tl;dr: Some (-9999) policy ebuilds now have USE support for building in (or leaving out) SELinux policy statements.

One of the "problems" I have been facing since I took on the maintenance of SELinux policies within Gentoo Hardened is the (seeming) inability to make a "least privilege" policy that suits the flexibility that Gentoo offers. As a quick recap: SELinux policies describe the "acceptable behavior" of an application (well, domain to be exact), often known as the "normalized behavior" in the security world. When an application (which runs within a SELinux domain) wants to perform some action which is not part of the policy, then this action is denied.

Some applications can have very broad acceptable behavior. A web server for instance might need to connect to a database, but that is not the case if the web server only serves static information, or dynamic information that doesn't need a database. To support this, SELinux has booleans through which optional policy statements can be enabled or disabled. So far so good.

Let's look at a second example: ALSA. When ALSA enabled applications want to access the sound devices, they use IPC resources to "collaborate" around the sound subsystem (semaphores and shared memory to be exact). Semaphores inherit the type of the domain that first created the semaphore (so if mplayer creates it, then the semaphore has the mplayer_t context) whereas shared memory usually gets the tmpfs-related type (mplayer_tmpfs_t). When a second application wants to access the sound device as well, it needs access to the semaphore and shared memory. Assuming this second application is the browser, then mozilla_t needs access to semaphores by mplayer_t. And the same for chromium_t. Or java_t applications that are ALSA-enabled. And alsa_t. And all other applications that are ALSA enabled.

In Gentoo, ALSA support can be made optional through USE="alsa". If a user decides not to use ALSA, then it doesn't make sense to allow all those domains access to each others' semaphores and shared memory. And although SELinux booleans can help, this would mean that for each application domain, something like the following policy would need to be, optionally, allowed:

# For the mplayer_t domain:
optional_policy(`
  tunable_policy(`use_alsa',`
    mozilla_rw_semaphores(mplayer_t)
    mozilla_rw_shm(mplayer_t)
    mozilla_tmpfs_rw_files(mplayer_t)
  ')
')

optional_policy(`
  tunable_policy(`use_alsa',`
    chromium_rw_semaphores(mplayer_t)
    chromium_rw_shm(mplayer_t)
    chromium_tmpfs_rw_files(mplayer_t)
  ')
')

And this for all domains that are ALSA-enabled. Every time a new application is added that knows ALSA, the same code needs to be added to all policies. And this only uses a single SELinux boolean (whereas Gentoo supports USE="alsa" on per-package level), although we can create separate booleans for each domain if we want to. Not that that will make it more manageable.

One way of dealing with this would be to use attributes. Say we have a policy like so:

attribute alsadomain;
attribute alsatmpfsfile;

allow alsadomain alsadomain:sem rw_sem_perms;
allow alsadomain alsadomain:shm rw_shm_perms;
allow alsadomain alsatmpfsfile:file rw_file_perms;

By assigning the attribute to the proper domains whenever ALSA support is needed, we can toggle this more easily:

# In alsa.if
interface(`alsa_domain',`
  gen_require(`
    attribute alsadomain;
    attribute alsatmpfsfile;
  ')
  typeattribute $1 alsadomain;
  typeattribute $2 alsatmpfsfile;
')


# In mplayer.te
optional_policy(`
  tunable_policy(`use_alsa',`
    alsa_domain(mplayer_t, mplayer_tmpfs_t)
  ')
')

That would solve the problem of needlessly adding more calls in a policy for every ALSA application. And hey, we can probably live with either a global boolean (use_alsa) or per-domain one (mplayer_use_alsa) and toggle this according to our needs.

Sadly, the above is not possible: one cannot define typeattribute assignments inside a tunable_policy code: attributes are part of the non-conditional part of a SELinux policy. The solution would be to create build-time conditionals (rather than run-time):

ifdef(`use_alsa',`
  optional_policy(`
    alsa_domain(mplayer_t, mplayer_tmpfs_t)
  ')
')

This does mean that use_alsa has to be known when the policy is built. For Gentoo, that's not that bad, as policies are part of separate packages, like sec-policy/selinux-mplayer. So what I now added was USE-enabled build-time decisions that trigger this code. The selinux-mplayer package has IUSE="alsa" which will enable, if set, the use_alsa build-time conditional.

As a result, we now support a better, fine-grained privilege setting inside the SELinux policy which is triggered through the proper USE flags.

Is this a perfect solution? No, but it is manageable and known to Gentoo users. It isn't perfect, because it listens to the USE flag setting for the selinux-mplayer package (and of course globally set USE flags) but doesn't "detect" that the firefox application (for which the policy is meant) is or isn't built with USE="alsa". So users/administrators will need to keep this in mind when using package-local USE flag definitions.

Also, this will make it a bit more troublesome for myself to manage the SELinux policy for Gentoo (as upstream will not use this setup, and as such patches from upstream might need a few manual corrections before they apply to our tree). However, I gladly take that up if it means my system will have somewhat better confinement.


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