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SubjectRe: [PATCH 2/2] docs: security: update base LSM documentation file
On Wed, Sep 25, 2019 at 05:17:45PM +0700, bhenryj0117@gmail.com wrote:
> From: Brendan Jackman <bhenryj0117@gmail.com>
>
> I was bringing myself up to speed on LSMs and discovered that this
> base doc file is out of date. Unless I'm mistaken the "stacking"
> functionality is still in significant flux (and also I am of course a
> newbie here) so I haven't really _added_ any info, mainly this patch
> removes misleading bits and fixes rotten references.
>
> - Since commit b1d9e6b0646d ("LSM: Switch to lists of hooks") as
> part of the work helpfully summarised in [1], the LSM hooks are
> stored in a table of hlists, the security_ops structure is
> gone. The stacking of security modules no longer seems to be
> deferred to the module.
>
> - security_hooks_heads, née security_ops, doesn't have the
> sub-structures described here. The "future" flattening described
> here appears to have happened a long time ago (In my hasty git
> archaeology session I didn't find the old code at all).
>
> - There used to be a dummy LSM implementing "traditional superuser
> logic", with the "capability" LSM as an optional layer, but since
> commit 5915eb53861c ("security: remove dummy module") that is no
> longer the case.

Oh very nice; yes, thank you. This is all very out of date. Notes
below...

>
> [1] https://lwn.net/Articles/635771/
>
> Cc: Casey Schaufler <casey@schaufler-ca.com>
> Cc: Kees Cook <keescook@chromium.org>
> Cc: Jonathan Corbet <corbet@lwn.net>
> Signed-off-by: Brendan Jackman <bhenryj0117@gmail.com>
> ---
> Documentation/security/lsm.rst | 94 +++++++++++-----------------------
> 1 file changed, 31 insertions(+), 63 deletions(-)
>
> diff --git a/Documentation/security/lsm.rst b/Documentation/security/lsm.rst
> index aadf47c808c0..5048143d3656 100644
> --- a/Documentation/security/lsm.rst
> +++ b/Documentation/security/lsm.rst
> @@ -53,10 +53,8 @@ on supporting access control modules, although future development is
> likely to address other security needs such as auditing. By itself, the
> framework does not provide any additional security; it merely provides
> the infrastructure to support security modules. The LSM kernel patch
> -also moves most of the capabilities logic into an optional security
> -module, with the system defaulting to the traditional superuser logic.
> -This capabilities module is discussed further in
> -`LSM Capabilities Module`_.
> +also moves most of the capabilities logic into a security
> +module, discussed further in `LSM Capabilities Module`_.
>
> The LSM kernel patch adds security fields to kernel data structures and
> inserts calls to hook functions at critical points in the kernel code to
> @@ -84,19 +82,13 @@ were moved to header files (``include/linux/msg.h`` and
> ``include/linux/shm.h`` as appropriate) to allow the security modules to
> use these definitions.
>
> -Each LSM hook is a function pointer in a global table, security_ops.
> -This table is a :c:type:`struct security_operations
> -<security_operations>` structure as defined by
> -``include/linux/security.h``. Detailed documentation for each hook is
> -included in this header file. At present, this structure consists of a
> -collection of substructures that group related hooks based on the kernel
> -object (e.g. task, inode, file, sk_buff, etc) as well as some top-level
> -hook function pointers for system operations. This structure is likely
> -to be flattened in the future for performance. The placement of the hook
> -calls in the kernel code is described by the "called:" lines in the
> -per-hook documentation in the header file. The hook calls can also be
> -easily found in the kernel code by looking for the string
> -"security_ops->".
> +Each LSM hook is a function pointer within a ``hlist`` in a global
> +table, ``security_hook_heads``. This table is a :c:type:`struct
> +security_hook_heads <security_hook_heads>` structure as defined by
> +``include/linux/lsm_hooks.h``. Detailed documentation for each hook
> +is included in this header file. The placement of the hook calls in
> +the kernel code is described by the "called:" lines in the per-hook
> +documentation in the header file.
>
> Linus mentioned per-process security hooks in his original remarks as a
> possible alternative to global security hooks. However, if LSM were to
> @@ -107,64 +99,40 @@ controlling the operation. This would require a general mechanism for
> composing hooks in the base framework. Additionally, LSM would still
> need global hooks for operations that have no process context (e.g.
> network input operations). Consequently, LSM provides global security
> -hooks, but a security module is free to implement per-process hooks
> -(where that makes sense) by storing a security_ops table in each
> -process' security field and then invoking these per-process hooks from
> -the global hooks. The problem of composition is thus deferred to the
> -module.
> -
> -The global security_ops table is initialized to a set of hook functions
> -provided by a dummy security module that provides traditional superuser
> -logic. A :c:func:`register_security()` function (in
> -``security/security.c``) is provided to allow a security module to set
> -security_ops to refer to its own hook functions, and an
> -:c:func:`unregister_security()` function is provided to revert
> -security_ops to the dummy module hooks. This mechanism is used to set
> -the primary security module, which is responsible for making the final
> -decision for each hook.
> -
> -LSM also provides a simple mechanism for stacking additional security
> -modules with the primary security module. It defines
> -:c:func:`register_security()` and
> -:c:func:`unregister_security()` hooks in the :c:type:`struct
> -security_operations <security_operations>` structure and
> -provides :c:func:`mod_reg_security()` and
> -:c:func:`mod_unreg_security()` functions that invoke these hooks
> -after performing some sanity checking. A security module can call these
> -functions in order to stack with other modules. However, the actual
> -details of how this stacking is handled are deferred to the module,
> -which can implement these hooks in any way it wishes (including always
> -returning an error if it does not wish to support stacking). In this
> -manner, LSM again defers the problem of composition to the module.
> -
> -Although the LSM hooks are organized into substructures based on kernel
> -object, all of the hooks can be viewed as falling into two major
> +hooks, but a security module is free to implement per-process logic
> +(where that makes sense) by storing a blob in each
> +process' security field.
> +
> +Some LSMs can be "stacked" meaning multiple LSMs' hooks can be called
> +sequentially, while others are "exclusive" - see
> +LSM_FLAG_EXCLUSIVE. The "capability" LSM is built in with
> +CONFIG_SECURITY and provides POSIX.1e capability functionality; this
> +always appears first in the stack of LSM hooks. A
> +:c:func:`security_add_hooks()` function (in ``security/security.c``)

