Re: feature suggestion: implement SO_PEERCRED on local AF_INET/AF_INET6 sockets (allow uid-based identification on localhost)

From: David Madore
Date: Wed Oct 15 2014 - 20:07:28 EST

On Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 03:54:08PM -0700, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 3:30 PM, David Madore <david+ml@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > Note that since the possibility of using SO_PEERCRED on AF_INET
> > sockets does not hitherto exist on Linux, we can be sure that nobody
> > uses it, so it's not like it might open vulnerabilities in existing
> > code. If you think it's insecure, it can be documented as such (by
> > comparing it with identd): I still think it's better than having no
> > control at all when binding to localhost, which is the present
> > situation (causing, e.g., CVE-2014-2914).
> This doesn't follow. *Everybody* uses connect on AF_INET.
> IMO anything that sends a caller's credentials needs to be explicit and opt-in.

I'm confused as to whether you mean "opt-in" on the side of the caller
(=process requesting the endpoint's credentials), or on that of the
endpoint (=authenticated process). On the one hand I don't understand
what it could mean on the caller side, on the other hand you mention
explicit support in OpenSSH, which would be the caller in my scenario.

So, in case I haven't been clear enough, the situation I have in mind
is: on "thishost", I run "ssh -L 14321:remotehost:4321 somehost" to
forward connexions on from the local port 14321 of thishost (where ssh
listens on the loopback) to the port 4321 of remotehost.
Unfortunately, now everyone with an acccount on thishost can connect
to port 14321 and effectively emit a connection from somehost to
remotehost on my behalf. I think everyone agrees that this is a huge
problem. But I don't understand how you propose to remedy this.

Patching ssh is an option, but I don't see how to do it (ssh needs to
make sure that the connections it receives on 14321 are from the same
uid, and this seems impossible without the feature I'm discussing).
Patching the kernel is an option. Patching clients that connect to
14321, on the other hand, is not, because there are many different
ones, and their protocol is defined by immutable Internet standards,
so we have no latitude there (for example, we can't ask a Web browser
to connect to Unix domain sockets: there simply isn't a URL scheme to
refer to them). Adding iptables rules is not an option if I'm not the
system administrator on thishost.

So, how can we solve this problem securely?

> I believe that there is no secure way to authenticate clients that
> currently don't authenticate themselves without changing the clients.
> That's the whole point: currently-secure are written under the
> assumption that they are not exercising their credentials. You can't
> safely change that without making it opt-in.

Then what are we to do, given that modifying the clients is

What about my proposal that user credentials would be returned only if
they refer to the same user as the caller user and that the caller is
permitted to ptrace the endpoint? This answers your objection of
leaking credentials: the caller could do anything at all with the
other side since it could ptrace it - we're just permitting a user to
authenticate their own sockets. A further sysctl could enable the use
of the call in more general cases, for those administrators who think
it should be allowed.

David A. Madore
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