Linus Torvalds Agrees to Kernel Lockdown

Oct 01, 2019

The feature will let developers restrict root access to the kernel.

Linus Torvalds has finally agreed to implement lockdown feature to the Linux kernel. The features was proposed several years ago but was rejected by Torvalds.

The upcoming release of Linux, version 5.4, will include this feature as a Linux Security Module (LSM). It will have two lockdown modes: “integrity” and “confidentiality.”

Torvalds explained that, “If set to integrity, kernel features that allow userland to modify the running kernel are disabled. If set to confidentiality, kernel features that allow userland to extract confidential information from the kernel are also disabled.”

According to ZDNet, the new feature’s primary function will be to strengthen the divide between userland processes and kernel code  – even the root user will have limited acces.

The feature will be disabled by default as it could lead to unexpected behaviors. Many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and Red Hat have already implemented their own lockdown features using additional modules.

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