linux-security-module November 2007 archive
Main Archive Page > Month Archives  > linux-security-module archives
linux-security-module: Re: [PATCH 1/1] capabilities: introduce p

Re: [PATCH 1/1] capabilities: introduce per-process capability bounding set (v8)

From: Andrew Morgan <morgan_at_nospam>
Date: Thu Nov 22 2007 - 07:10:13 GMT
To: "Serge E. Hallyn" <>

Hash: SHA1

Serge E. Hallyn wrote:
> I worry that what you have is just a *touch* too busy so whoever adds
> capability #32 might forget to update CAP_NUM_CAPS, but it looks like
> #define cap_valid(x) ((x) >= 0 && (x) <= CAP_LAST_CAP)
> should also be ok for libcap.

FWIW libcap computes the upper limit itself in the process of consuming all that sed'ed stuff. You do need it for the kernel, and this seems like a fine mechanism. >>> +long cap_prctl_drop(unsigned long cap) >>> +{ >>> + if (!capable(CAP_SETPCAP)) >>> + return -EPERM; >>> + if (!cap_valid(cap)) >>> + return -EINVAL; >>> + cap_lower(current->cap_bset, cap); >> I think the following lines are overkill. Basically, the next exec() >> will perform the pP/pE clipping, and cap_bset should only interact with >> fP (and not fI). >> >> We already have a mechanism to manipulate pI, which in turn gates fI. >> And this same mechanism (libcap) can clip pE, pP if it is needed pre-exec(). >> >> So, if you want to drop a capability irrevocably, you drop it in bset, >> and separately in pI. The current process may continue to have the >> capability, but post-exec the working process tree has lost it. For >> things like login, this is desirable.
> Ok...
> I think this makes sense. It seems pretty subtle and complicated, and
> therefore I'm a little worried that it will be fragile against future
> code changes. Someone will think it's a good idea to slightly change
> the capset() semantics and only a year later will we realize that the
> bounding set is no longer working...

We'll have to be diligent then :-) In truth, the whole model is not entirely unsubtle.

> So this will all have to be very well documented (and tested).
> (Actually I notice that capabilities(7) manpage isn't in the libcap
> sources. So an update to that is probably long overdue...)

I don't believe it ever was. So far as I can tell this file has had its own life as part of the 'manpages' package. >> This also makes it possible for you to allow pI to have a capability >> otherwise banned in cap_bset which is useful with limited role accounts.
> Yeah... so the way you'd see this happening, I assume, is that
> 1. login would keep some capset in pI for user hallyn,

The pam_cap module in the libcap2 tree already does the pI part of this via libcap (and I intend adding this prctl/cap_bset support in libcap and that module too).

> 2. so if /bin/foo had some nonempty fI, hallyn could run
> /bin/foo with cap_intersect(pI|fI)?

Yes. The inheritable set is precisely for supporting role-account things like this, but unlike the superuser concept (any app can be run with privilege), the application needs to be prepared to wield them - via its fI bits - before the capabilities are available.

> So now the bounding set would place a restriction on what /bin/login in
> some container could leave in hallyn's pI.

To be clear, I'm saying that cap_bset will limit what a process can 'add' to the pre-existing pI set, and not what can be 'left in' there. That is, if pI contains something not present in cap_bset, it will survive unless some process drops it.

For completeness, without this new check: >> You might want to replace the above three lines with a restriction >> elsewhere on what CAP_SETPCAP can newly set in >> commoncap.c:cap_capset_check().

it was possible to subvert the bounding set (in your container, but more generally in any process tree) as follows:

capbound drop cap_net_raw
noraw> cp /bin/ping evil-ping
noraw> cc evil-shell.c -o evil-shell

   <since you've not dropped cap_setfcap, the following will work> noraw> sudo /sbin/setcap cap_setpcap=pe evil-shell noraw> sudo /sbin/setcap cap_net_raw=ie evil-ping noraw> ./evil-shell

<evil-shell uses CAP_SETPCAP to raise pI=CAP_NET_RAW>

       evil> ./evil-ping


Version: GnuPG v1.2.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFHRStSQheEq9QabfIRAqo8AJ9wr+h0bTHgp7iT5fI2lYmuKKa75wCffMsT Q7y/JN4NuImodhYvm5mvGwY=
To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-security-module" in the body of a message to More majordomo info at