[RFC][PATCH] security: Make the selinux setxattr and removexattr hooks behave

Eric W. Biederman ebiederm at xmission.com
Mon Oct 2 03:26:45 UTC 2017

Stephen Smalley <sds at tycho.nsa.gov> writes:

> On Thu, 2017-09-28 at 17:34 -0500, Eric W. Biederman wrote:
>> It looks like once upon a time a long time ago selinux copied code
>> from cap_inode_removexattr and cap_inode_setxattr into
>> selinux_inode_setotherxattr.  However the code has now diverged and
>> selinux is implementing a policy that is quite different than
>> cap_inode_setxattr and cap_inode_removexattr especially when it comes
>> to the security.capable xattr.
>> To keep things working and to make the comments in
>> security/security.c
>> correct when the xattr is securit.capable, call cap_inode_setxattr
>> or cap_inode_removexattr as appropriate.
>> I suspect there is a larger conversation to be had here but this
>> is enough to keep selinux from implementing a non-sense hard coded
>> policy that breaks other parts of the kernel.
> Originally SELinux called the cap functions directly since there was no
> stacking support in the infrastructure and one had to manually stack a
> secondary module internally.  inode_setxattr and inode_removexattr
> however were special cases because the cap functions would check
> CAP_SYS_ADMIN for any non-capability attributes in the security.*
> namespace, and we don't want to impose that requirement on setting
> security.selinux.  Thus, we inlined the capabilities logic into the
> selinux hook functions and adapted it appropriately.  When the stacking
> support was introduced, it had to also special case these hooks so that
> only the primary module's hook is used for the same reason; otherwise,
> the kernel would end up applying a CAP_SYS_ADMIN check on setting
> security.selinux.  Your change below is almost but not quite right
> since it only calls the cap functions when setting the capability
> attribute; the residual problem is that it will then skip the SELinux
> FILE__SETATTR (file setattr) permission check when setting those
> attributes, which we want to retain.  So you need to only return early
> if cap_inode_setxattr()/removexattr() return an error; otherwise, you
> need to proceed to the SELinux check, and you can then delete the
> duplicated logic from selinux_inode_setotherxattr().  At which point it
> just becomes a call to dentry_has_perm() and you can just inline that
> into selinux_inode_setxattr() and selinux_inode_removexattr().

I will look at that.

Thank you,

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