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From: "Mickaël Salaün" <>
To: James Morris <>, Jann Horn <>,
	"Serge E . Hallyn" <>
Cc: "Mickaël Salaün" <>,
	"Al Viro" <>,
	"Andy Lutomirski" <>,
	"Anton Ivanov" <>,
	"Arnd Bergmann" <>,
	"Casey Schaufler" <>,
	"Jeff Dike" <>,
	"Jonathan Corbet" <>,
	"Kees Cook" <>,
	"Michael Kerrisk" <>,
	"Richard Weinberger" <>,
	"Shuah Khan" <>,
	"Vincent Dagonneau" <>,,,,,,,,,,
	"Mickaël Salaün" <>
Subject: [PATCH v27 12/12] landlock: Add user and kernel documentation
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 21:51:19 +0100	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

From: Mickaël Salaün <>

This documentation can be built with the Sphinx framework.

Cc: James Morris <>
Cc: Jann Horn <>
Cc: Kees Cook <>
Cc: Serge E. Hallyn <>
Signed-off-by: Mickaël Salaün <>
Reviewed-by: Vincent Dagonneau <>

Changes since v25:
* Explain the behavior of layered access rights.
* Explain how bind mounts and overayfs mounts are handled by Landlock:
  merged overlayfs mount points have their own inodes, which makes these
  hierarchies independent from its upper and lower layers, unlike bind
  mounts which share the same inodes between the source hierarchy and
  the mount point hierarchy.
  New overlayfs mount and bind mount tests check these behaviors.
* Synchronize with the new syscalls.c file and update syscall names.
* Fix spelling.
* Remove Reviewed-by Jann Horn because of the above changes.

Changes since v24:
* Add Reviewed-by Jann Horn.
* Add a paragraph to explain how the ruleset layers work.
* Bump date.

Changes since v23:
* Explain limitations for the maximum number of stacked ruleset, and the
  memory usage restrictions.

Changes since v22:
* Fix spelling and remove obsolete sentence (spotted by Jann Horn).
* Bump date.

Changes since v21:
* Move the user space documentation to userspace-api/landlock.rst and
  the kernel documentation to security/landlock.rst .
* Add license headers.
* Add last update dates.
* Update MAINTAINERS file.
* Add (back) links to .
* Fix spelling.

Changes since v20:
* Update examples and documentation with the new syscalls.

Changes since v19:
* Update examples and documentation with the new syscalls.

Changes since v15:
* Add current limitations.

Changes since v14:
* Fix spelling (contributed by Randy Dunlap).
* Extend documentation about inheritance and explain layer levels.
* Remove the use of now-removed access rights.
* Use GitHub links.
* Improve kernel documentation.
* Add section for tests.
* Update example.

Changes since v13:
* Rewrote the documentation according to the major revamp.

Previous changes:
 Documentation/security/index.rst         |   1 +
 Documentation/security/landlock.rst      |  79 ++++++
 Documentation/userspace-api/index.rst    |   1 +
 Documentation/userspace-api/landlock.rst | 306 +++++++++++++++++++++++
 MAINTAINERS                              |   2 +
 5 files changed, 389 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 Documentation/security/landlock.rst
 create mode 100644 Documentation/userspace-api/landlock.rst

