Aaaand we're back - hardened monthly meeting


Sven Vermeulen Thu 26 September 2013

It almost feels like we had our monthly online meeting just a week ago. Below a small write-up of the highlights. If you want to know the gory details, just wait a few hours/days until the IRC logs are sent out ;-) Now remember, the project does more than what the highlights tell you - there is lots of maintenance done "under the hood", allowing everyone to keep using the various technologies supported through our project.


As per a discussion on the Gentoo development mailinglist, GCC 4.8 will most likely have SSP enabled as default. Gentoo Hardened will still enable full SSP (-fstack-protector-all) whereas Gentoo by default will probably work with -fstack-protector). We will also still provide GCC specifications that disable stack protection completely (the hardened-nossp specs) for when developers or users need it.

Kernel and grsec/PaX

Blueness informed us about one issue with XATTR_PAX implementation, being the wrapper that we need in order to set the right attributes as early as possible. The problem is that it is very slow (as it is invoked over and over again, so the overhead of it being an interpreted script becomes huge). A solution for this still has to be defined.

Some ideas are to use a compiled version, but other possible solutions such as hooking into Portage directly or using lists have been suggested as well.


Nothing big - standard maintenance stuff, such as pushing our own patches upstream for others to benefit (and hopefully have the master projects include the patches so we don't need to maintain them ourselves). Also, revision 3 of the 2.20130424 policies are now in the tree (\~arch'ed for now).

System Integrity

Within Gentoo, we have a couple of SCAP scanners/software available, such as open-scap and ovaldi. Recently, openscap-9999 is made available (allowing users to directly use the latest openscap release) which is used to validate and evaluate security benchmarks I am developing for Gentoo and related services.

Next to the SCAP-related developments, a guide has been put on the Gentoo wiki about using signed kernel modules.


The hardened profiles have been updated to use EAPI-5 so we can benefit from its features, such as improved multilib support.


As I mentioned before, I'm working a bit on a Gentoo Security Benchmark that can be used with SCAP software. The sources are in the hardened-docs repository for now.

Also, most/all hardened documentation is moved from the (developer-editable only) Project: namespace to the general one, allowing users and contributors to help us with the documents as well.