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From: Aaron Goidel <>
To: Paul Moore <>, Stephen Smalley <>
Cc:,,,,,, James Morris <>,,
	Casey Schaufler <>
Subject: Re: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [PATCH v2] fanotify, inotify, dnotify, security: add security hook for fs notifications
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2019 11:16:01 -0400
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On 8/12/19 11:06 AM, Paul Moore wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 9, 2019 at 2:14 PM Aaron Goidel <> wrote:
>> As of now, setting watches on filesystem objects has, at most, applied a
>> check for read access to the inode, and in the case of fanotify, requires
>> CAP_SYS_ADMIN. No specific security hook or permission check has been
>> provided to control the setting of watches. Using any of inotify, dnotify,
>> or fanotify, it is possible to observe, not only write-like operations, but
>> even read access to a file. Modeling the watch as being merely a read from
>> the file is insufficient for the needs of SELinux. This is due to the fact
>> that read access should not necessarily imply access to information about
>> when another process reads from a file. Furthermore, fanotify watches grant
>> more power to an application in the form of permission events. While
>> notification events are solely, unidirectional (i.e. they only pass
>> information to the receiving application), permission events are blocking.
>> Permission events make a request to the receiving application which will
>> then reply with a decision as to whether or not that action may be
>> completed. This causes the issue of the watching application having the
>> ability to exercise control over the triggering process. Without drawing a
>> distinction within the permission check, the ability to read would imply
>> the greater ability to control an application. Additionally, mount and
>> superblock watches apply to all files within the same mount or superblock.
>> Read access to one file should not necessarily imply the ability to watch
>> all files accessed within a given mount or superblock.
>> In order to solve these issues, a new LSM hook is implemented and has been
>> placed within the system calls for marking filesystem objects with inotify,
>> fanotify, and dnotify watches. These calls to the hook are placed at the
>> point at which the target path has been resolved and are provided with the
>> path struct, the mask of requested notification events, and the type of
>> object on which the mark is being set (inode, superblock, or mount). The
>> mask and obj_type have already been translated into common FS_* values
>> shared by the entirety of the fs notification infrastructure. The path
>> struct is passed rather than just the inode so that the mount is available,
>> particularly for mount watches. This also allows for use of the hook by
>> pathname-based security modules. However, since the hook is intended for
>> use even by inode based security modules, it is not placed under the
>> CONFIG_SECURITY_PATH conditional. Otherwise, the inode-based security
>> modules would need to enable all of the path hooks, even though they do not
>> use any of them.
>> This only provides a hook at the point of setting a watch, and presumes
>> that permission to set a particular watch implies the ability to receive
>> all notification about that object which match the mask. This is all that
>> is required for SELinux. If other security modules require additional hooks
>> or infrastructure to control delivery of notification, these can be added
>> by them. It does not make sense for us to propose hooks for which we have
>> no implementation. The understanding that all notifications received by the
>> requesting application are all strictly of a type for which the application
>> has been granted permission shows that this implementation is sufficient in
>> its coverage.
>> Security modules wishing to provide complete control over fanotify must
>> also implement a security_file_open hook that validates that the access
>> requested by the watching application is authorized. Fanotify has the issue
>> that it returns a file descriptor with the file mode specified during
>> fanotify_init() to the watching process on event. This is already covered
>> by the LSM security_file_open hook if the security module implements
>> checking of the requested file mode there. Otherwise, a watching process
>> can obtain escalated access to a file for which it has not been authorized.
>> The selinux_path_notify hook implementation works by adding five new file
>> permissions: watch, watch_mount, watch_sb, watch_reads, and watch_with_perm
>> (descriptions about which will follow), and one new filesystem permission:
>> watch (which is applied to superblock checks). The hook then decides which
>> subset of these permissions must be held by the requesting application
>> based on the contents of the provided mask and the obj_type. The
>> selinux_file_open hook already checks the requested file mode and therefore
>> ensures that a watching process cannot escalate its access through
>> fanotify.
>> The watch, watch_mount, and watch_sb permissions are the baseline
>> permissions for setting a watch on an object and each are a requirement for
>> any watch to be set on a file, mount, or superblock respectively. It should
>> be noted that having either of the other two permissions (watch_reads and
>> watch_with_perm) does not imply the watch, watch_mount, or watch_sb
>> permission. Superblock watches further require the filesystem watch
