Re: [PATCH 2/2] block: create ioctl to discard-or-zeroout a range of blocks
From: Thomas Schoebel-Theuer
Date: Sat Mar 12 2016 - 05:18:25 EST
On 03/12/2016 08:19 AM, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 04:44:16PM -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote:
[...] And then the application has to run
There's a big difference between "give the user rope", and "tie the
rope in a noose and put a banana peel so that the user might stumble
into the rope and hang himself", though.
setgid with that group's privileges.
Your concept of hierarchically nesting containers via filesystem
instances looks nice to me.
A potential concern could be whether gids are the right implementation
for expressing hierarchically nested access permissions in a persistent way.
Your permissions attached to gids are nested (because inside of your
containers you may have another instance of a completely different gid
namespace), they are also persistent when your mount flags etc are
restored properly after a crash (by some scripts), but probably use of
gids for this might look like a kind of "misuse" of the original gid
concept from the 1970s.
Maybe you currently don't have a better /persistent/ concept for
expressing your needs, so maybe your solution could be just fine under
the currently given cirumstances.
Introduction of a new concept for overcoming the current limitations
must be done very carefully.
The bad discard semantics concerns about information leaks could be
/hypothetically/ solved at /concept level/ in the following way. Please
note that by "concept level" I don't want to imply any particular
implementation, this is just a mental experiment for discussion of the
problems, just a "model of thinking":
a) Use a hierarchical namespace for naming subjects, e.g.
hypervisorA.containerB.subcontainerC.user9 instead of gid=9
b) Attach actual permissions to each block of the underlying block
device (fine-grained object model).
c) Correctly maintain access rights at each hierarchical layer, and for
all operations (including discard with whatever semantics). In case some
inner instance is untrusted and may do evil things, this will be
intercepted / corrected at outer layers (which are more trusted). In
essence, the nesting hierarchy is also a hierarchy of trust.
Now information leaks by bad discard semantics etc should be solved at
any level, even regarding completely unrelated containers or users, as
long as no physical access to the disk is possible. In addition,
encryption may be used for even overcoming this.
Of course, a direct implementation of such extremely fine-grained access
permissions would carry way too much overhead. Both the number of
subjects as well as the number of objects must be reduced to some
reasonable order of magnitude, at least at outer levels.
Thus the question is: how can we achieve almost the same effect with
much less overhead?
Hmm, in my old Athomux research prototype, I proposed some solutions for
this, on an academic green meadow. But I am unsure what is transferable
to a standard POSIX semantics system, and what not. Rethinking these
concepts as well as checking them may take some time....
Here is a first alpha-stage attempt:
1) Give up the hierarchical subject namespace a), but maybe not fully.
Access checking will continue /locally/ at each layer, by treating each
subsystem as a (grey) blackbox. This is already the default
implementation strategy. The total system may be less secure than in an
idealized fine-grained system, because outer levels can no longer detect
bad guys inside of their subsystem instances. The question is: how to
get a "more secure" system than currently, with some reasonable effort.
2) Some /coarse/ access permission checks at the block layer b), but
finer than today. Currently there is almost no checking at all (except
when accessing a huge block device as a whole during open() => at 1&1 we
have very large ones, and they may continue running for years). I am
unsure how to achieve this in detail.
An idea for a long-term solution would be offloading of "allocation
groups" to the block layer (if their size is coarsely dynamic in
general, e.g. in steps of gigabytes), and to implement some coarse
permission checks there. These could then be related to "containers" or
"container groups". One of the problems is that some wide-spread network
protocols like iSCSI have no clue about this, so this can only be an
optional new feature.
Further ideas sought.
P.S. The concept of a "nest" in Athomux was already some kind of
"recursively nested block device".