Openwall GNU/*/Linux - a small security-enhanced Linux distro for servers
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Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2017 11:17:51 -0600
From: "Serge E. Hallyn" <serge@...lyn.com>
To: Theodore Ts'o <tytso@....edu>, "Serge E. Hallyn" <serge@...lyn.com>,
	David Miller <davem@...emloft.net>, gnomes@...rguk.ukuu.org.uk,
	keescook@...omium.org, mcgrof@...nel.org, tixxdz@...il.com,
	luto@...nel.org, akpm@...ux-foundation.org,
	james.l.morris@...cle.com, ben.hutchings@...ethink.co.uk,
	solar@...nwall.com, jeyu@...nel.org, rusty@...tcorp.com.au,
	linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org, linux-security-module@...r.kernel.org,
	kernel-hardening@...ts.openwall.com, corbet@....net,
	mingo@...nel.org, netdev@...r.kernel.org, peterz@...radead.org,
	torvalds@...ux-foundation.org
Subject: Re: [PATCH v5 next 1/5] modules:capabilities: add
 request_module_cap()

On Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 07:35:31PM -0500, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 11:28:52AM -0600, Serge E. Hallyn wrote:
> > 
> > Just to be clear, module loading requires - and must always continue to
> > require - CAP_SYS_MODULE against the initial user namespace.  Containers
> > in user namespaces do not have that.
> > 
> > I don't believe anyone has ever claimed that containers which are not in
> > a user namespace are in any way secure.
> 
> Unless the container performs some action which causes the kernel to
> call request_module(), which then loads some kernel module,

A local unprivileged user can do the same thing.  I reject the popular
notion that linux is a single user operating system.  More interesting
are the (very real) cases where root in a container can do something
which a local unprivileged user could not do.  Since a local unprivileged
user can always create a new namespace, *those* constitute a real and
interesting problem.

> potentially containing cr*p unmaintained code which was included when
> the distro compiled the world, into the host kernel.

> This is an attack vector that doesn't exist if you are using VM's.

Until the vm tenant uses a trivial vm escape.

> And in general, the attack surface of the entire Linux
> kernel<->userspace API is far larger than that which is exposed by the
> guest<->host interface.
> 
> For that reason, containers are *far* more insecure than VM's, since
> once the attacker gets root on the guest VM, they then have to attack
> the hypervisor interface.  And if you compare the attack surface of
> the two, it's pretty clear which is larger, and it's not the
> hypervisor interface.

Any time anyone spends a day looking at either the black hole that is
the hardware emulators or the xen and kvm code itself they walk away
with a set of cve's.  It *should* be more secure, it's not.  You're
telling me your house is safe because you put up a no tresspassing
sign.

-serge

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