>> permission to the superblock. As there is no labeled object in view for
>> mounts, there is no specific check for mount watches beyond watch_mount to
>> the inode. Such a check could be added in the future, if a suitable labeled
>> object existed representing the mount.
>> The watch_reads permission is required to receive notifications from
>> read-exclusive events on filesystem objects. These events include accessing
>> a file for the purpose of reading and closing a file which has been opened
>> read-only. This distinction has been drawn in order to provide a direct
>> indication in the policy for this otherwise not obvious capability. Read
>> access to a file should not necessarily imply the ability to observe read
>> events on a file.
>> Finally, watch_with_perm only applies to fanotify masks since it is the
>> only way to set a mask which allows for the blocking, permission event.
>> This permission is needed for any watch which is of this type. Though
>> fanotify requires CAP_SYS_ADMIN, this is insufficient as it gives implicit
>> trust to root, which we do not do, and does not support least privilege.
>> Signed-off-by: Aaron Goidel <>
>> Acked-by: Casey Schaufler <>
>> ---
>> v2:
>>    - move initialization of obj_type up to remove duplicate work
>>    - convert inotify and fanotify flags to common FS_* flags
>>   fs/notify/dnotify/dnotify.c         | 15 +++++++--
>>   fs/notify/fanotify/fanotify_user.c  | 19 ++++++++++--
>>   fs/notify/inotify/inotify_user.c    | 14 +++++++--
>>   include/linux/lsm_hooks.h           |  9 +++++-
>>   include/linux/security.h            | 10 ++++--
>>   security/security.c                 |  6 ++++
>>   security/selinux/hooks.c            | 47 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
>>   security/selinux/include/classmap.h |  5 +--
>>   8 files changed, 113 insertions(+), 12 deletions(-)
> ...
>> diff --git a/security/selinux/hooks.c b/security/selinux/hooks.c
>> index f77b314d0575..a47376d1c924 100644
>> --- a/security/selinux/hooks.c
>> +++ b/security/selinux/hooks.c
>> @@ -3261,6 +3263,50 @@ static int selinux_inode_removexattr(struct dentry *dentry, const char *name)
>>          return -EACCES;
>>   }
>> +static int selinux_path_notify(const struct path *path, u64 mask,
>> +                                               unsigned int obj_type)
>> +{
>> +       int ret;
>> +       u32 perm;
>> +
>> +       struct common_audit_data ad;
>> +
>> +       ad.type = LSM_AUDIT_DATA_PATH;
>> +       ad.u.path = *path;
>> +
>> +       /*
>> +        * Set permission needed based on the type of mark being set.
>> +        * Performs an additional check for sb watches.
>> +        */
>> +       switch (obj_type) {
>> +               perm = FILE__WATCH_MOUNT;
>> +               break;
>> +       case FSNOTIFY_OBJ_TYPE_SB:
>> +               perm = FILE__WATCH_SB;
>> +               ret = superblock_has_perm(current_cred(), path->dentry->d_sb,
>> +                                               FILESYSTEM__WATCH, &ad);
>> +               if (ret)
>> +                       return ret;
>> +               break;
>> +       case FSNOTIFY_OBJ_TYPE_INODE:
>> +               perm = FILE__WATCH;
>> +               break;
>> +       default:
>> +               return -EINVAL;
>> +       }
> Sigh.
> Remember when I said "Don't respin the patch just for this, but if you
> have to do it for some other reason please fix the C++ style
> comments."?  In this particular case it is a small thing, but a
> failure to incorporate all the feedback is one of the things that
> really annoys me (mostly because it makes me worry about other things
> that may have been missed).  It isn't as bad as submitting code which
> doesn't compile, but it's a close second.
> At this point I'm going to ask you to respin the patch to get rid of
> those C++ style comments.  I'm also going to get a bit more nitpicky
> about those comments too (more comments below).
>> +       // check if the mask is requesting ability to set a blocking watch
>> +       if (mask & (ALL_FSNOTIFY_PERM_EVENTS))
>> +               perm |= FILE__WATCH_WITH_PERM; // if so, check that permission
> What is the point of that trailing comment "if so, check that
> permission"?  Given the code, and the comment two lines above this
> seems obvious, does it not?  If you want to keep it, that's fine with
> me, but let's combine the two comments so they read a bit better, for
> example:
>    /* blocking watches require the file:watch_with_perm permission */
>    if (...)
>      perm |= FILE__WATCH_WITH_PERM;
>> +       // is the mask asking to watch file reads?
>> +       if (mask & (FS_ACCESS | FS_ACCESS_PERM | FS_CLOSE_NOWRITE))
>> +               perm |= FILE__WATCH_READS; // check that permission as well
> Here the "check that permission as well" adds no additional useful
> information, it's just noise in the code, drop it from the patch.
> I am a believer in the old advice that good comments explain *why* the
> code is doing something, where bad comments explain *what* the code is
> doing.  I would kindly ask that you keep that in mind when submitting
> future SELinux patches.

I was so focused on Amir's comments that it didn't occur to me to 
include the comment changes in that patch, expect a new version to 
follow very shortly. My bad.


      reply index

Thread overview: 4+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2019-08-09 18:14 Aaron Goidel
2019-08-12 14:06 ` Jan Kara
2019-08-12 15:06 ` Paul Moore
2019-08-12 15:16   ` Aaron Goidel [this message]

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