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Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2017 17:39:13 -0600
From: "Serge E. Hallyn" <>
To: Boris Lukashev <>
Cc: "Serge E. Hallyn" <>,
	Daniel Micay <>,
	Mahesh Bandewar (महेश बंडेवार) <>,
	Mahesh Bandewar <>,
	LKML <>,
	Netdev <>,
	Kernel-hardening <>,
	Linux API <>,
	Kees Cook <>,
	"Eric W . Biederman" <>,
	Eric Dumazet <>,
	David Miller <>
Subject: Re: Re: [PATCH resend 2/2] userns: control
 capabilities of some user namespaces

Quoting Boris Lukashev (
> On Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 5:14 PM, Serge E. Hallyn <> wrote:
> > Quoting Daniel Micay (
> >> Substantial added attack surface will never go away as a problem. There
> >> aren't a finite number of vulnerabilities to be found.
> >
> > There's varying levels of usefulness and quality.  There is code which I
> > want to be able to use in a container, and code which I can't ever see a
> > reason for using there.  The latter, especially if it's also in a
> > staging driver, would be nice to have a toggle to disable.
> >
> > You're not advocating dropping the added attack surface, only adding a
> > way of dealing with an 0day after the fact.  Privilege raising 0days can
> > exist anywhere, not just in code which only root in a user namespace can
> > exercise.  So from that point of view, ksplice seems a more complete
> > solution.  Why not just actually fix the bad code block when we know
> > about it?
> >
> > Finally, it has been well argued that you can gain many new caps from
> > having only a few others.  Given that, how could you ever be sure that,
> > if an 0day is found which allows root in a user ns to abuse
> > CAP_NET_ADMIN against the host, just keeping CAP_NET_ADMIN from them
> > would suffice?  It seems to me that the existing control in
> > /proc/sys/kernel/unprivileged_userns_clone might be the better duct tape
> > in that case.
> >
> > -serge
> This seems to be heading toward "we need full zones in Linux" with
> their own procfs and sysfs namespace and a stricter isolation model
> for resources and capabilities. So long as things can happen in a
> namespace which have a privileged relationship with host resources,
> this is going to be cat-and-mouse to one degree or another.
> Containers and namespaces dont have a one-to-one relationship, so i'm
> not sure that's the best term to use in the kernel security context

Sorry - what's not the best term to use?

> since there's a bunch of userspace and implementation delta across the
> different systems (with their own security models and so forth).
> Without accounting for what a specific implementation may or may not
> do, and only looking at "how do we reduce privileged impact on parent
> context from unprivileged namespaces," this patch does seem to provide
> a logical way of reducing the privileges available in such a namespace
> and often needed to mount escapes/impact parent context.

What different implementations do is irrelevant - as an unprivileged user
I can always, with no help, create a new user namespace mapping my current
uid to root, and exercise this code.  So the security model implemented
by a particular userspace namespace-using driver doesn't matter, as it
only restricts me if I choose to use it.

But, I guess you're actually saying that some program might know that it
should never use network code so want to drop CAP_NET_*?  And you're
saying that a "global capability bounding set" might be useful?

Would it be better to actually implement it as a new bounding set that
is maintained across user namespace creations, but is per-task (inherted
by children of course)?  Instead of a sysctl?


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