rather than implicitly adding it).
> That can be a new prctl (one that PR_SET_NO_NEW_PRIVS would lock up).
> It seems useful independent of Capsicum, and the Linux APIs tend to be
> fine-grained more often than coarse-grained.

That sounds like a good idea, particularly in combination with the idea
above -- thanks! I'll have a think/investigate...

>>>> [Policing the rights checks anywhere else, for example at the system
>>>> call boundary, isn't a good idea because it opens up the possibility
>>>> of time-of-check/time-of-use (TOCTOU) attacks [2] where FDs are
>>>> changed (as openat/close/dup2 are allowed in capability mode) between
>>>> the 'check' at syscall entry and the 'use' at fget() invocation.]
>>> In the case of BPF filters, I wonder if you could stash the BPF
>>> "environment" somewhere and then use it at fget() invocation.
>>> Alternatively, it can be reconstructed at fget() time, similar to
>>> your introduction of fgetr().
>> Stashing something at syscall entry to be referred to later always
>> makes me worry about TOCTOU vulnerabilities, but the details might
>> be OK in this case (given that no check occurs at syscall entry)...
> Yeah, that was pretty much the idea. But I was cautious enough to
> label it with "I wonder"...
> Paolo
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