Re: Tracker as a security risks

On Mon, 5 Dec 2016 13:44:40 +0000
Sam Thursfield <ssssam gmail com> wrote:

The design of Tracker takes the risks into account. Metadata
extraction is isolated in its own process (tracker-extract) which can
crash without (theoretically) causing any harm.

I don't see how that helps against security vulnerabilities.

Having an isolated process probably helps in a way that a crash won't
cause the whole tracker service to malfunction. Thus parsing broken
files won't cause a service disruption. But as long as this process
runs with normal user rights this doesn't protect in a security sense.

I think there needs to be a wider discussion about this and the
fundamental design choices done here need to be questioned.  

What questions do you have in particular?

Quite frankly, I don't claim to have all the answers here, that's why I
formulated it in an open "needs discussion" way.

I think sandboxing the tracker parser (which you already indicated
in your mail) is probably the most reasonable way to go forward. This
isn't exactly my area of expertise, so I can't comment on which
technique here is most promising.

The other issue I think is that the quality of huge parts of the foss
ecosystem needs to be improved. The good news here is that we got some
powerful tools in terms of fuzzing (afl, libfuzzer) and memory safety
bug detection (asan) in the past years. Ideally all free software devs
should be aware of those tools and use them in their development
process. I'm trying to help here where I can, see e.g. also my recent
post on this list [1]. If our libraries would be better tested we could
be more comfortable feeding it with untrusted inputs.

[1] gnome org/msg28161.html

Hanno Böck

mail/jabber: hanno hboeck de
GPG: FE73757FA60E4E21B937579FA5880072BBB51E42

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