diff --git a/Documentation/security/index.rst b/Documentation/security/index.rst
index 8129405eb2cc..16335de04e8c 100644
--- a/Documentation/security/index.rst
+++ b/Documentation/security/index.rst
@@ -16,3 +16,4 @@ Security Documentation
+   landlock
diff --git a/Documentation/security/landlock.rst b/Documentation/security/landlock.rst
new file mode 100644
index 000000000000..244e616d3d7a
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/security/landlock.rst
@@ -0,0 +1,79 @@
+.. SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0
+.. Copyright © 2017-2020 Mickaël Salaün <>
+.. Copyright © 2019-2020 ANSSI
+Landlock LSM: kernel documentation
+:Author: Mickaël Salaün
+:Date: January 2021
+Landlock's goal is to create scoped access-control (i.e. sandboxing).  To
+harden a whole system, this feature should be available to any process,
+including unprivileged ones.  Because such process may be compromised or
+backdoored (i.e. untrusted), Landlock's features must be safe to use from the
+kernel and other processes point of view.  Landlock's interface must therefore
+expose a minimal attack surface.
+Landlock is designed to be usable by unprivileged processes while following the
+system security policy enforced by other access control mechanisms (e.g. DAC,
+LSM).  Indeed, a Landlock rule shall not interfere with other access-controls
+enforced on the system, only add more restrictions.
+Any user can enforce Landlock rulesets on their processes.  They are merged and
+evaluated according to the inherited ones in a way that ensures that only more
+constraints can be added.
+User space documentation can be found here: :doc:`/userspace-api/landlock`.
+Guiding principles for safe access controls
+* A Landlock rule shall be focused on access control on kernel objects instead
+  of syscall filtering (i.e. syscall arguments), which is the purpose of
+  seccomp-bpf.
+* To avoid multiple kinds of side-channel attacks (e.g. leak of security
+  policies, CPU-based attacks), Landlock rules shall not be able to
+  programmatically communicate with user space.
+* Kernel access check shall not slow down access request from unsandboxed
+  processes.
+* Computation related to Landlock operations (e.g. enforcing a ruleset) shall
+  only impact the processes requesting them.
+Userspace tests for backward compatibility, ptrace restrictions and filesystem
+support can be found here: `tools/testing/selftests/landlock/`_.
+Kernel structures
+.. kernel-doc:: security/landlock/object.h
+    :identifiers:
+Ruleset and domain
+A domain is a read-only ruleset tied to a set of subjects (i.e. tasks'
+credentials).  Each time a ruleset is enforced on a task, the current domain is
+duplicated and the ruleset is imported as a new layer of rules in the new
+domain.  Indeed, once in a domain, each rule is tied to a layer level.  To
+grant access to an object, at least one rule of each layer must allow the
+requested action on the object.  A task can then only transit to a new domain
+that is the intersection of the constraints from the current domain and those
+of a ruleset provided by the task.
+The definition of a subject is implicit for a task sandboxing itself, which
+makes the reasoning much easier and helps avoid pitfalls.
+.. kernel-doc:: security/landlock/ruleset.h
+    :identifiers:
+.. Links
+.. _tools/testing/selftests/landlock/:
diff --git a/Documentation/userspace-api/index.rst b/Documentation/userspace-api/index.rst
index acd2cc2a538d..01f1748ab569 100644
--- a/Documentation/userspace-api/index.rst
+++ b/Documentation/userspace-api/index.rst
@@ -18,6 +18,7 @@ place where this information is gathered.
+   landlock
diff --git a/Documentation/userspace-api/landlock.rst b/Documentation/userspace-api/landlock.rst
new file mode 100644
index 000000000000..06c16f2b038b
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/userspace-api/landlock.rst
@@ -0,0 +1,306 @@
+.. SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0
+.. Copyright © 2017-2020 Mickaël Salaün <>
+.. Copyright © 2019-2020 ANSSI
+Landlock: unprivileged access control
+:Author: Mickaël Salaün
+:Date: January 2021
+The goal of Landlock is to enable to restrict ambient rights (e.g. global
+filesystem access) for a set of processes.  Because Landlock is a stackable
+LSM, it makes possible to create safe security sandboxes as new security layers
+in addition to the existing system-wide access-controls. This kind of sandbox
+is expected to help mitigate the security impact of bugs or
+unexpected/malicious behaviors in user space applications.  Landlock empowers
+any process, including unprivileged ones, to securely restrict themselves.
+Landlock rules
+A Landlock rule describes an action on an object.  An object is currently a
+file hierarchy, and the related filesystem actions are defined in `Access
+rights`_.  A set of rules is aggregated in a ruleset, which can then restrict
+the thread enforcing it, and its future children.
+Defining and enforcing a security policy
+We first need to create the ruleset that will contain our rules.  For this
+example, the ruleset will contain rules that only allow read actions, but write
+actions will be denied.  The ruleset then needs to handle both of these kind of
+.. code-block:: c
+    int ruleset_fd;
+    struct landlock_ruleset_attr ruleset_attr = {
+        .handled_access_fs =
+    };
+    ruleset_fd = landlock_create_ruleset(&ruleset_attr, sizeof(ruleset_attr), 0);
+    if (ruleset_fd < 0) {
