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Re: [Qemu-devel] RFC: How to make seccomp reliable and useful ?

From: Eduardo Otubo
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] RFC: How to make seccomp reliable and useful ?
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:36:51 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.24 (2015-08-30)

On Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 06=27=32PM +0000, Daniel P. Berrange wrote:
> The current impl of seccomp in QEMU is intentionally allowing a huge range
> of system calls to be executed. The goal was that running '-sandbox on'
> should never break any feature of QEMU, so naturally any syscall that can
> executed on any codepath QEMU takes must be allowed.
> This is good for usability because users don't need to understand the 
> technical
> details of the sandbox technology, they merely say "on" and it "just works".
> Conversely though, this is bad for security because QEMU has to allow a huge
> range of system calls to be used due to its broad functionality.
> During initial discussions for seccomp back in 2012 it was suggested, there
> might be alternate policies developed for QEMU which deny some features, but
> improve security overall. To best of my knowledge, this has never been 
> discussed
> again since then.
> In addition, since initially merging, there has been a steady stream of 
> patches
> to whitelist further syscalls that were missing. Some of these were missing 
> due
> to newly added functionality in QEMU since the original seccomp impl, while
> others have been missing since day 1. It is reasonable to expect that there 
> are
> still many syscalls missing in the whitelist. In just a couple of minutes of
> comparing the whitelist vs global syscall list it was possible to identify two
> further missing syscalls. The '-netdev bridge,br=virbr0' network backend fails
> because setuid is blocked, preventing execution of the qemu-bridge-helper
> program. If built against glibc < 2.9, or running on kernel < 2.6.27 it will
> fail to call eventfd() because we only permit eventfd2() syscall, not the
> older eventfd() syscall used on older Linux. Some ifup scripts used with the
> -netdev arg may also break due to lack of chmod, flock, getxattr permissions.
> This risk of missing syscalls is why -sandbox defaults to off, and we've never
> considered defaulting it to on.
> The fundamental problem is that building a whitelist of syscalls used by QEMU
> emulators is an intractable problem. QEMU on my system links to 183 different
> shared libraries and there is no way in the world that anyone can figure out
> which code paths QEMU triggers in these libraries and thus identify which
> syscalls will be genuinely needed.
> Thus a whitelist based approach for QEMU is doomed to always be missing some
> syscalls, resulting in uneccessary abrts of QEMU when it tickles some edge
> case. If you are lucky the abort() happens at startup so you see it quickly
> and can address it. If you are unlucky the abort() happens after your VM has
> been running for days/week/months and you loose data.
> IOW, seccomp integration as it currently exists today in QEMU offers minimal
> security benefits, while at the same time causing spurious crashes which may
> cause user data loss from aborting a running VM, discouraging users from using
> even the minimal protection it offers.
> I think we need to rework our seccomp support so that we can have a high 
> enough
> level of confidence in it, that it could be enabled by default. At the same 
> time
> we need to make it do something more tangibly useful from a security POV.
> First we need to admit that whitelisting is a failed approach, and switch to
> using blacklisting. Unless we do this, we'll never have high enough confidence
> to enable it by default - something that's never turned on might as well not
> exist at all.
> There is a reasonable easily identifiable set of syscalls that QEMU should
> never be permitted to use, no matter what configuration it is in, what helpers
> it spawns, or what libraries it links to. eg reboot, swapon, swapoff,  syslog,
> mount, unmount, kexec_*, etc - any syscall that affects global system state,
> rather than process local state should be forbidden.
> There are some syscalls that are simply hardcoded to return ENOSYS which can
> be trivially blacklisted. afs_syscall, break, fattach, ftime, etc (see the
> man page 'unimplemented(2)').
> There are some syscalls which are considered obsolete - they were previously
> useful, but no modern code would call them, as they have been superceeded.
> For example, readdir replaced by getdents. We could blacklist these by default
> but provide a way to allow use of obsolete syscalls if running on older 
> systems.
> e.g. '-sandbox on,obsolete=allow'. They might be obsolete enough that we 
> decide
> to just block them permanently with no opt in - would need to analyse when
> their replacements appeared in widespread use.
> There might be a few more syscalls which we can determine are never valid to
> use in QEMU or any library or helper program it might run. I expect this list
> to be very small though, given the impossibility of auditing code paths 
> through
> millions of lines of code QEMU links to.
> Everything else should be allowed.
> At this point we have a highly reliable "-sandbox on" which we're not having
> to constantly patch.
> From here we need a way to allow a user to opt-in to more restrictive 
> policies,
> accepting that it will block certain features. For example, there should be a
> a way to disable any means to elevate privileges from QEMU or things it 
> spawns.
> e.g. '-sandbox on,elevateprivileges=deny'.
> This would not only block the variuous set*uid|gid functions via seccomp, but
> should also prctl(PR_SET_NO_NEW_PRIVS). This would allows the user to optin to
> a restrictive world if they know they'll not require things like the setuid
> bridge helper.
> Similarly there should be an '-sandbox on,spawn=deny' which prevents the 
> ability
> to fork/exec processes at all, whether privileged or not. This would block
> features like the qemu bridge helper, SMB server, ifup/down scripts, migration
> exec: protocol. These are all rarely used features though, so an opt-in to 
> block
> their use is reasonable & desirable.
> A -sandbox on,resourcecontrol=deny, which prevents QEMU from setting stuff 
> like
> process affinity, schedular priority, etc. Some uses of QEMU might need them,
> but normally such controls are left to the mgmt app above QEMU to set prior to
> the exec() of QEMU.
> The key is that these are *not* low level knobs controlling system calls, but
> moderately high level knobs controlling general concepts. This is a high 
> enough
> level of abstraction to enable libvirt to automatically turn them on/off based
> on guest config, without libvirt having to know anything detailed about QEMU
> code impl for the features.
> Finally, for avoidance of doubt, I'm *not* actually proposing to implement 
> this
> myself any time in the forseeable future. This mail came about from the fact
> that many people have questioned whether current seccomp code is anything 
> other
> than "security theatre". I tend to agree with such an assessment myself, and 
> was
> initially intending to just send a patch to remove seccomp, to stimulate some
> discussion. Instead, however, I decided to write this mail to see if we can
> identify a way forward to make seccomp both reliable and useful. If QEMU had 
> the
> kind of approach outlined above, with a default blacklist instead of 
> whitelist,
> and some opt-ins for stricter lists, it is something I think libvirt would be
> reasonably happy to enable out of the box. That would be a step forward from
> today where libvirt would never consider turning seccomp on by default.
> Perhaps this re-working could be a GSoC idea for some interested student...

I'm not a student, thus not eligible GSoC person but I would be more
than grateful to take this initiative of yours and transform into some
patches so we can make this feature something really useful and

Perhaps now is not the right time to terse comments on every idea you
gave, I agree with most of them. I wrote the whole implementation of
this feature but actually became the maintainer because people approving
sycalls and sending pull-requests were too busy, and I could do it. But
to be completely honest I had few poor ideas on how to improve it and
almost no time to actually do it in the past. Time passed by and all I
did was approve new syscalls and turn them into pull-requests.

Let's spin up these ideas and hopefully incorporate into Qemu. Next step
I'm gonna dig into every topic and draft a little more. I guess we can
keep on this thread, or perhaps in separate ones. From there I can start
to write some code.

Best regards,

Eduardo Otubo
ProfitBricks GmbH

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