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Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2020 18:44:26 +0200
From: Mickaël Salaün <>
To: Pavel Machek <>,
 "Madhavan T. Venkataraman" <>
Cc:,,,,,,,,,, David.Laight@...LAB.COM,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2 0/4] [RFC] Implement Trampoline File Descriptor

On 23/09/2020 22:51, Pavel Machek wrote:
> Hi!
>>>> Scenario 2
>>>> ----------
>>>> We know what code we need in advance. User trampolines are a good example of
>>>> this. It is possible to define such code statically with some help from the
>>>> kernel.
>>>> This RFC addresses (2). (1) needs a general purpose trusted code generator
>>>> and is out of scope for this RFC.
>>> This is slightly less crazy talk than introduction talking about holes
>>> in W^X. But it is very, very far from normal Unix system, where you
>>> have selection of interpretters to run your malware on (sh, python,
>>> awk, emacs, ...) and often you can even compile malware from sources. 
>>> And as you noted, we don't have "a general purpose trusted code
>>> generator" for our systems.
>>> I believe you should simply delete confusing "introduction" and
>>> provide details of super-secure system where your patches would be
>>> useful, instead.
>> This RFC talks about converting dynamic code (which cannot be authenticated)
>> to static code that can be authenticated using signature verification. That
>> is the scope of this RFC.
>> If I have not been clear before, by dynamic code, I mean machine code that is
>> dynamic in nature. Scripts are beyond the scope of this RFC.
>> Also, malware compiled from sources is not dynamic code. That is orthogonal
>> to this RFC. If such malware has a valid signature that the kernel permits its
>> execution, we have a systemic problem.
>> I am not saying that script authentication or compiled malware are not problems.
>> I am just saying that this RFC is not trying to solve all of the security problems.
>> It is trying to define one way to convert dynamic code to static code to address
>> one class of problems.
> Well, you don't have to solve all problems at once.
> But solutions have to exist, and AFAIK in this case they don't. You
> are armoring doors, but ignoring open windows.

FYI, script execution is being addressed (for the kernel part) by this
patch series:

> Or very probably you are thinking about something different than
> normal desktop distros (Debian 10). Because on my systems, I have
> python, gdb and gcc...

It doesn't make sense for a tailored security system to leave all these
tools available to an attacker.

> It would be nice to specify what other pieces need to be present for
> this to make sense -- because it makes no sense on Debian 10.

Not all kernel features make sense for a generic/undefined usage,
especially specific security mechanisms (e.g. SELinux, Smack, Tomoyo,
SafeSetID, LoadPin, IMA, IPE, secure/trusted boot, lockdown, etc.), but
they can still be definitely useful.

> Best regards,
> 									Pavel

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