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Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2023 14:07:24 +0200
From: Greg KH <>
To: Günther Noack <>
Cc: Hanno Böck <>,,
	Kees Cook <>,
	Jiri Slaby <>,
	Geert Uytterhoeven <>,
	Paul Moore <>,
	Samuel Thibault <>,
	David Laight <>,
	Simon Brand <>,
	Dave Mielke <>,
	Mickaël Salaün <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] Restrict access to TIOCLINUX

On Fri, Aug 18, 2023 at 06:10:18PM +0200, Günther Noack wrote:
> Hello!
> +CC the people involved in TIOCSTI
> This patch seems sensible to me --
> and I would like to kindly ask you to reconsider it.
> On Sun, Apr 02, 2023 at 07:23:44PM +0200, Greg KH wrote:
> > On Sun, Apr 02, 2023 at 07:16:52PM +0200, Hanno Böck wrote:
> > > On Sun, 2 Apr 2023 16:55:01 +0200
> > > Greg KH <> wrote:
> > > 
> > > > You just now broke any normal user programs that required this (or the
> > > > other ioctls), and so you are going to have to force them to be run
> > > > with CAP_SYS_ADMIN permissions? 
> > > 
> > > Are you aware of such normal user programs?
> > > It was my impression that this is a relatively obscure feature and gpm
> > > is pretty much the only tool using it.
> > 
> > "Pretty much" does not mean "none" :(
> This patch only affects TIOCLINUX subcodes which are responsible for text
> The only program that I am aware of which uses cut&paste on the console is gpm.
> My web searches for these subcode names have only surfaced Linux header files
> and discussions about their security problems.

Is gpm running with the needed permissions already?

> > > > And you didn't change anything for programs like gpm that already had
> > > > root permission (and shouldn't that permission be dropped anyway?)
> > > 
> > > Well, you could restrict all that to a specific capability. However, it
> > > is my understanding that the existing capability system is limited in
> > > the number of capabilities and new ones should only be introduced in
> > > rare cases. It does not seem a feature probably few people use anyway
> > > deserves a new capability.
> > 
> > I did not suggest that a new capability be created for this, that would
> > be an abust of the capability levels for sure.
> > 
> > > Do you have other proposals how to fix this issue? One could introduce
> > > an option like for TIOCSTI that allows disabling selection features by
> > > default.
> > 
> > What exact issue are you trying to fix here?
> It's the same problem as with TIOCSTI, which got (optionally) disabled for
> non-CAP_SYS_ADMIN in commit 83efeeeb3d04 ("tty: Allow TIOCSTI to be disabled")
> and commit 690c8b804ad2 ("TIOCSTI: always enable for CAP_SYS_ADMIN").
> The number of exploits which have used TIOCSTI in the past is long[1] and has
> affected multiple sandboxing and sudo-like tools.  If the user is using the
> console, TIOCLINUX's cut&paste functionality can replace TIOCSTI in these
> exploits.
> We have this problem with the Landlock LSM as well, with both TIOCSTI and these
> TIOCLINUX subcodes.
> Here is an example scenario:
> * User runs a vulnerable version of the "ping" command from the console.

Don't do that :)

> * The "ping" command is a hardened version which puts itself into a Landlock
>   sandbox, but it still has the TTY FD through stdout.
> * Ping gets buffer-overflow-exploited by an attacker through ping responses.

You allowed a root-permissioned program to accept unsolicted network
code, why is it the kernel's issue here?

> * The attacker can't directly access the file system, but the attacker can
>   escape the sandbox by controlling the surrounding (non-sandboxed) shell on its
>   terminal through TIOCLINUX.
> The ping example is not completely made up -- FreeBSD had such a vulnerability
> in its ping utility in 2022[2].  The impact of the vulnerability was mitigated
> by FreeBSD's Capsicum sandboxing.
> The correct solution for the problem on Linux is to my knowledge to create a
> pty/tty pair, but that is somewhat impractical for small utilities like ping, in
> order to restrict themselves (they would need to create a sidecar process to
> shovel the data back and forth).  Workarounds include setsid() and seccomp-bpf,
> but they also have their limits and are not a clean solution.  We've previously
> discussed it in [3].
> I do believe that requiring CAP_SYS_ADMIN for TIOCLINUX's TIOCL_PASTESEL subcode
> would be a better approach than so many sudo-style and sandboxing tools having
> to learn this lesson the hard way.  Can we please reconsider this patch?

Have you verified that nothing will break with this?

If so, it needs to be submitted in a form that could be accepted (this
one was not, so I couldn't take it even if I wanted to), and please add
a tested-by from you and we will be glad to reconsider it.


greg k-h

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