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Date:   Wed, 5 Jun 2019 10:01:30 -0700
From:   Casey Schaufler <>
To:     Andy Lutomirski <>
Cc:     David Howells <>,
        Al Viro <>,,
        Linux FS Devel <>,
        Linux API <>,,,
        LSM List <>,
        LKML <>,
Subject: Re: [RFC][PATCH 0/8] Mount, FS, Block and Keyrings notifications [ver

On 6/5/2019 9:04 AM, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 7:51 AM Casey Schaufler <> wrote:
>> On 6/5/2019 1:41 AM, David Howells wrote:
>>> Casey Schaufler <> wrote:
>>>> I will try to explain the problem once again. If process A
>>>> sends a signal (writes information) to process B the kernel
>>>> checks that either process A has the same UID as process B
>>>> or that process A has privilege to override that policy.
>>>> Process B is passive in this access control decision, while
>>>> process A is active. In the event delivery case, process A
>>>> does something (e.g. modifies a keyring) that generates an
>>>> event, which is then sent to process B's event buffer.
>>> I think this might be the core sticking point here.  It looks like two
>>> different situations:
>>>  (1) A explicitly sends event to B (eg. signalling, sendmsg, etc.)
>>>  (2) A implicitly and unknowingly sends event to B as a side effect of some
>>>      other action (eg. B has a watch for the event A did).
>>> The LSM treats them as the same: that is B must have MAC authorisation to send
>>> a message to A.
>> YES!
>> Threat is about what you can do, not what you intend to do.
>> And it would be really great if you put some thought into what
>> a rational model would be for UID based controls, too.
>>> But there are problems with not sending the event:
>>>  (1) B's internal state is then corrupt (or, at least, unknowingly invalid).
>> Then B is a badly written program.
> Either I'm misunderstanding you or I strongly disagree.

A program needs to be aware of the conditions under
which it gets event, *including the possibility that
it may not get an event that it's not allowed*. Do you
regularly write programs that go into corrupt states
if an open() fails? Or where read() returns less than
the amount of data you ask for?

>   If B has
> authority to detect a certain action, and A has authority to perform
> that action, then refusing to notify B because B is somehow missing
> some special authorization to be notified by A is nuts.

You are hand-waving the notion of authority. You are assuming
that if A can read X and B can read X that A can write B.

>   This is just
> introducing incorrectness into the design in support of a
> not-actually-helpful security idea.

Where is the incorrectness? Are you seriously saying that
you expect all events to be generated exactly as you think
they should? Have you ever even used systemd? 

> If I can read /proc/self/mounts, I can detect changes to my mount
> namespace.

Then read /proc/self/mounts!
Can't you poll on an fd open on /proc/self/mounts?

>   Giving me a faster and nicer way to do this is fine, AS
> LONG AS IT ACTUALLY WORKS.  "Works" means it needs to detect all
> changes.

So long as "WORKS" includes maintaining the system security
policy, I agree. No, I don't. We already have too many bizarre
and unnatural mechanisms to address whimsical special cases.
If speed is such an issue you could look at making /proc better.

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