SE Linux is like a moat filled with sharks with laser attached head gear

Here’s an interesting blog entry comparing SE Linux and AppArmor. It has some amusing comments, one of which I used for the title of this entry.

There are two things I don’t like about AppArmor. One is that it doesn’t label Inodes but instead bases it’s access control on file names. This means that renaming a file may change the access granted to it, and a file with multiple hard links may have different sets of access granted to each name. The hard link problem is a killer, imagine that name A grants execute access to the file and name B grants write access, therefore you have the ability to create an executable file.

The other thing I don’t like about AppArmor is that it’s goals are low. The current implementation of AppArmor can be compared to the SE Linux targeted policy. The difference is that AppArmor is currently achieving everything that it was designed to do while the targeted policy is intentionally providing less security features to give greater ease of use. There is a well defined transition path from targeted to strict, and from strict to MLS. There is no transition path from the current AppArmor implementation to something better.

Rumor has it that Suse have bought the rights to a MLS system and that they want to get LSPP certification. LSPP certification requires that access control be based on Inodes not file names (IE renaming a file may not change the access that is granted to it). It will be interesting to see how they integrate AppArmor and a MLS system.

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