codeblog code is freedom — patching my itch

7/31/2009

blocking module loading

Filed under: Blogging,Debian,Security,Ubuntu,Ubuntu-Server — kees @ 11:47 am

New for Linux 2.6.31 (and Ubuntu 9.10) is the ability to throw a one-way toggle to block module loading via /proc/sys/kernel/modules_disabled:

# uname -a
Linux sec-karmic-amd64 2.6.31-4-generic #23-Ubuntu SMP Mon Jul 27 18:39:59 UTC 2009 x86_64 GNU/Linux
# lsmod | head -n3
Module Size Used by
binfmt_misc 10220 1
ppdev 8200 0
# cat /proc/sys/kernel/modules_disabled
0
# modprobe usb-storage
# lsmod | head -n3
Module Size Used by
usb_storage 65600 0
binfmt_misc 10220 1
# echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/modules_disabled
# rmmod usb-storage
ERROR: Removing 'usb_storage': Operation not permitted
# modprobe zlib_deflate
FATAL: Error inserting zlib_deflate (/lib/modules/2.6.31-4-generic/kernel/lib/zlib_deflate/zlib_deflate.ko): Operation not permitted
# echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/modules_disabled
bash: echo: write error: Invalid argument
# cat /proc/sys/kernel/modules_disabled
1

The intent is for this to allow paranoid server admins (or other people not expecting to hot-plug new hardware or kernel services) the ability to block module loading without compiling a monolithic kernel.

This kind of thing used to be available through the “lcap” utility modifying the global capability bounding set (which was removed in 2.6.25), but init could always be made to turn it back on.

Combined with the removal of /dev/kmem and the hardening of /dev/mem, this closes another kernel rootkit door. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s another layer.

Now we just have to figure out ways to stamp out unexpected ioport-triggered DMA access.

© 2009, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Creative Commons License

7/16/2009

Diminished Dapper

Filed under: Blogging,Security,Ubuntu,Ubuntu-Server — kees @ 10:18 am

Dapper has reached it’s half-way support age. This means that only shipped server packages are getting official support. If you’re still running Dapper, upgrade to Hardy (and then consider upgrading through Intrepid to Jaunty too, since Intrepid and newer has awesome compiler defaults).

Looking back through my build logs, I can see that my desktop spent 51 hours, 48 minutes, and 37 seconds building 389 security updates. As before, these times obviously don’t include patch hunting/development, failed builds, testing, stuff done on my laptop or the porting machines, etc.

Current combined devel/security build standings per release:

hardy: 172:23:11
intrepid: 85:34:53
jaunty: 20:11:53

Thank you Dapper Desktop! I am reminded what you look like each time I start a Dapper VM. If not for that, my memory of you would have diminished long ago.

© 2009, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
Creative Commons License

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