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Date:   Tue, 18 Feb 2020 13:22:17 -0500
From:   Stephen Smalley <sds@...ho.nsa.gov>
To:     Alexey Budankov <alexey.budankov@...ux.intel.com>,
        James Morris <jmorris@...ei.org>,
        Serge Hallyn <serge@...lyn.com>,
        Peter Zijlstra <peterz@...radead.org>,
        Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo <acme@...nel.org>,
        Ingo Molnar <mingo@...nel.org>,
        "joonas.lahtinen@...ux.intel.com" <joonas.lahtinen@...ux.intel.com>,
        Alexei Starovoitov <ast@...nel.org>,
        Will Deacon <will@...nel.org>,
        Paul Mackerras <paulus@...ba.org>,
        Helge Deller <deller@....de>,
        Thomas Gleixner <tglx@...utronix.de>
Cc:     Andi Kleen <ak@...ux.intel.com>,
        Stephane Eranian <eranian@...gle.com>,
        Igor Lubashev <ilubashe@...mai.com>,
        Jiri Olsa <jolsa@...hat.com>,
        linux-kernel <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>,
        "intel-gfx@...ts.freedesktop.org" <intel-gfx@...ts.freedesktop.org>,
        "linux-security-module@...r.kernel.org" 
        <linux-security-module@...r.kernel.org>,
        "selinux@...r.kernel.org" <selinux@...r.kernel.org>,
        linux-arm-kernel <linux-arm-kernel@...ts.infradead.org>,
        "linuxppc-dev@...ts.ozlabs.org" <linuxppc-dev@...ts.ozlabs.org>,
        "linux-parisc@...r.kernel.org" <linux-parisc@...r.kernel.org>,
        oprofile-list@...ts.sf.net,
        "linux-doc@...r.kernel.org" <linux-doc@...r.kernel.org>,
        linux-man@...r.kernel.org
Subject: Re: [PATCH v7 01/12] capabilities: introduce CAP_PERFMON to kernel
 and user space

On 2/17/20 3:06 AM, Alexey Budankov wrote:
> 
> Introduce CAP_PERFMON capability designed to secure system performance
> monitoring and observability operations so that CAP_PERFMON would assist
> CAP_SYS_ADMIN capability in its governing role for performance
> monitoring and observability subsystems.
> 
> CAP_PERFMON hardens system security and integrity during performance
> monitoring and observability operations by decreasing attack surface
> that is available to a CAP_SYS_ADMIN privileged process [2]. Providing
> the access to system performance monitoring and observability operations
> under CAP_PERFMON capability singly, without the rest of CAP_SYS_ADMIN
> credentials, excludes chances to misuse the credentials and makes the
> operation more secure. Thus, CAP_PERFMON implements the principal of
> least privilege for performance monitoring and observability operations
> (POSIX IEEE 1003.1e: 2.2.2.39 principle of least privilege: A security
> design principle that states that a process or program be granted only
> those privileges (e.g., capabilities) necessary to accomplish its
> legitimate function, and only for the time that such privileges are
> actually required)
> 
> CAP_PERFMON meets the demand to secure system performance monitoring and
> observability operations for adoption in security sensitive, restricted,
> multiuser production environments (e.g. HPC clusters, cloud and virtual
> compute environments), where root or CAP_SYS_ADMIN credentials are not
> available to mass users of a system, and securely unblocks accessibility
> of system performance monitoring and observability operations beyond
> the root and CAP_SYS_ADMIN use cases.
> 
> CAP_PERFMON takes over CAP_SYS_ADMIN credentials related to system
> performance monitoring and observability operations and balances amount
> of CAP_SYS_ADMIN credentials following the recommendations in the
> capabilities man page [1] for CAP_SYS_ADMIN: "Note: this capability is
> overloaded; see Notes to kernel developers, below." For backward
> compatibility reasons access to system performance monitoring and
> observability subsystems of the kernel remains open for CAP_SYS_ADMIN
> privileged processes but CAP_SYS_ADMIN usage for secure system
> performance monitoring and observability operations is discouraged with
> respect to the designed CAP_PERFMON capability.
> 
> Although the software running under CAP_PERFMON can not ensure avoidance
> of related hardware issues, the software can still mitigate these issues
> following the official hardware issues mitigation procedure [2].
> The bugs in the software itself can be fixed following the standard
> kernel development process [3] to maintain and harden security of system
> performance monitoring and observability operations.
> 
> [1] http://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man7/capabilities.7.html
> [2] https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/latest/process/embargoed-hardware-issues.html
> [3] https://www.kernel.org/doc/html/latest/admin-guide/security-bugs.html
> 
> Signed-off-by: Alexey Budankov <alexey.budankov@...ux.intel.com>

Acked-by: Stephen Smalley <sds@...ho.nsa.gov>

[...]

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