seccomp (short for secure computing mode) is a computer security facility in the Linux kernel. seccomp allows a process to make a one-way transition into a "secure" state where it cannot make any system calls except
write() to already-open file descriptors. Should it attempt any other system calls, the kernel will terminate the process with SIGKILL or SIGSYS. In this sense, it does not virtualize the system's resources but isolates the process from them entirely.
|Original author(s)||Andrea Arcangeli|
|Initial release||March 8, 2005|
|License||GNU General Public License|
seccomp mode is enabled via the
prctl(2) system call using the
PR_SET_SECCOMP argument, or (since Linux kernel 3.17) via the
seccomp(2) system call. seccomp mode used to be enabled by writing to a file,
/proc/self/seccomp, but this method was removed in favor of
prctl(). In some kernel versions, seccomp disables the
RDTSC x86 instruction, which returns the number of elapsed processor cycles since power-on, used for high-precision timing.
seccomp-bpf is an extension to seccomp that allows filtering of system calls using a configurable policy implemented using Berkeley Packet Filter rules. It is used by OpenSSH and vsftpd as well as the Google Chrome/Chromium web browsers on Chrome OS and Linux. (In this regard seccomp-bpf achieves similar functionality, but with more flexibility and higher performance, to the older systrace—which seems to be no longer supported for Linux.)
seccomp was first devised by Andrea Arcangeli in January 2005 for use in public grid computing and was originally intended as a means of safely running untrusted compute-bound programs. It was merged into the Linux kernel mainline in kernel version 2.6.12, which was released on March 8, 2005.
Software using seccomp or seccomp-bpf
- Android uses a seccomp-bpf filter in the zygote since Android 8.0 Oreo.
- systemd's "SystemCallFilter" feature is based on seccomp.
- QEMU, the Quick Emulator, the core component to the modern virtualization together with KVM uses seccomp on the parameter --sandbox
- Docker. Docker is a software that allows to run applications inside of isolated containers. Docker can associate a seccomp profile with the container using the --security-opt parameter.
- Arcangeli's CPUShare was the only known user of seccomp for a while. Writing in February 2009, Linus Torvalds expresses doubt whether seccomp is actually used by anyone. However, a Google engineer replied that Google is exploring using seccomp for sandboxing its Chrome web browser.
- Firejail is an open source Linux sandbox program that utilizes Linux Namespaces, Seccomp, and other kernel-level security features to sandbox Linux and Wine applications.
- As of Chrome version 20, seccomp-bpf is used to sandbox Adobe Flash Player.
- As of Chrome version 23, seccomp-bpf is used to sandbox the renderers.
- Snap specify the shape of their application sandbox using 'interfaces' which snapd translates to seccomp, AppArmor and other security constructs
- vsftpd uses seccomp-bpf sandboxing as of version 3.0.0.
- OpenSSH has supported seccomp-bpf since version 6.0.
- Mbox uses ptrace along with seccomp-bpf to create a secure sandbox with less overhead than ptrace alone.
- LXD, an Ubuntu "hypervisor" for containers
- Firefox and Firefox OS, which use seccomp-bpf
- Tor supports seccomp since 0.2.5.1-alpha
- Lepton, a JPEG compression tool developed by Dropbox uses seccomp
- Kafel is a configuration language, which converts readable policies into seccompb-bpf bytecode
- Subgraph OS uses seccomp-bpf
- Flatpak uses seccomp for process isolation
- Bubblewrap is a lightweight setuid sandbox application developed from Flatpak
- minijail uses seccomp for process isolation
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- "Lepton image compression: saving 22% losslessly from images at 15MB/s". Dropbox Tech Blog. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
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- "Subgraph OS". Subgraph. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
- "LoganCIJ16: Future of OS". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-12-18.
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- "Minijail [LWN.net]". lwn.net. Retrieved 2017-04-11.