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Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2017 15:19:13 -0800
From: Kees Cook <>
To: Linus Torvalds <>
Cc: Djalal Harouni <>, Andy Lutomirski <>, 
	Andrew Morton <>, "Luis R. Rodriguez" <>, 
	James Morris <>, Ben Hutchings <>, 
	Solar Designer <>, Serge Hallyn <>, Jessica Yu <>, 
	Rusty Russell <>, 
	Linux Kernel Mailing List <>, 
	LSM List <>, 
	"" <>, Jonathan Corbet <>, 
	Ingo Molnar <>, "David S. Miller" <>, 
	Network Development <>, Peter Zijlstra <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v5 next 5/5] net: modules: use request_module_cap() to
 load 'netdev-%s' modules

On Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 3:14 PM, Linus Torvalds
<> wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 2:59 PM, Kees Cook <> wrote:
>> I don't disagree that a global should be avoided, but I'm struggling
>> to see another option here. We can't break userspace by default so we
>> can't restrict cap-less loading by default. But we can allow userspace
>> to _choose_ to break itself, especially within a container. This isn't
>> uncommon, especially for modules, where we even have the global
>> "modules_disabled" sysctl already. The level of granularity of control
>> here is the issue, and it's what this series solves.
> So there's two "global" here
>  - if a container were to choose to break itself, it should damn well
> be container-specific, not some global option
>    This part seems to be ok in the patch series, since the "global" is
> really per-task. So it's not global in the "system-wide" sense.
>  - if _one_ request_module() caller were to say "I don't want to be
> loaded by a normal user", that doesn't mean that _other_
> request_module() cases shouldn't.
>    This is the part I'm objecting to, because it means that we can't
> enable this stricter policy by default.
> And the thing is, the patch series seems to already introduce largely
> the better model of just making it site-specific. Introducing that
> request_module_cap() thing and then using it for networking is a good
> step.
> But I also suspect that we _could_ just make the stricter rules
> actually be default, if we just fixed the thing up to not be "every
> request_module() is the same".
> For example, several request_module() calls come from device node
> opens, and it makes sense that we can just say: "if you have access to
> the device node, then you have the right to request the module".
> But that would need to be not a global "request_module()" behavior,
> but a behavior that is tied to the particular call-site.
> IOW, extend on that request_module_cap() model, and introduce
> (perhaps) a "request_module_dev()" call that basically means "the user
> opened the device node for the requested module".
> Because those kinds of permissions aren't necessarily about
> capabilities, but about things like "I'm in the dialout group, I get
> to open tty devices and by implication request their modules".
> And that _really_ isn't global behavior.  The fact that I might be
> able to load a serial; module has *nothing* to do with whether I can
> load some other kind of module at all.
> That global mode is just wrong.

What about exporting this entirely to userspace, giving it as much
context as possible? i.e. inform modprobe about the user doing it,
maybe the subsystem, etc?


Kees Cook
Pixel Security

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