Proposing to host system-auth-agent in fdo

Alexander Larsson alexl at
Wed Oct 13 19:11:31 EEST 2004

On Wed, 2004-10-13 at 17:35 +0200, Carlos Garnacho wrote:
> On Wed, 2004-10-13 at 10:17 +0200, Alexander Larsson wrote:
> > On Tue, 2004-10-12 at 19:05 +0200, Carlos Garnacho wrote:
> > 
> > > In order to avoid malicious use of the program/API, there's a list of
> > > applications that are allowed to use the program, this list can be only
> > > handled by the root user, and the package already provides 2 commands to
> > > install/uninstall applications in that list (ideally, this will be
> > > handled transparently, during make install, rpm -i, dpkg -i, ...), so
> > > any application using this program will be there under the root user
> > > consent.
> > 
> > I'd like to point out that the way this is handled:
> > 
> > static char*
> > get_calling_app (void)
> > {
> >   pid_t ppid = 0;
> >   char  path[PATH_MAX], *link;
> >   int   length;
> > 
> >   ppid = getppid ();
> >   sprintf (path, "/proc/%d/exe", ppid);
> >   link = (char *) malloc (sizeof (char) * PATH_MAX);
> >   
> >   length = readlink (path, link, PATH_MAX);
> > 
> > Isn't very secure. Basically, to overcome it you only need to do:
> > LD_PRELOAD=/tmp/ /usr/bin/trusted_binary
> While it's true that the program should unset those vars before exec'ing
> the called application, the loader ignores any LD_PRELOAD or
> LD_LIBRARY_PATH envvar if the running program is setuid/setgid, so it's
> not an inmediate problem

I'm not sure i understand what you mean. Surely, if the app is setuid
already we wouldn't need system-auth-agent. I though we had the case of:
a trusted app, say /usr/bin/control-center can use system-auth-agent to
launch another app (say /usr/bin/update-config) as root. However, other
apps will be denied the right to start update-config as root. 

In this case, any app could start update-config by launching /usr/bin/control-center and have a global constructor
in that gets run before main(). control-center is not setuid
here, nor is there a place where system-auth-agent could unset
> > Furthermore, the /proc use is linux-only.
> I've found the equivalence in FreeBSD 5.3Beta1, and I'm sure that
> Solaris gets this info from /proc too, it was created for things like
> this
> This /proc use might be a problem when/if there are python/perl/...
> bindings, because that symlink would point to the interpreter, but I'm
> sure that it can be fixed with a plugin system (or simply custom
> functions) to parse /proc/$pid/cmdline. But anyway, I think that it's
> the most secure way to know that the app is authorized to use the agent

I agree that its currently the best way to try to authorize apps (gnome-
keyring uses it too). I'm just saying, its not perfect.
 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl at    alla at 
He's a scarfaced guitar-strumming card sharp who knows the secret of the alien 
invasion. She's a psychotic thirtysomething soap star with an evil twin 
sister. They fight crime! 

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