A large number of system calls are exposed to every userland process
with many of them going unused for the entire lifetime of the
application. As system calls change and mature, bugs are found and
quashed. A certain subset of userland applications benefit by having
a reduce set of available system calls. The reduced set reduces the
total kernel surface exposed to the application. System call filtering
is meant for use with those applications.
The implementation currently leverages both the existing seccomp
infrastructure and the kernel tracing infrastructure. By centralizing
hooks for attack surface reduction in seccomp, it is possible to assure
attention to security that is less relevant in normal ftrace scenarios,
such as time of check, time of use attacks. However, ftrace provides a
rich, human-friendly environment for specifying system calls by name and
expected arguments. (As such, this requires FTRACE_SYSCALLS.)
What it isn't
System call filtering isn't a sandbox. It provides a clearly defined
mechanism for minimizing the exposed kernel surface. Beyond that, policy for
logical behavior and information flow should be managed with an LSM of your
An additional seccomp mode is exposed through mode '2'. This mode
depends on CONFIG_SECCOMP_FILTER which in turn depends on
A collection of filters may be supplied via prctl, and the current set of
filters is exposed in /proc/<pid>/seccomp_filter.
const char filters =
"sys_read: (fd == 1) || (fd == 2)\n"
"sys_write: (fd == 0)\n"
prctl(PR_SET_SECCOMP, 2, filters);
This will setup system call filters for read, write, and exit where reading can
be done only from fds 1 and 2 and writing to fd 0. The "on_next_syscall" directive tells
seccomp to not enforce the ruleset until after the next system call is run. This allows
for launchers to apply system call filters to a binary before executing it.
Once enabled, the access may only be reduced. For example, a set of filters may be:
Then it may call the following to drop mmap access:
prctl(PR_SET_SECCOMP, 2, "sys_mmap: 0");
The system call names come from ftrace events. At present, many system
calls are not hooked - such as x86's ptregs wrapped system calls.
In addition compat_task()s will not be supported until a sys32s begin
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