path: root/Documentation/userspace-api/no_new_privs.rst
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authorKees Cook <keescook@chromium.org>2017-05-13 04:51:38 -0700
committerJonathan Corbet <corbet@lwn.net>2017-05-18 10:30:09 -0600
commit40fde647ccb0ae8c11d256d271e24d385eed595b (patch)
treed00d1d26dd2942af58f74aa39bda87c27f6f65ac /Documentation/userspace-api/no_new_privs.rst
parentc061f33f35be0ccc80f4b8e0aea5dfd2ed7e01a3 (diff)
doc: ReSTify no_new_privs.txt
This updates no_new_privs documentation to ReST markup and adds it to the user-space API documentation. Signed-off-by: Kees Cook <keescook@chromium.org> Signed-off-by: Jonathan Corbet <corbet@lwn.net>
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+No New Privileges Flag
+The execve system call can grant a newly-started program privileges that
+its parent did not have. The most obvious examples are setuid/setgid
+programs and file capabilities. To prevent the parent program from
+gaining these privileges as well, the kernel and user code must be
+careful to prevent the parent from doing anything that could subvert the
+child. For example:
+ - The dynamic loader handles ``LD_*`` environment variables differently if
+ a program is setuid.
+ - chroot is disallowed to unprivileged processes, since it would allow
+ ``/etc/passwd`` to be replaced from the point of view of a process that
+ inherited chroot.
+ - The exec code has special handling for ptrace.
+These are all ad-hoc fixes. The ``no_new_privs`` bit (since Linux 3.5) is a
+new, generic mechanism to make it safe for a process to modify its
+execution environment in a manner that persists across execve. Any task
+can set ``no_new_privs``. Once the bit is set, it is inherited across fork,
+clone, and execve and cannot be unset. With ``no_new_privs`` set, ``execve()``
+promises not to grant the privilege to do anything that could not have
+been done without the execve call. For example, the setuid and setgid
+bits will no longer change the uid or gid; file capabilities will not
+add to the permitted set, and LSMs will not relax constraints after
+To set ``no_new_privs``, use::
+ prctl(PR_SET_NO_NEW_PRIVS, 1, 0, 0, 0);
+Be careful, though: LSMs might also not tighten constraints on exec
+in ``no_new_privs`` mode. (This means that setting up a general-purpose
+service launcher to set ``no_new_privs`` before execing daemons may
+interfere with LSM-based sandboxing.)
+Note that ``no_new_privs`` does not prevent privilege changes that do not
+involve ``execve()``. An appropriately privileged task can still call
+``setuid(2)`` and receive SCM_RIGHTS datagrams.
+There are two main use cases for ``no_new_privs`` so far:
+ - Filters installed for the seccomp mode 2 sandbox persist across
+ execve and can change the behavior of newly-executed programs.
+ Unprivileged users are therefore only allowed to install such filters
+ if ``no_new_privs`` is set.
+ - By itself, ``no_new_privs`` can be used to reduce the attack surface
+ available to an unprivileged user. If everything running with a
+ given uid has ``no_new_privs`` set, then that uid will be unable to
+ escalate its privileges by directly attacking setuid, setgid, and
+ fcap-using binaries; it will need to compromise something without the
+ ``no_new_privs`` bit set first.
+In the future, other potentially dangerous kernel features could become
+available to unprivileged tasks if ``no_new_privs`` is set. In principle,
+several options to ``unshare(2)`` and ``clone(2)`` would be safe when
+``no_new_privs`` is set, and ``no_new_privs`` + ``chroot`` is considerable less
+dangerous than chroot by itself.

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