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[libvirt] Investigation and possible fix of 1361592 - apparmor profiles do not include backing files


I've looked into why apparmor profiles do not contain exceptions for
backing files of images which later leads to permission errors due to
apparmor containment. As of newest libvirt git master, only the first
level backing image is included, the subsequent images are omitted.

Below is my investigation of why this issue happens. It is based on
libvirt git master as of 2018-08-15 (e3e48d7cb82d58). The possible fix
is easy, but I don't have the background how to write tests for it, so
it's best that someone who knows the project well completes the fix

In my case I have the following file hierarchy:
 - image-master.qcow2 (has backing file image-backing-1.qcow2)
 - image-backing-1.qcow2 (has backing file image-backing-2.qcow2
 - image-backing-2.qcow2

The apparmor profiles are created by the virt-aa-helper tool. The
get_files function (src/security/virt-aa-helper.c:949) creates a list of
files that need to be accessed by the virtual machine. The call to
virDomainDiskDefForeachPath() is responsible for creating the list of
files required to access each disk given the disk metadata.

The disk->src argument contains the source file. The expected file
hierarchy would be this:

disk->src->path == path/to/image-master.qcow2
disk->src->backingStore->path == path/to/image-backing-1.qcow2
disk->src->backingStore->backingStore->path == path/to/image-backing-2.qcow2

Unfortunately only the first two levels are present and
disk->src->backingStore->backingStore points to a dummy object.

The backing store details are filled in virStorageFileGetMetadata()
call. It calls into virStorageFileGetMetadataRecurse
(src/util/virstoragefile.c:4789) which will collect metadata for a
single image and recurse into itself for backing files.

For us, the following part of virStorageFileGetMetadataRecurse is
important (simplified for brevity):

virStorageFileGetMetadataInternal(src, ..., &backingFormat);

if (src->backingStoreRaw) {
    backingStore = ...

    if (backingFormat == VIR_STORAGE_FILE_AUTO)
        backingStore->format = VIR_STORAGE_FILE_RAW; [1]
    else if (backingFormat == VIR_STORAGE_FILE_AUTO_SAFE)
        backingStore->format = VIR_STORAGE_FILE_AUTO;
        backingStore->format = backingFormat;

    virStorageFileGetMetadataRecurse(backingStore, ...) [2]

The crux of the issue seems that the call to
virStorageFileGetMetadataInternal() for the image-master.qcow2 image
will set the `backingFormat` return value  to
VIR_STORAGE_FILE_AUTO. The code responsible is in qcowXGetBackingStore
(src/util/virstoragefile.c:491) called via
`fileTypeInfo[meta->format].getBackingStore(...)` at

It backingFormat is then downgraded to VIR_STORAGE_FILE_RAW at
src/util/virstoragefile.c:4854 ([1] above). This causes the next recurse
call to
virStorageFileGetMetadataRecurse() ([2] above) to not investigate the
backing images at all in virStorageFileGetMetadataInternal() as
fileTypeInfo[VIR_STORAGE_FILE_RAW].getBackingStore will be NULL.

The possible solution is to return VIR_STORAGE_FILE_AUTO_SAFE from
qcowXGetBackingStore.  It probably does not make much sense to prevent
probing of qcow2 backing images as we probe the first level of backing
images anyway, so that return value only affect second and subsequent
levels of backing images. Looking into the implementation of
qcowXGetBackingStore it also does not seem that it performs any
operations that are unsafe by design.

Currently VIR_STORAGE_FILE_AUTO is used only in qedGetBackingStore and
it does not seem that probing of qcow images is unsafe enough

What do the developers think about this? Could someone complete the fix
with tests or advise me about the testing frameworks if there's not
enough time?

Thanks a lot!

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