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Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2018 10:48:37 -0400
From: Rich Felker <dalias@...c.org>
To: "Perry E. Metzger" <perry@...rmont.com>
Cc: oss-security@...ts.openwall.com, Tavis Ormandy <taviso@...gle.com>,
	Bob Friesenhahn <bfriesen@...ple.dallas.tx.us>
Subject: Re: ghostscript: bypassing executeonly to escape
 -dSAFER sandbox (CVE-2018-17961)

On Wed, Oct 17, 2018 at 09:21:54AM -0400, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> On Wed, 17 Oct 2018 02:09:28 -0400 Rich Felker <dalias@...c.org>
> wrote:
> > > > > I keep wondering if there isn't a way to fully remove the
> > > > > dangerous bits from a postscript interpreter so it can _only_
> > > > > be used to view the document and literally has no file system
> > > > > access compiled in at all, so there's no way to touch the fs
> > > > > etc. regardless of what flags the interpreter is invoked with.
> > > > >
> > > > > (I, too, find removing the ability to look at historical
> > > > > postscript documents a bit more draconian than I like.)
> > > > >
> > > > >    
> > > > I've discussed it with upstream, it's a hard no because they
> > > > feel it would make ghostscript non-conforming (i.e.
> > > > non-conforming with the Adobe PostScript Language Reference
> > > > Manual)
> > > > 
> > > > We probably have similar thoughts on this, but that is the final
> > > > word from upstream.  
> > > 
> > > They wouldn't even support a compilation mode where if you #define
> > > the right thing those syscalls are cut out?
> > > 
> > > I don't care much about upstream's desires on this if they oppose
> > > that. I'd be happy to have patches that simply cut out the
> > > dangerous syscalls entirely. It's open source, that should be
> > > feasible.  
> > 
> > This. It's utterly ridiculous that the interpreter even has bindings
> > for accessing the filesystem and such. But I wonder if some of its
> > library routines (e.g. font loading) are implemented in Postscript,
> > using these bindings, rather than being implemented in C outside of
> > the language interpreter. If so it might be harder to extricate.
> > But I still think it's worthwhile to try. Once there are patches I
> > would expect all reasonable distros to start shipping with them,
> > and if upstream tries to make it hard, I would expect one of the
> > big distros to just fork and abandon upstream.
> 
> Does anyone other than Tavis know their way around the inside of the
> codebase? Perhaps we can collaborate on patches.

I don't, but one further idea that might appeal to upstream if they
want the fs bindings for the sake of executing ancient programs
written in postscript that operate on files: rather than binding to
actual fs operations on the host, implement a virtual filesystem
within the interpreter, and require explicit command line options to
import/export files from/to the real filesystem at entry/exit.

Rich

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