Support for SELinux

SELinux is a labelling system to implement MAC(mandatory access control) for subjects(user, process) over objects (files, dirs, sockets) and to protect the confidentiality of objects. It is a policy driven system where rules can be mapped to the labels which have been given to subjects, objects. It is an extra level of security provided on top of Linux normal file ownership/permissions.

Photon OS 4.0 offersx support for SELinux. The support covers a minimal set of policies for the container runtime case and it is referred to as the default policy. It is a Multi-Category Security (MCS) policy. So the files on the filesystem can be labeled with multiple categories.The MCS policy is actively used by container runtime as runc/containerd/docker/kubernetes to assign the per-container category.

The default policy in Photon OS does not use user, role (RBAC) and level (MLS) fields of the file labels.It operates only with the context and category fields. It consists of several modules loaded with priority as 100. The user-defined policy can overwrite default modules by using the higher priority.

Enabling SELinux

To enable SELinux on Photon OS:

  1. Install default policy and its dependencies. Initial filesystem labeling will be done as RPM post action.

    tdnf install -y selinux-policy

  2. Enable SELinux security model in kernel by adding 2 kernel parameters:

  • security=selinux
  • selinux=1

Ensure that you reboot after adding the kernel parameters.

  1. After reboot, the system runs in SELinux permissive mode. To confirm, check the journal:

    journalctl -b0 | grep -i selinux
    Feb 26 21:42:09 photon-machine kernel: SELinux:  Initializing.
    Feb 26 21:42:09 photon-machine kernel: SELinux:  policy capability ...
    Feb 26 21:42:09 photon-machine kernel: audit: type=1403 audit(1589406128.920:2): auid=4294967295 ses=4294967295 lsm=selinux res=1
    Feb 26 21:42:09 photon-machine systemd[1]: Successfully loaded SELinux policy in 322.475ms.

Switch SELinux to enforcing mode

The three methods to toggle enforcing mode are as follows:

  1. Run the setenforce 1 command (libselinux-utils rpm), Enforcing mode will be set immediately, but it is not preserved on reboot.
  2. Edit the /etc/selinux/config file to set SELINUX=enforcing and reboot.
  3. Add the enforcing=1 kernel parameter and reboot.

Developing Customized Policy

Photon OS provides an ability to develop customized additional policy on top of existing default policy. The following example is for adding the sys_admin capability policy:

  1. Install policy development packages:

    tdnf install -y selinux-policy-devel semodule-utils
  2. Create .te file

    cat getty_local.te
    policy_module(getty_local, 1.0)
        type getty_t;
    allow getty_t self:capability sys_admin;
  3. Compile it into .pp file

    make -f /usr/share/selinux/devel/Makefile getty_local.pp
  4. Load it with priority 200. It will permanently alter default policy. And this change will survive reboot cycle.

    semodule -i getty_local.pp -X 200
  5. Check result

    sesearch -A -s getty_t -t getty_t -c capability
    allow getty_t getty_t:capability { chown dac_override dac_read_search fowner fsetid setgid sys_admin sys_resource sys_tty_config };
  6. List of loaded modules and their priorities

    semodule -lfull

Debugging SELinux

Install the debugging tools as follows:

tdnf install -y setools python3-pip

pip3 install networkx

List all actions denied by Selinux using the following command:

journalctl _TRANSPORT=audit -b 0 | grep denied

Feb 26 21:42:43 photon-machine audit[445]: AVC avc:  denied  { sys_admin } for  pid=445 comm="agetty" capability=21
scontext=system_u:system_r:getty_t:s0-s0:c0.c1023 tcontext=system_u:system_r:getty_t:s0-s0:c0.c1023 tclass=capability permissive=0

You can see that the agetty process running in the getty_t context tries to change the capability of getty_t target to obtain sys_admin. To view the capability that getty_t can obtain:

sesearch -A -s getty_t -t getty_t -c capability

allow getty_t getty_t:capability { chown dac_override dac_read_search fowner fsetid setgid sys_resource sys_tty_config };

Important SELinux Files

Here are some of the important SELinux files:

  • SELinux config /etc/selinux/config

  • default policy folder /etc/selinux/default/

  • Binary policy blob to be loaded to kernel on every boot /etc/selinux/default/policy/policy.32

  • List of file labels used by the policy /etc/selinux/default/contexts/files/file_contexts

Troubleshooting Compilation Error

If compilation fails by any reason and it complains on some line number in the .cil file. You can run the pp compiler to get the plain text cil output.

/usr/libexec/selinux/hll/pp getty_local.pp
(roleattributeset cil_gen_require system_r)
(typeattributeset cil_gen_require getty_t)
(allow getty_t self (capability (sys_admin)))
Last modified November 8, 2023: Update (3799256)