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Re: How best get rid of SELinux?

Mike McCarty wrote:
After a machine has been compromised, IMO it must be restored
to a pre-compromise state. Trying to mitigate damage on a
compromised machine is wrong-headed.


I agree that compromised systems should be "fixed" so they aren't compromised anymore. However, I don't agree that it is "wrong-headed" to attempt to mitigate the damage done to such a system. Things like fire doors that close automatically when a fire is detected mitigate the damage a fire can do to a building. Traction control and anti-lock brakes on vehicles attempt to keep the car from crashing once stability is compromised. The firewall that contains a car's engine compartment and the airbag that deploys if the vehicle crashes both attempt to mitigate the damage done to the driver if something goes wrong. Even white blood cells protect against pathogens that have breached the external defenses of our bodies in an attempt to mitigate damage to surrounding tissues.

None of the mechanisms I have just described work as expected 100% of the time but that is hardly reason to do away with any of them entirely. As I'm sure you're aware, any good security posture has "defense in depth" as part of its scheme because it is historically a bad idea to rely on a single mechanism for overall security. SELinux may not the best solution out there but it does serve a very important purpose - it mitigates system damage in order to preserve as much of the remaining system as possible. I don't think anyone would argue that it makes sense to let someone who hacks a web server also get control of the credit card numbers stored in a database on the same machine. Likewise, with all due respect, it doesn't make sense to assert that trying to stop bad guys from doing all the damage they could is the wrong philosophy. That would be like watching your entire home burn down from a fire on the stove because you feel the fire extinguisher, something that would minimize the fire damage, is somehow philosophically wrong.


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