[PATCH net-next 1/2 v2] netns: restrict uevents

From: Christian Brauner
Date: Tue Apr 24 2018 - 16:44:54 EST

commit 07e98962fa77 ("kobject: Send hotplug events in all network namespaces")

enabled sending hotplug events into all network namespaces back in 2010.
Over time the set of uevents that get sent into all network namespaces has
shrunk a little. We have now reached the point where hotplug events for all
devices that carry a namespace tag are filtered according to that
namespace. Specifically, they are filtered whenever the namespace tag of
the kobject does not match the namespace tag of the netlink socket. One
example are network devices. Uevents for network devices only show up in
the network namespaces these devices are moved to or created in.

However, any uevent for a kobject that does not have a namespace tag
associated with it will not be filtered and we will broadcast it into all
network namespaces. This behavior stopped making sense when user namespaces
were introduced.

This patch restricts uevents to the initial user namespace for a couple of
reasons that have been extensively discusses on the mailing list [1].
- Thundering herd:
Broadcasting uevents into all network namespaces introduces significant
All processes that listen to uevents running in non-initial user
namespaces will end up responding to uevents that will be meaningless to
them. Mainly, because non-initial user namespaces cannot easily manage
devices unless they have a privileged host-process helping them out. This
means that there will be a thundering herd of activity when there
shouldn't be any.
- Uevents from non-root users are already filtered in userspace:
Uevents are filtered by userspace in a user namespace because the
received uid != 0. Instead the uid associated with the event will be
65534 == "nobody" because the global root uid is not mapped.
This means we can safely and without introducing regressions modify the
kernel to not send uevents into all network namespaces whose owning user
namespace is not the initial user namespace because we know that
userspace will ignore the message because of the uid anyway. I have
a) verified that is is true for every udev implementation out there b)
that this behavior has been present in all udev implementations from the
very beginning.
- Removing needless overhead/Increasing performance:
Currently, the uevent socket for each network namespace is added to the
global variable uevent_sock_list. The list itself needs to be protected
by a mutex. So everytime a uevent is generated the mutex is taken on the
list. The mutex is held *from the creation of the uevent (memory
allocation, string creation etc. until all uevent sockets have been
handled*. This is aggravated by the fact that for each uevent socket that
has listeners the mc_list must be walked as well which means we're
talking O(n^2) here. Given that a standard Linux workload usually has
quite a lot of network namespaces and - in the face of containers - a lot
of user namespaces this quickly becomes a performance problem (see
"Thundering herd" above). By just recording uevent sockets of network
namespaces that are owned by the initial user namespace we significantly
increase performance in this codepath.
- Injecting uevents:
There's a valid argument that containers might be interested in receiving
device events especially if they are delegated to them by a privileged
userspace process. One prime example are SR-IOV enabled devices that are
explicitly designed to be handed of to other users such as VMs or
This use-case can now be correctly handled since
commit 692ec06d7c92 ("netns: send uevent messages"). This commit
introduced the ability to send uevents from userspace. As such we can let
a sufficiently privileged (CAP_SYS_ADMIN in the owning user namespace of
the network namespace of the netlink socket) userspace process make a
decision what uevents should be sent. This removes the need to blindly
broadcast uevents into all user namespaces and provides a performant and
safe solution to this problem.
- Filtering logic:
This patch filters by *owning user namespace of the network namespace a
given task resides in* and not by user namespace of the task per se. This
means if the user namespace of a given task is unshared but the network
namespace is kept and is owned by the initial user namespace a listener
that is opening the uevent socket in that network namespace can still
listen to uevents.

[1]: https://lkml.org/lkml/2018/4/4/739
Signed-off-by: Christian Brauner <christian.brauner@xxxxxxxxxx>
Changelog v1->v2:
* patch unchanged
Changelog v0->v1:
* patch unchanged
lib/kobject_uevent.c | 18 ++++++++++++------
1 file changed, 12 insertions(+), 6 deletions(-)

diff --git a/lib/kobject_uevent.c b/lib/kobject_uevent.c
index 15ea216a67ce..f5f5038787ac 100644
--- a/lib/kobject_uevent.c
+++ b/lib/kobject_uevent.c
@@ -703,9 +703,13 @@ static int uevent_net_init(struct net *net)

net->uevent_sock = ue_sk;

- mutex_lock(&uevent_sock_mutex);
- list_add_tail(&ue_sk->list, &uevent_sock_list);
- mutex_unlock(&uevent_sock_mutex);
+ /* Restrict uevents to initial user namespace. */
+ if (sock_net(ue_sk->sk)->user_ns == &init_user_ns) {
+ mutex_lock(&uevent_sock_mutex);
+ list_add_tail(&ue_sk->list, &uevent_sock_list);
+ mutex_unlock(&uevent_sock_mutex);
+ }
return 0;

@@ -713,9 +717,11 @@ static void uevent_net_exit(struct net *net)
struct uevent_sock *ue_sk = net->uevent_sock;

- mutex_lock(&uevent_sock_mutex);
- list_del(&ue_sk->list);
- mutex_unlock(&uevent_sock_mutex);
+ if (sock_net(ue_sk->sk)->user_ns == &init_user_ns) {
+ mutex_lock(&uevent_sock_mutex);
+ list_del(&ue_sk->list);
+ mutex_unlock(&uevent_sock_mutex);
+ }