Openwall GNU/*/Linux - a small security-enhanced Linux distro for servers
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Tue, 22 May 2012 11:26:41 -0500
From: Will Drewry <>
To: Indan Zupancic <>
Cc: Roland McGrath <>, Eric Paris <>,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Subject: Re: seccomp and ptrace. what is the correct order?

On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 11:23 AM, Will Drewry <> wrote:
> On Mon, May 21, 2012 at 2:20 PM, Indan Zupancic <> wrote:
>> On Mon, May 21, 2012 20:25, Roland McGrath wrote:
>>> From a security perspective I think the natural expectation would be that
>>> the seccomp check is on the values that will actually be used, without an
>>> intervening opportunity to change anything.
>> Actually, considering a tracer has full control over a traced process,
>> it would make most sense from a security perspective to check both the
>> traced task's seccomp filter, as well as the one for the ptracer for
>> modified system calls (calls where any register poking at all was done).
>> Otherwise a task could bypass its own seccomp filter by ptracing a hapless
>> victim.
>> I mentioned this before, but I forgot why this option was dismissed.
>> Probably because ptrace shouldn't have been allowed by the filter in
>> the first place.
>> The current patch does the seccomp check first and ignores any changes
>> made via ptrace, just like the old seccomp did. So in that sense nothing
>> changed.
>> Originally the seccomp filter check was in the fast path, so doing it
>> after ptrace was tricky. But now it has been moved to the slow tracehook
>> path it can easily be checked after the ptrace notification. That would
>> change the behaviour SECCOMP_MODE=1 though, but probably nobody cares,
>> as it can be argued that that was a security hole anyway (except if
>> ptracing a seccomped task was disallowed, in which case moving it to
>> the end doesn't change anything anyway).
>> Another argument for moving it to the end is that it makes debugging
>> seccomped tasks a lot easier, because the debugger sees the denied
>> system call. With the current patch the tasks would silently die.
> I don't see this as a strict bypass because an successful attack would require:
> - the ability to fork/clone _and_ call ptrace (which would otherwise
> be blocked by the BPF if the user of the bpf cares)
> - the ability to compromise a process with ptrace abilities for a
> sandboxed process -- which means that a privilege escalation (in a
> word) has already occurred.
> However(!), if we did move secure_computing() to after ptrace _and_
> added a check after SECCOMP_RET_TRACE's ptrace_event call, we could
> ensure the system call was not changed by the tracer.  This would give
> strong assurances that whatever system call is executed was explicitly
> allowed by seccomp policy is the one that was executed.
> I'm open to either leaving things alone (since it isn't horrible) or

Let me rephrase :)  The current behavior makes sense for an inwardly
focused system. seccomp mode=1 and mode=2 are about the behavior of
the task they apply to.  In that regard, both modes block (or can
block) ptrace, which means that there is no way for them to exploit
this -- they are operating correctly.

The discussion we're having now is if that is the desirable behavior.
Do we want seccomp to be a system call contract between userspace and
the kernel for the task no matter what, or do we want it to be a
system call contract between the specific task's code and the kernel
(thereby allowing a tracer to make things act totally differently).

> making the change to tighten things up. Is the mode=1 behavior change
> acceptable?  I assumed it wouldn't be, but perhaps I shouldn't have
> made that assumption.
> Regardless, I will go ahead and make patches and test them for both,
> so they are on-hand regardless.
> thanks!
> will

Powered by blists - more mailing lists

Your e-mail address:

Confused about mailing lists and their use? Read about mailing lists on Wikipedia and check out these guidelines on proper formatting of your messages.