Overriding the default SELinux policies


Extending SELinux policies with additional rules is easy. As SELinux uses a deny by default approach, all you need to do is to create a policy module that contains the additional (allow) rules, load that and you're all set. But what if you want to remove some rules?

Well, sadly, SELinux does not support deny rules. Once an allow rule is loaded in memory, it cannot be overturned anymore. Yes, you can disable the module itself that provides the rules, but you cannot selectively disable rules. So what to do?

Generally, you can disable the module that contains the rules you want to disable, and load a custom module that defines everything the original module did, except for those rules you don't like. For instance, if you do not want the skype_t domain to be able to read/write to the video device, create your own skype-providing module (myskype) with the exact same content (except for the module name at the first line) as the original skype module, except for the video device:

# dev_read_video_dev(skype_t)
# dev_write_video_dev(skype_t)

Load in this policy, and you now have the skype_t domain without the video access. You will get post-install failures when Gentoo pushes out an update to the policy though, since it will attempt to reload the skype.pp file (through the selinux-skype package) and fail because it declares types and attributes already provided (by myskype). You can exclude the package from being updated, which works as long as no packages depend on it. Or live with the post-install failure ;-) But there might be a simpler approach: epatch_user.

Recently, I added in support for epatch_user in the policy ebuilds. This allows users to create patches against the policy source code that we use and put them in /etc/portage/patches in the directory of the right category/package. For module patches, the working directory used is within the policy/modules directory of the policy checkout. For base, it is below the policy checkout (in other words, the patch will need to use the refpolicy/ directory base). But because of how epatch_user works, any patch taken from the base will work as it will start stripping directories up to the fourth one.

This approach is also needed if you want to exclude rules from interfaces rather than from the .te file: create a small patch and put it in /etc/portage/patches for the sec-policy/selinux-base package (as this provides the interfaces).