+        perror("Failed to create a ruleset");
+        return 1;
+    }
+We can now add a new rule to this ruleset thanks to the returned file
+descriptor referring to this ruleset.  The rule will only allow reading the
+file hierarchy ``/usr``.  Without another rule, write actions would then be
+denied by the ruleset.  To add ``/usr`` to the ruleset, we open it with the
+``O_PATH`` flag and fill the &struct landlock_path_beneath_attr with this file
+.. code-block:: c
+    int err;
+    struct landlock_path_beneath_attr path_beneath = {
+        .allowed_access =
+    };
+    path_beneath.parent_fd = open("/usr", O_PATH | O_CLOEXEC);
+    if (path_beneath.parent_fd < 0) {
+        perror("Failed to open file");
+        close(ruleset_fd);
+        return 1;
+    }
+    err = landlock_add_rule(ruleset_fd, LANDLOCK_RULE_PATH_BENEATH,
+                            &path_beneath, 0);
+    close(path_beneath.parent_fd);
+    if (err) {
+        perror("Failed to update ruleset");
+        close(ruleset_fd);
+        return 1;
+    }
+We now have a ruleset with one rule allowing read access to ``/usr`` while
+denying all other handled accesses for the filesystem.  The next step is to
+restrict the current thread from gaining more privileges (e.g. thanks to a SUID
+.. code-block:: c
+    if (prctl(PR_SET_NO_NEW_PRIVS, 1, 0, 0, 0)) {
+        perror("Failed to restrict privileges");
+        close(ruleset_fd);
+        return 1;
+    }
+The current thread is now ready to sandbox itself with the ruleset.
+.. code-block:: c
+    if (landlock_enforce_ruleset_self(ruleset_fd, 0)) {
+        perror("Failed to enforce ruleset");
+        close(ruleset_fd);
+        return 1;
+    }
+    close(ruleset_fd);
+If the `landlock_enforce_ruleset_self` system call succeeds, the current thread
+is now restricted and this policy will be enforced on all its subsequently
+created children as well.  Once a thread is landlocked, there is no way to
+remove its security policy; only adding more restrictions is allowed.  These
+threads are now in a new Landlock domain, merge of their parent one (if any)
+with the new ruleset.
+Full working code can be found in `samples/landlock/sandboxer.c`_.
+Layers of file path access rights
+Each time a thread enforces a ruleset on itself, it updates its Landlock domain
+with a new layer of policy.  Indeed, this complementary policy is stacked with
+the potentially other rulesets already restricting this thread.  A sandboxed
+thread can then safely add more constraints to itself with a new enforced
+One policy layer grants access to a file path if at least one of its rules
+encountered on the path grants the access.  A sandboxed thread can only access
+a file path if all its enforced policy layers grant the access as well as all
+the other system access controls (e.g. filesystem DAC, other LSM policies,
+Bind mounts and OverlayFS
+Landlock enables to restrict access to file hierarchies, which means that these
+access rights can be propagated with bind mounts (cf.
+:doc:`/filesystems/sharedsubtree`) but not with :doc:`/filesystems/overlayfs`.
+A bind mount mirrors a source file hierarchy to a destination.  The destination
+hierarchy is then composed of the exact same files, on which Landlock rules can
+be tied, either via the source or the destination path.  These rules restrict
+access when they are encountered on a path, which means that they can restrict
+access to multiple file hierarchies at the same time, whether these hierarchies
+are the result of bind mounts or not.
+An OverlayFS mount point consists of upper and lower layers.  These layers are
+combined in a merge directory, result of the mount point.  This merge hierarchy
+may include files from the upper and lower layers, but modifications performed
+on the merge hierarchy only reflects on the upper layer.  From a Landlock
+policy point of view, each OverlayFS layers and merge hierarchies are
+standalone and contains their own set of files and directories, which is
+different from bind mounts.  A policy restricting an OverlayFS layer will not
+restrict the resulted merged hierarchy, and vice versa.
+Every new thread resulting from a :manpage:`clone(2)` inherits Landlock domain
+restrictions from its parent.  This is similar to the seccomp inheritance (cf.
+:doc:`/userspace-api/seccomp_filter`) or any other LSM dealing with task's
+:manpage:`credentials(7)`.  For instance, one process's thread may apply
+Landlock rules to itself, but they will not be automatically applied to other
+sibling threads (unlike POSIX thread credential changes, cf.
+When a thread sandboxes itself, we have the guarantee that the related security
+policy will stay enforced on all this thread's descendants.  This allows
+creating standalone and modular security policies per application, which will
+automatically be composed between themselves according to their runtime parent
+Ptrace restrictions
+A sandboxed process has less privileges than a non-sandboxed process and must
+then be subject to additional restrictions when manipulating another process.
+To be allowed to use :manpage:`ptrace(2)` and related syscalls on a target
+process, a sandboxed process should have a subset of the target process rules,
+which means the tracee must be in a sub-domain of the tracer.
+Kernel interface
+Access rights
+.. kernel-doc:: include/uapi/linux/landlock.h
+    :identifiers: fs_access
+Creating a new ruleset
+.. kernel-doc:: security/landlock/syscalls.c