IIUC, the :c:func:`...()` marking isn't needed any more, just having a
word followed by "()" should trigger the markup.

> +is provided to allow a security module to add its hooks to the table;
> +this is typically called from the LSM's ``.init`` hook which is
> +called during LSM core initialisation.
> +
> +All of the hooks can be viewed as falling into two major
> categories: hooks that are used to manage the security fields and hooks
> that are used to perform access control. Examples of the first category
> -of hooks include the :c:func:`alloc_security()` and
> -:c:func:`free_security()` hooks defined for each kernel data
> +of hooks include the ``*_alloc_security()`` and
> +``*_free_security()`` hooks defined for each kernel data

Some of these are going away in favor of the "blobs" member of struct
lsm_info. Casey might have more to say on the plans here.

> structure that has a security field. These hooks are used to allocate
> and free security structures for kernel objects. The first category of
> hooks also includes hooks that set information in the security field
> -after allocation, such as the :c:func:`post_lookup()` hook in
> -:c:type:`struct inode_security_ops <inode_security_ops>`.
> +after allocation, such as the :c:func:`inode_post_setxattr()` hook.
> This hook is used to set security information for inodes after
> -successful lookup operations. An example of the second category of hooks
> -is the :c:func:`permission()` hook in :c:type:`struct
> -inode_security_ops <inode_security_ops>`. This hook checks
> +successful setxattr operations. An example of the second category of
> +hooks is :c:func:`inode_permission()`. This hook checks
> permission when accessing an inode.

Casey, what do you think of the wording here? It's certainly better than
before, but maybe it should be further improved?

>
> LSM Capabilities Module
> =======================
>
> The LSM kernel patch moves most of the existing POSIX.1e capabilities
> -logic into an optional security module stored in the file
> -``security/capability.c``. This change allows users who do not want to
> -use capabilities to omit this code entirely from their kernel, instead
> -using the dummy module for traditional superuser logic or any other
> -module that they desire. This change also allows the developers of the
> -capabilities logic to maintain and enhance their code more freely,
> -without needing to integrate patches back into the base kernel.
> +logic into a security module stored in the file
> +``security/capability.c``.
>
> In addition to moving the capabilities logic, the LSM kernel patch could
> move the capability-related fields from the kernel data structures into
> --
> 2.22.1
>

All my comments are basically nit-picks. :) This patch is already a nice
improvement over what's already there. Thanks!

--
Kees Cook

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