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SubjectRe: [PATCH 4/4] ubifs: Implement new mount option, fscrypt_key_required
On Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 04:15:11PM -0700, James Bottomley wrote:
> On Thu, 2019-03-14 at 18:15 +0100, Richard Weinberger wrote:
> > Usually fscrypt allows limited access to encrypted files even
> > if no key is available.
> > Encrypted filenames are shown and based on this names users
> > can unlink and move files.
> Shouldn't they be able to read/write and create as well (all with the
> ciphertext name and contents, of course) ... otherwise how does backup
> of encrypted files by admin without the key ever work?

That's not currently supported. Michael Halcrow and I worked out some
designs on how to do this, and I even had some prototype patches, but
it's really, really, messy, and requires a lot of complex machinations
in userspace on the save *and* restore, since there's a lot of crypto
metadata that has to be saved, and you have to handle backing up the
directory per-file keys, and restoring them when you recreate the
directory on a restore, etc.

The simpler approach would have allowed backup of encrypted files
without the key, but would require the user's key to do the restore,
and if we ever actually tried to get this feature supported, that's
the approach I'd suggest.

The fundamental reason why we never went did anything with this was
that the original use case of fscrypt was for Chrome OS, where the
original design premise was that you don't need to do backups, since
everything is in the cloud. A video from 2010:

And with Android, backups happen automatically while you have the
encryption key.

There was talk about using fscrypt for Ubuntu desktops as an ecryptfs
replacement, and in that case, we would have use case that would have
required backups of a shared desktop where you don't have all of the
encryption keys for all of the users. Maybe someday as a Google
Summer of Code project or maybe if some potential corporate user of
fscrypt would be willing to fund the necessary engineering work?

But again, I'll repeat this because it's so important: In the vast
majority of cases, including single-user laptops, desktops, etc., the
real right answer is dm-crypt and *not* fscrypt. Especially since
time-sharing systems are *so* 1980's. :-)

So I don't use fscrypt on my upstream development laptop (except for
testing purposes) because it's simply not the right tool for the job.

- Ted

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