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Subject[PATCH] make TIOCSTI ioctl require CAP_SYS_ADMIN
This patch reproduces GRKERNSEC_HARDEN_TTY functionality from the grsecurity
project in-kernel.

This will create the Kconfig SECURITY_TIOCSTI_RESTRICT and the corresponding
sysctl kernel.tiocsti_restrict that, when activated, restrict all TIOCSTI
ioctl calls from non CAP_SYS_ADMIN users.

Possible effects on userland:

There could be a few user programs that would be effected by this
notable programs are: agetty, csh, xemacs and tcsh

However, I still believe that this change is worth it given that the
Kconfig defaults to n. This will be a feature that is turned on for the
same reason that people activate it when using grsecurity. Users of this
opt-in feature will realize that they are choosing security over some OS
features like unprivileged TIOCSTI ioctls, as should be clear in the
Kconfig help message.

Threat Model/Patch Rational:

From grsecurity's config for GRKERNSEC_HARDEN_TTY.

| There are very few legitimate uses for this functionality and it
| has made vulnerabilities in several 'su'-like programs possible in
| the past. Even without these vulnerabilities, it provides an
| attacker with an easy mechanism to move laterally among other
| processes within the same user's compromised session.

So if one process within a tty session becomes compromised it can follow
that additional processes, that are thought to be in different security
boundaries, can be compromised as a result. When using a program like su
or sudo, these additional processes could be in a tty session where TTY file
descriptors are indeed shared over privilege boundaries.

This is also an excellent writeup about the issue:

Signed-off-by: Matt Brown <>
drivers/tty/tty_io.c | 4 ++++
include/linux/tty.h | 2 ++
kernel/sysctl.c | 12 ++++++++++++
security/Kconfig | 13 +++++++++++++
4 files changed, 31 insertions(+)

diff --git a/drivers/tty/tty_io.c b/drivers/tty/tty_io.c
index e6d1a65..31894e8 100644
--- a/drivers/tty/tty_io.c
+++ b/drivers/tty/tty_io.c
@@ -2296,11 +2296,15 @@ static int tty_fasync(int fd, struct file *filp, int on)
* FIXME: may race normal receive processing

static int tiocsti(struct tty_struct *tty, char __user *p)
char ch, mbz = 0;
struct tty_ldisc *ld;

+ if (tiocsti_restrict && !capable(CAP_SYS_ADMIN))
+ return -EPERM;
if ((current->signal->tty != tty) && !capable(CAP_SYS_ADMIN))
return -EPERM;
if (get_user(ch, p))
diff --git a/include/linux/tty.h b/include/linux/tty.h
index 1017e904..7011102 100644
--- a/include/linux/tty.h
+++ b/include/linux/tty.h
@@ -342,6 +342,8 @@ struct tty_file_private {
struct list_head list;

+extern int tiocsti_restrict;
/* tty magic number */
#define TTY_MAGIC 0x5401

diff --git a/kernel/sysctl.c b/kernel/sysctl.c
index acf0a5a..68d1363 100644
--- a/kernel/sysctl.c
+++ b/kernel/sysctl.c
@@ -67,6 +67,7 @@
#include <linux/kexec.h>
#include <linux/bpf.h>
#include <linux/mount.h>
+#include <linux/tty.h>

#include <linux/uaccess.h>
#include <asm/processor.h>
@@ -833,6 +834,17 @@ static struct ctl_table kern_table[] = {
.extra2 = &two,
+#if defined CONFIG_TTY
+ {
+ .procname = "tiocsti_restrict",
+ .data = &tiocsti_restrict,
+ .maxlen = sizeof(int),
+ .mode = 0644,
+ .proc_handler = proc_dointvec_minmax_sysadmin,
+ .extra1 = &zero,
+ .extra2 = &one,
+ },
.procname = "ngroups_max",
.data = &ngroups_max,
diff --git a/security/Kconfig b/security/Kconfig
index 3ff1bf9..7d13331 100644
--- a/security/Kconfig
+++ b/security/Kconfig
@@ -18,6 +18,19 @@ config SECURITY_DMESG_RESTRICT

If you are unsure how to answer this question, answer N.

+ bool "Restrict unprivileged use of tiocsti command injection"
+ default n
+ help
+ This enforces restrictions on unprivileged users injecting commands
+ into other processes which share a tty session using the TIOCSTI
+ ioctl. This option makes TIOCSTI use require CAP_SYS_ADMIN.
+ If this option is not selected, no restrictions will be enforced
+ unless the tiocsti_restrict sysctl is explicitly set to (1).
+ If you are unsure how to answer this question, answer N.
bool "Enable different security models"
depends on SYSFS
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