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Re: recommends for apparmor in newest linux-image-4.13

On Wed, 29 Nov 2017 at 22:10:03 +1100, Scott Leggett wrote:
> > It's just a bad idea of a security model that implements ad-hoc
> > and mostly path based restrictions instead of an actually verified
> > security model.  Using that by default makes it much harder to actually
> > use a real MAC based security model
> I am not an expert, but I thought that AppArmor was also considered a
> MAC implementation.

I don't see why it isn't a MAC implementation. However, the comment about
not having a "real" security model seems valid. The way AppArmor is used
in practice is often more like hardening than a coherent security model:
when an app was not designed to be sandboxed, and an AppArmor profile
was added later without modifying app code, the profile rules that are
necessary to make it work are often loose enough to allow privilege
escalation, particularly for desktop apps that are typically written to
assume they have full desktop privileges.

One rebuttal to that is that hardening is better than nothing, and what
most Debian users have in this department at the moment is nothing.

One very likely route for privilege escalation is that when a desktop app
has been written with the expectation that it can run other programs as
subprocesses, if those programs have higher privilege than the desktop app
itself, the desktop app can probably subvert them - the security issues
around setuid are well-known, but switching to a more-privileged AppArmor
profile is basically a weaker form of setuid, and we can't really expect
the author of every program that might be used as a subprocess to write
in the same defensive/paranoid style that we expect for setuid programs.
I think we have to assume that if any descendant of an app (in terms of
the process tree) can do something, then so can that app.

Controlled privilege escalation without the pitfalls of executing a
subprocess is often done via D-Bus or similar. However, until the kernel
support necessary for finer-grained D-Bus AppArmor mediation lands
upstream (which it hopefully will soon), another route for privilege
escalation is that if you can get access to the session bus at all,
then you can interact with services that expect that everything on the
session bus is equally-privileged, and in particular ask dbus-daemon,
gnome-session, systemd --user, etc. to run arbitrary code on your behalf.
If you have a patched kernel that adds this feature (like Ubuntu has for
many years), Debian's dbus-daemon is already set up to make use of it.

Flatpak's "portals" concept is an attempt to avoid those privilege
escalation opportunities. In some ways, the portal work is more important
than Flatpak itself.

Outside desktops, in the more limited scope (but higher privilege level)
of system services, is probably where AppArmor is most useful in the
short term. In that space it overlaps fairly heavily with what you can
do with the various "hardening" options available in systemd units.