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SubjectRe: [PATCH security-next v5 00/30] LSM: Explict ordering
On 10/12/2018 04:31 AM, Jordan Glover wrote:
> ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
> On Friday, October 12, 2018 2:26 AM, John Johansen <> wrote:
>> On 10/11/2018 04:53 PM, Jordan Glover wrote:
>>> ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
>>> On Friday, October 12, 2018 1:09 AM, Kees Cook wrote:
>>>> We've had things sort of like this proposed, but if you can convince
>>>> James and others, I'm all for it. I think the standing objection from
>>>> James and John about this is that the results of booting with
>>>> "lsm=something" ends up depending on CONFIG_LSM= for that distro. So
>>>> you end up with different behaviors instead of a consistent behavior
>>>> across all distros.
>>> Ok, I'll try :)
>>> The final lsm string contains two parts: Kconfig "CONFIG_LSM=" and boot
>>> param "lsm=". Changing even only one of those parts also changes the
>>> final string.
>>> In case of distros, it's the "CONFIG_LSM=" which changes. Even when "lsm="
>>> stays constant, the behavior will be different, example:
>>> Distro A has: CONFIG_LSM=loadpin,integrity,selinux
>>> Distro B has CONFIG_LSM=yama,loadpin,integrity,selinux
>>> User on distro A wants to enable apparmor with:
>>> lsm=loadpin,integrity,apparmor
>>> which they do and add it to howto on wiki.
>>> User on distro B want to enable apparmor, they found info on some wiki and do:
>>> lsm=loadpin,integrity,apparmor
>>> Puff, yama got disabled!
>>> Above example shows why I think "consistent behavior across all distros"
>>> argument for current approach is flawed - because distros aren't
>>> consistent. In my proposition the user will just use "lsm=apparmor" and
>>> it will consistently enable apparmor on all distros which is what they
>>> really wanted, but all pre-existing differences across distros will
>>> remain unchanged.
>> Are you sure about that? I have had more than one question about
>> security=X resulting in a system with more than just X enabled. Ie why
>> is yama enabled when I specifically set security to X.
> So, non-explicit list will match current "security=" behavior which users
> are more familiar with. The current answer for this question is "because
> your distro enabled it and you didn't disabled it. With non-explcit list
> that answer will stay the same.

the current behavior is problematic leads to a configuration nightmare,
and is the reason lsm= is proposed instead of just sticking with

> With explicit list, the question will be "why is yama disabled when I
> enabled AppArmor with lsm=apparmor".
yes that will happen as well

> To ask both questions user have to know that something like "yama" exist
> in first place.
yes. However when it comes to security I don't think its too insane to
want to vet new modules before they become part of your configuration.
This is something distros want to be able to do and something some users

I am not claiming this is what all users will want, and it certainly
isn't the best situation for the adoption of new lsms. But is a very
understandable security policy stance.

> As for question what users typically want you may look at search results
> for "disable/enable yama" and "disable/enable apparmor/selinux". The
> difference is several orders of magnitude. That's why I think typical user
> just want to switch on/off one major lsm. I don't think anecdotal evidence
> is representative here.
>> There will certainly be cases where what you describe is exactly what
>> the user wants. The problem is an explosion of options isn't good
>> for the user either.
>> What I want at the moment is the discussion about different ways to
>> enable LSMs to be split off so this work can move forward.
>>> The current approach requires that everyone who dares to touch "lsm="
>>> knows about existence of all lsm, their enabled/disabled status on
>>> target distro and their order. I doubt there are many people other
>>> than recipients of this mail who fit for the above.
>> Without having gotten a chance to review the current set of patches
>> that was not what was discussed, it should only requires they know the
>> set that they want.
> "it should only requires they know the set that they want" is very
> hard requirement and I don't think most users will pass this.
> Especially when sets like:
> lsm=yama,loadpin,integrity,apparmor
> lsm=loadpin,integrity,yama,apparmor
> will behave differently.
yes, that is a problem and it highlights the complexity of the problem
we are dealing with.

Your proposal tries to hide the ordering issues from the user but they
still suffer from the potentially different behavior of list ordering
as it is moving the lsm around in the list.

fwiw kees finally convinced me that having the order set separate from
enablement in the kconfig is better for the user because of problems
like this.

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