evm: Check xattr size discrepancy between kernel and user

The kernel and the user obtain an xattr value in two different ways:

kernel (EVM): uses vfs_getxattr_alloc() which obtains the xattr value from
              the filesystem handler (raw value);

user (ima-evm-utils): uses vfs_getxattr() which obtains the xattr value
                      from the LSMs (normalized value).

Normally, this does not have an impact unless security.selinux is set with
setfattr, with a value not terminated by '\0' (this is not the recommended
way, security.selinux should be set with the appropriate tools such as
chcon and restorecon).

In this case, the kernel and the user see two different xattr values: the
former sees the xattr value without '\0' (raw value), the latter sees the
value with '\0' (value normalized by SELinux).

This could result in two different verification outcomes from EVM and
ima-evm-utils, if a signature was calculated with a security.selinux value
terminated by '\0' and the value set in the filesystem is not terminated by
'\0'. The former would report verification failure due to the missing '\0',
while the latter would report verification success (because it gets the
normalized value with '\0').

This patch mitigates this issue by comparing in evm_calc_hmac_or_hash() the
size of the xattr returned by the two xattr functions and by warning the
user if there is a discrepancy.

Signed-off-by: Roberto Sassu <>
Suggested-by: Mimi Zohar <>
Signed-off-by: Mimi Zohar <>
1 file changed