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Date:   Wed, 11 Aug 2021 00:21:40 +0300
From:   Jarkko Sakkinen <>
To:     Eric Biggers <>
Cc:     Ahmad Fatoum <>,
        "Theodore Y. Ts'o" <>,
        Jaegeuk Kim <>,,
        James Morris <>,
        "Serge E. Hallyn" <>,
        James Bottomley <>,
        Mimi Zohar <>,
        Sumit Garg <>,
        David Howells <>,,,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2] fscrypt: support trusted keys

On Tue, Aug 10, 2021 at 11:46:49AM -0700, Eric Biggers wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 10, 2021 at 09:06:36PM +0300, Jarkko Sakkinen wrote:
> > > > 
> > > > I don't think this is right, or at least it does not follow the pattern
> > > > in [*]. I.e. you should rather use trusted key to seal your fscrypt key.
> > > 
> > > What's the benefit of the extra layer of indirection over just using a "trusted"
> > > key directly?  The use case for "encrypted" keys is not at all clear to me.
> > 
> > Because it is more robust to be able to use small amount of trusted keys,
> > which are not entirely software based.
> > 
> > And since it's also a pattern on existing kernel features utilizing trusted
> > keys, the pressure here to explain why break the pattern, should be on the
> > side of the one who breaks it.
> This is a new feature, so it's on the person proposing the feature to explain
> why it's useful.  The purpose of "encrypted" keys is not at all clear, and the
> documentation for them is heavily misleading.  E.g.:
>     "user space sees, stores, and loads only encrypted blobs"
>     (Not necessarily true, as I've explained previously.)
>     "Encrypted keys do not depend on a trust source" ...  "The main disadvantage
>     of encrypted keys is that if they are not rooted in a trusted key"
>     (Not necessarily true, and in fact it seems they're only useful when they
>     *do* depend on a trust source.  At least that's the use case that is being
>     proposed here, IIUC.)
> I do see a possible use for the layer of indirection that "encrypted" keys are,
> which is that it would reduce the overhead of having lots of keys be directly
> encrypted by the TPM/TEE/CAAM.  Is this the use case?  If so, it needs to be
> explained.

If trusted keys are used directly, it's an introduction of a bottleneck.
If they are used indirectly, you can still choose to have one trusted
key per fscrypt key.

Thus, it's obviously a bad idea to use them directly.


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