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Stéphane Graber

So last week I was in Dublin with my colleagues hacking on Oneiric. Most of the week has been spent either testing/fixing Ubuntu’s IPv6 support (more about that soon) or working on Arkose.

On Monday I released version 1.1 that was mostly bugfixes and introduced a new profile for Skype. Then after that I started working on the interesting stuff to end up releasing 1.2.1 on Thursday evening.

The new features are:

  • Filtered network support (one interface per container, routed/firewalled)
  • Video devices passthrough  (useful for Skype)
  • Support bind mount of files (thanks to Colin Watson)
  • Reworked UI for the wrapper

A lot of bugfixes also went in during the week. Now when Arkose crashes or raises an exception, it should deal with it properly, unmount everything and exit rather than leaving you with a lot of entries in your mount table.

The new Skype profile now lets you start Skype in an environment where it’ll only be able to see its configuration file, run on a separate isolated X server, access pulseaudio on a separate socket and only access the few video devices Arkose detected.

During the week I also spent some time talking to the Ubuntu Security team who also happen to be upstreams for Apparmor. In the future Arkose should start using Apparmor in cases where we don’t need an actual LXC container (depending on the profiles).

I also started working on a protocol-aware DBUS proxy based on the work from ???Alban Crequy so that Arkose should soon be able to filter what DBUS calls an app is allowed to do and prompt the user when accessing restricted information (keyring, contacts, …).
I’m hoping to have this merged into Arkose’s trunk branch this week.

After that I plan on spending some time implementing the network restrictions on top of the new “filtered network” support I introduced last week. Initially that should cover restricting an app to non-private (rfc1918) networks and eventually support fine grained filtering (destination and port).

Version 1.2.1 is available as tarballs on Launchpad or from the bzr branch or in current Ubuntu Oneiric. PPA builds are also available for Maverick and Natty.

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Stéphane Graber

(Just released Arkose 1.0 that’s a full rewrite in python using LXC and introducing a nice GUI for fine grained app restriction. Read below for details.)

Those of you who read my blog know that I’ve been working on a pet-project of mine called Arkose.
This project is used as the base for WebLive‘s feature allowing users to easily test any package in the Ubuntu archive.

At the Ubuntu Developer Summit, last month in Hungary, I was leading a session on application containing and gathered ideas on how to improve the safety of our user’s desktop while still making it easy for app developers.

Today, I’d like to present you with the initial result, the new version of Arkose which I ended up releasing as 1.0 (as it’s a full rewrite).

The biggest new feature is the “wrapper” that can be used by packagers or upstreams to specify what the software will have access to, so Arkose will spawn a container that only has access to these resources.

Arkose wrapper for gedit

Current access controls include:
- Which user to run the software as (current user or root user)
- Network access (currently, all or nothing)
- X server access (either no access at all, an independent X server using xpra or direct X access)
- DBUS access (any combination of session bus, system bus or no dbus access at all)
- Pulseaudio access (enabled or not)

Then the app can specify a list of paths using one of these options:
- Direct filesystem access with read/write depending on user permissions
- Overlay filesystem access, similar to direct but all changes are dropped when the app exits
- Temporary empty directory. created and available to the app and dropped when the app exits

As an example, here’s the definition file for a completely isolated “xeyes”:
[xeyes]
cmd="xeyes"
runas=user
network=false
xserver=isolated
dbus=none
pulseaudio=false
mount_bind=
mount_cow=
mount_restrict=

In this case, xeyes will appear almost as it’d in a regular environment. The only difference you’ll notice is that it won’t follow your mouse unless it’s in xeyes’ window. Also, if xeyes was to have some bug, it wouldn’t be able to eavesdrop on dbus, do any damage to the filesystem or even play a sound.

This 1.0 release is available for download at:
https://launchpad.net/arkose/trunk/1.0
Development code is available on Launchpad at:
https://code.launchpad.net/~arkose-devel/arkose/trunk
I have PPA builds for Maverick and Natty at:
https://launchpad.net/~arkose-devel/+archive/stable
The package also just got uploaded to Ubuntu Oneiric.

To start the gedit from the screenshot above, use:
arkose-wrapper-gui /usr/share/doc/arkose/examples/profiles/gedit.conf
Some other example profiles are available in:
/usr/share/doc/arkose/examples/profiles/

Here’s an example of how to use the new python module:
import arkose
container=arkose.ArkoseContainer(xserver="isolated",pulseaudio=True,network=True)
container.run_command("su stgraber -c xterm")
container.cleanup()

That will start an xterm as the user “stgraber” on an isolated X server and with pulseaudio and network support.

Next step for the project is to improve the GUI part, add all the new cool features to the old commands (arkose and arkose-gui), work on fine grained network access control and allow for translations. 1.1 should be released relatively soon with bug fixes and maybe some of these features.

I appreciate any comment or bug report. Comments can be left on this blog and bug reports on Launchpad: https://launchpad.net/arkose/+filebug

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