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Date:	Mon, 10 Nov 2014 08:59:50 -0500
From:	Daniel J Walsh <>
To:	Casey Schaufler <>,
	David Howells <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 0/7] Security: Provide unioned file support

On 11/08/2014 08:31 PM, Casey Schaufler wrote:
> On 11/7/2014 10:54 AM, Daniel J Walsh wrote:
>> On 11/07/2014 10:21 AM, David Howells wrote:
>>> Casey Schaufler <> wrote:
>>>>>> What does this mean?
>>>>> It has been decided that for the purposes of docker, all files within the
>>>>> docker root fs will have the same label.  We'd have to provide policy
>>>>> namespacing otherwise (I think).
>>>> That's just insane. "It has been decided" by who? Obviously not people
>>>> who care about security policies. Maybe it's good enough for your
>>>> particular use case, but labeling of files has to be up to the security
>>>> module. That's what the modules are for.
>>> It has been decided by the docker people that I've dealt with.  I was
>>> expecting there to be different labels throughout a docker image, but
>>> apparently not...
>> We want the equivalent of the mount option
>> context="system_u:object_r:svirt_sandbox_file_t:s0:c1,c2"
> Which just means that the policy used in the container is going
> to have to grant access to everything running in that container
> to that context. That's fine if you want to emasculate your module
> within the container. But it requires that you do so, and that is
> wrong.
Huh?  I am asking for this to be supported not enforced.  If you don't
do the command context="" or its equivalent, then you can run with ever
labels you want and see the underlying XATTRS on inodes.  I just need a way
to support sVirt controls as defined for docker containers, matching
what we
are able to do with Device Mapper back end.
>> Which would label all of the content in the OVERLAYFS with this label. 
>> If we have to have a readonly label for the lower
>> level and a RW Label for the context mount then that is fine with us. 
>> The lower level can actually just reveal the label of the INODE.
>> We can take care of labeling it with a single label.
>> If the context="LABEL" (Or its equivalent is not passed), it should get
>> some kind of label based on the parent directory I would guess
>> or transition rules. 
>> With docker we want to treat all contents of a container with a single
>> label and then separate containers based on MCS(Svirt) separation.
> That seems like a limited and rather pointless use case to me.
>>>>>> What about LSMs that have multiple labels on a file?
>>>>> Setting policy is something I'll have to leave to the docker people and the
>>>>> administrators of systems that use docker.
>>>> What does that mean? If the underlying mechanism can't do the job,
>>>> how the dickens is the administrator supposed to make it happen?
>>> I'm trying to make the kernel able to support a policy on this at all - not
>>> actually write the policy itself.  The policy may well vary depending on the
>>> installation anyway.
>>>>> But all I'm proposing is a way to give the LSM access to both the file in
>>>>> the overlay and the file in the lower fs that is leeching through into the
>>>>> overlay.
>>>> But your mechanisms are simultaneously incomplete and over specified.
>>> Well then, specify better ones!  I'm fairly certain it is incomplete and I'm
>>> *trying* to get input on how it may be improved.  I should've marked the
>>> patches [RFC] but it didn't occur to me until just after I'd sent them (of
>>> course).
> I'd love to do so, but I'm frying too many kittens right now
> to put the effort required into making this right. I do have
> faith that this can be worked out. Sorry that I missed the implicit
> [RFC]. It helps to know that feedback is still open.
>>> Anyway, there are a number of things one has to take account of:
>>>  (1) There may be multiple 'views' or instances of a file in a union - and
>>>      each may be labelled differently.
>>>  (2) The lower file may have xattrs attached to it that represent the security
>>>      policy.
>>>  (3) The union file may have xattrs attached to it that represent the security
>>>      policy.
>>>  (4) When copying the lower file up, the xattrs representing the security
>>>      attributes of the lower file must not be written as they may incorrectly
>>>      overwrite the security attributes of the union file.
>>>  (5) There needs to be a way to set the security attributes on the union file.
>>>  (6) When setting the attributes on the union file, the LSM might need to take
>>>      account of the attributes of the lower file in their derivation.
>>>  (7) There may be no inode in the union layer on which to hang the attributes
>>>      for the upper file.
>>>  (8) struct file::f_security should be used to contain the union layer
>>>      labellage on open files that point to a lower layer.
>>>  (9) Ideally, file->f_path would point to the union layer and file->f_inode to
>>>      the lower layer when there is no upper file.  However, this is not the
>>>      case at the moment.  The file struct *only* points to the lower file or
>>>      the upper file and never both.
>>> (10) Overlayfs has an extra complication in that there are potentially three
>>>      files involved in any union.  The lower file that is the source, the
>>>      upper file that where the copy-up goes and the virtual union file in the
>>>      overlay fs that redirects to one or the other.
>>>      I've taken the approach that we assume that the upper file (if it exists)
>>>      has the same labellage as the union file.
>>>> Your proposal is a cop out. It may work in a limited set of cases.
>>>> It is not a general solution.
>>> Actually, I think the actual code interface I've proposed is pretty close to
>>> being a general solution.  I've given the LSM the information I have, it can
>>> implement a fabulous maze of specially crafted labels if it wants to - and
>>> even have multiple labels per inode or per file.  The VFS does not care.
>>> David
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