On Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 08:32:34PM -0400, Chris Mason wrote:
> > > That key is used to protect the contents of the data file, and to
> > > encrypt filenames and symlink targets --- since filenames can leak
> > > significant information about what the user is doing.  (For example,
> > > in the downloads directory of their web browser, leaking filenames is
> > > just as good as leaking part of their browsing history.)
> 
> One of the things that makes per-subvolume encryption attractive to me is
> that we're able to enforce the idea that an entire directory tree is
> encrypted by one key.  It can't be snapshotted again without the key, and it
> just fits with the rest of the btrfs management code.  I do want to support
> the existing vfs interfaces as well too though.

One of the main reasons for doing fs-level encryption is so you can
allow multiple users to have different keys.  In some cases you can
assume that different users will be in different distinct subvolumes
(e.g., each user has their own home directory), but that's not always
going to be possible.

One of the other things that was in the original design, but which got
dropped in our initial implementation, was the concept of having the
per-inode key wrapped by multiple user keys.  This would allow a file
to be accessible by more than one user.  So something to consider is
that there may very well be situations where you *want* to have more
than one key associated with a directory hierarchy.

> > The issue, here, is that inodes are fundamentally not a safe scope to
> > attach that information to in btrfs. As extents can be shared between
> > inodes (and thus both will need to decrypt them), and inodes can be
> > duplicated unmodified (snapshots), attaching keys and nonces to inodes
> > opens up a whole host of (possibly insoluble) issues, including
> > catastrophic nonce reuse via writable snapshots.
> 
> I'm going to have to read harder about nonce reuse.  In btrfs an inode is
> really a pair [ root id, inode number ], so strictly speaking two writable
> snapshots won't have the same inode in memory and when a snapshot is
> modified we'd end up with a different nonce for the new modifications.

Nonce reuse is not necessrily catastrophic.  It all depends on the
context.  In the case of Counter or GCM mode, nonce (or IV) reuse is
absolutely catastrophic.  It must *never* be done or you completely
lose all security.  As the Soviets discovered the hard way courtesy of
the Venona project (well, they didn't discover it until after they
lost the cold war, but...) one time pads are completely secure.
Two-time pads, are most emphatically _not_.  :-)

In the case of the nonces used in fscrypt's key derivation, reuse of
the nonce basically means that two files share the same key.  Assuming
you're using a competently designed block cipher (e.g., AES), reuse of
the key is not necessarily a problem.  What it would mean is that two
files which are are reflinked would share the same key.  And if you
have writable snapshots, that's definitely not a problem, since with
AES we use the a fixed key and a fixed IV given a logical block
number, and we can do block overwrites without having to guarantee
unique nonces (which you *do* need to worry about if you use counter
mode or some other stream cipher such as ChaCha20 --- Kent Overstreet
had some clever tricks to avoid IV reuse since he used a stream cipher
in his proposed bcachefs encryption).

The main issue is if you want to reflink a file and then have the two
files have different permissions / ownerships.  In that case, you
really want to use different keys for user A and for user B --- but if
you are assuming a single key per subvolume, you can't support
different keys for different users anyway, so you're kind of toast for
that use case in any case.

So in any case, assuming you're using block encryption (which is what
fscrypt uses) there really isn't a problem with nonce reuse, although
in some cases if you really do want to reflink a file and have it be
protected by different user keys, this would have to force copy of the
duplicated blocks at that point.  But arguably, that is a feature, not
a bug.  If the two users are mutually suspicious, you don't _want_ to
leak information about who much of a particular file had been changed
by a particular user.  So you would want to break the reflink and have
separate copies for both users anyway.


One final thought --- something which is really going to be a factor
in many use cases is going to be hardware accelerated encryption.  For
example, Qualcomm is already shipping an SOC where the encryption can
be done in the data path between the CPU and the eMMC storage device.
If you want to support certain applications that try to read megabytes
and megabytes of data before painting a single pixel, in-line hardware
crypto at line speeds is going to be critical if you don't want to
sacrifice performance, and keep users from being cranky because it
took extra seconds before they could start reading their news feed (or
saving bird eggs from voracious porcine predators, or whatever).

This may very well be an issue in the future not just for mobile
devices, but I could imagine this potentially being an issue for other
form factors as well.  Yes, Skylake can encrypt multiple bytes per
clock cycle using the miracles of hardware acceleration and
pipelining.  But in-line encryption will still have the advantage of
avoiding the memory bandwidth costs.  So while it is fun to talk about
exotic encryption modes, it would be wise to have file system
encryption architectures to have modes which are compatible with
hardware in-line encryption schemes.

This is also why I'm not all that excited by Kent's work trying to
implement fast encryption using a stream cipher such as Chacha20.
Technically, it's interesting, sure.  But on most modern systems, you
will either have really really good AES acceleration (any recent x86
system), or you will probably have at your disposal a hardware in-line
cyptographic engine (ICE) that is going to be way faster than Chacha20
implemented in software, and it means you don't have to go to extreme
lengths to avoid never reusing a nonce or risk losing all security
guarantees.  Block ciphers are much safer, and with hardware support,
any speed advantage of using a stream cipher disappears; indeed, a
stream cipher in software will be slower than a hardware accelerated
block cipher.

Cheers,

                                                - Ted
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