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Date:   Thu, 23 Sep 2021 11:43:30 -0400
From:   Paul Moore <>
To:     Linus Torvalds <>
Cc:     SElinux list <>,
        LSM List <>,
        Linux Kernel Mailing List <>
Subject: Re: [GIT PULL] SELinux fixes for v5.15 (#1)

On Wed, Sep 22, 2021 at 7:43 PM Linus Torvalds
<> wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 22, 2021 at 2:40 PM Paul Moore <> wrote:
> >
> > The basic idea, or problem from a LSM point of view, is that in some
> > cases you have a user task which is doing the lockdown access check
> > and in others you have the kernel itself
> I don't understand. In that case, it would be a boolean for "kernel vs user".
> But that's not what it is. It literally seems to care about _which_
> user, and looks at cred_sid().

Well, yes, it does look at the credential if it is passed; I guess I
wrongly assumed that was understood.  If it was just a simple
user/kernel decision then yes, it would be a boolean (or similar).

> This is what makes no sense to me. If it's about lockdown,. then the
> user is immaterial. Either it's locked down, or it's not.

If all you have is the lockdown LSM, then yes, lockdown doesn't take
into account the context of the request, it is simply a test of the
lockdown threshold: only disclosures on the proper side of the
lockdown value are allowed.

However, we have the LSM framework because there is never one way to
solve a problem, and the LSM hooks have always changed to support
these different approaches to access control.  While the lockdown LSM
takes a context-free approach to enforcing the lockdown setting, the
SELinux LSM takes a different enforcement approach which not only
better integrates with the SELinux policy, but it offers new
functionality beyond the lockdown LSM:

* Access based on the integrity and confidentiality reasons can be
specified independently with SELinux.

* Provide the ability to define the lockdown level within the context
of individual security domains.

It's also worth noting that with LSM stacking and the combination of
the lockdown and SELinux LSMs, the SELinux lockdown controls would not
grant any additional disclosures beyond what the lockdown LSM would
allow, the SELinux controls would only further restrict the disclosure
of specific security domains as specified in the SELinux policy.

paul moore

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