Peer labeling in SELinux policy


Sven Vermeulen Sun 12 May 2013

Allow me to start with an important warning: I don't have much hands-on experience with the remainder of this post. Its based on the few resources I found on the Internet and a few tests done locally which I've investigated in my attempt to understand SELinux policy writing for networking stuff.

So, with that out of the way, let's look into peer labeling. As mentioned in my previous post, SELinux supports some more advanced networking security features than the default socket restrictions. I mentioned SECMARK and NetLabel before, but NetLabel is actually part of the family of peer labeling technologies.

With this technology approach, all participating systems in the network must support the same labeling method. NetLabel supports CIPSO (Commerial IP Security Option) where hosts label their network traffic to be part of a particular "Domain of Interpretation". The labels are used by the hosts to identify where a packet should be for. NetLabel, within Linux, is then used to translate those CIPSO labels. SELinux itself labels the incoming sockets based on the NetLabel information and the context of the listening socket, resulting in a context that is governed policy-wise through the peer class. Since this is based on the information in the packet instead of defined on the system itself, this allows remote systems to have a say in how the packets are labeled.

Another peer technology is the Labeled IPSec one. In this case the labels are fully provided by the remote system. I think they are based on the security association within the IPSec setup.

In both cases, in the SELinux policies, three definitions are important to keep an eye out on: interface definitions, node definitions and peer definitions.

Interface definitions allow users to (mainly) set the sensitivity that is allowed to pass the interface. Using semanage interface this can be controlled by the user. One can also assign a different context to the interface - by default, this is netif_t. The permissions that are checked on the traffic is ingress (incoming) and egress (outgoing) traffic, and most policies set this through the following call (comment shows the underlying SELinux rules, where tcp_send and tcp_recv are - I think - obsolete):

# allow something_t netif_t:netif { tcp_send tcp_recv egress ingress };

Node definitions define which targets (nodes, which can be IP addresses or subnets) traffic meant for a particular socket is allow to originate from (recvfrom) or sent to (sendto). Again, users can define their own node types and manage them using semanage node. The default node I already covered in the previous post (node_t) and is allowed by most policies by default through the following call (where the tcp_send and tcp_recv are probably deprecated as well):

# allow something_t node_t:node { tcp_send tcp_recv sendto recvfrom };

Finally, peer definitions are based on the labels from the traffic. If the system uses NetLabel, then the target label will always be netlabel_peer_t since the workings of CIPSO are mainly (only?) mapped towards sensitivity labels (in MLS policy). As a result, SELinux always displays the peer as being netlabel_peer_t. In case of Labeled IPSec, this isn't the case as the peer label is transmitted by the peer itself.

For NetLabel support, policies generally include two methods - one is to support unlabeled traffic (only needed the moment you have support for labeled traffic) and one is to allow the NetLabel'ed traffic:

# allow something_t unlabeled_t:peer recv;
# allow something_t netlabel_peer_t:peer recv;

In case of IPSec for instance, the peer will have a provided label, as is shown by the call for accepting hadoop traffic:

# allow something_t hadoop_t:peer recv;

However, this alone is not sufficient for labeled IPSec. We also need to allow the domain to be allowed to send anything towards an IPSec security association. There is an interface called corenet_tcp_recvfrom_labeled that takes two arguments which, amongst other things, enables sendto towards its association.

corenet_tcp_recvfrom_labeled(some_t, thing_t)
# allow { some_t thing_t} self:association sendto;
# allow some_t thing_t:peer recv;
# allow thing_t some_t:peer recv;
# corenet_tcp_recvfrom_netlabel(some_t)
# corenet_tcp_recvfrom_netlabel(thing_t)

This interface is usually called within a *_tcp_connect() interface for a particular domain, like with the mysql_tcp_connect example:

                type mysqld_t;

        corenet_tcp_recvfrom_labeled($1, mysqld_t)
        corenet_tcp_sendrecv_mysqld_port($1) # deprecated

When using peer labeling, the domain that is allowed something is based on the socket context of the application. Also, the rules when using peer labeling are in addition to the rules mentioned before ("standard" networking control): name_bind and name_connect are always checked.

For more information, make sure you check Paul Moore's blog, such as the egress/ingress information. And if you know of resources that show this in a more practical setting (above is mainly to work with the SELinux policy) I'm all ears.