+    :identifiers: sys_landlock_create_ruleset
+.. kernel-doc:: include/uapi/linux/landlock.h
+    :identifiers: landlock_ruleset_attr
+Extending a ruleset
+.. kernel-doc:: security/landlock/syscalls.c
+    :identifiers: sys_landlock_add_rule
+.. kernel-doc:: include/uapi/linux/landlock.h
+    :identifiers: landlock_rule_type landlock_path_beneath_attr
+Enforcing a ruleset
+.. kernel-doc:: security/landlock/syscalls.c
+    :identifiers: sys_landlock_enforce_ruleset_self
+Current limitations
+Ruleset layers
+There is a limit of 64 layers of stacked rulesets.  This can be an issue for a
+task willing to enforce a new ruleset in complement to its 64 inherited
+rulesets.  Once this limit is reached, sys_landlock_enforce_ruleset_self()
+returns E2BIG.  It is then strongly suggested to carefully build rulesets once
+in the life of a thread, especially for applications able to launch other
+applications that may also want to sandbox themselves (e.g. shells, container
+managers, etc.).
+Memory usage
+Kernel memory allocated to create rulesets is accounted and can be restricted
+by the :doc:`/admin-guide/cgroup-v1/memory`.
+File renaming and linking
+Because Landlock targets unprivileged access controls, it is needed to properly
+handle composition of rules.  Such property also implies rules nesting.
+Properly handling multiple layers of ruleset, each one of them able to restrict
+access to files, also implies to inherit the ruleset restrictions from a parent
+to its hierarchy.  Because files are identified and restricted by their
+hierarchy, moving or linking a file from one directory to another implies to
+propagate the hierarchy constraints.  To protect against privilege escalations
+through renaming or linking, and for the sack of simplicity, Landlock currently
+limits linking and renaming to the same directory.  Future Landlock evolutions
+will enable more flexibility for renaming and linking, with dedicated ruleset
+Filesystem layout modification
+As for file renaming and linking, a sandboxed thread cannot modify its
+filesystem layout, whether via :manpage:`mount(2)` or :manpage:`pivot_root(2)`.
+However, :manpage:`chroot(2)` calls are not denied.
+Special filesystems
+Access to regular files and directories can be restricted by Landlock,
+according to the handled accesses of a ruleset.  However, files that do not
+come from a user-visible filesystem (e.g. pipe, socket), but can still be
+accessed through /proc/self/fd/, cannot currently be restricted.  Likewise,
+some special kernel filesystems such as nsfs, which can be accessed through
+/proc/self/ns/, cannot currently be restricted.  For now, these kind of special
+paths are then always allowed.  Future Landlock evolutions will enable to
+restrict such paths with dedicated ruleset flags.
+Questions and answers
+What about user space sandbox managers?
+Using user space process to enforce restrictions on kernel resources can lead
+to race conditions or inconsistent evaluations (i.e. `Incorrect mirroring of
+the OS code and state
+What about namespaces and containers?
+Namespaces can help create sandboxes but they are not designed for
+access-control and then miss useful features for such use case (e.g. no
+fine-grained restrictions).  Moreover, their complexity can lead to security
+issues, especially when untrusted processes can manipulate them (cf.
+`Controlling access to user namespaces <>`_).
+Additional documentation
+* :doc:`/security/landlock`
+.. Links
+.. _samples/landlock/sandboxer.c:
index 572e4288c60f..68276c73c33e 100644
@@ -9942,6 +9942,8 @@ L:
 S:	Supported
 T:	git
+F:	Documentation/security/landlock.rst
+F:	Documentation/userspace-api/landlock.rst
 F:	include/uapi/linux/landlock.h
 F:	security/landlock/
 K:	landlock

  parent reply	other threads:[~2021-01-21 21:16 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 17+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2021-01-21 20:51 [PATCH v27 00/12] Landlock LSM Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 01/12] landlock: Add object management Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 02/12] landlock: Add ruleset and domain management Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 03/12] landlock: Set up the security framework and manage credentials Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 04/12] landlock: Add ptrace restrictions Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 05/12] LSM: Infrastructure management of the superblock Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 06/12] fs,security: Add sb_delete hook Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 07/12] landlock: Support filesystem access-control Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-27 19:57   ` Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 08/12] landlock: Add syscall implementations Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-24 15:22   ` Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 09/12] arch: Wire up Landlock syscalls Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 10/12] selftests/landlock: Add user space tests Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` [PATCH v27 11/12] samples/landlock: Add a sandbox manager example Mickaël Salaün
2021-01-21 20:51 ` Mickaël Salaün [this message]
2021-01-22  8:33   ` [PATCH v27 12/12] landlock: Add user and kernel documentation Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)
2021-01-22 10:46     ` Mickaël Salaün

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