Perfetto security model

This doc is WIP, stay tuned.

Security overview

The tracing service has two endpoints (in Chromium: Mojo services, on Android: UNIX sockets): one for producer(s) and one for consumer(s). The former is typically public, the latter is restricted only to trusted consumers.

Producers are never trusted. We assume they will try their best to DoS / crash / exploit the tracing service. We do so at the core/ so that the the same level of security and testing is applied regardless of the embedder and the IPC transport.

Tracing service

  • The tracing service has to validate all inputs.
  • In the worst case a bug in the tracing service allowing remote code execution, the tracing service should have no meaningful capabilities to exploit.
  • The tracing service, by design, has a limited syscall surface to simplify its sandboxing:
    • It doesn't open or create files (% tmpfs).
    • It writes only onto file descriptors passed over the IPC channel.
    • It doesn't open or create sockets (on Android the IPC sockets are passed by init, see perfetto.rc)
    • On Android it runs as nobody:nobody and is allowed to do very little see traced.te.
    • In Chromium it should run as a utility process.
    • TODO: we could use BPF syscall sandboxing both in Chromium and Android. Proof of concept

Consumers are always trusted. They still shouldn't be able to crash or exploit the service. They can easily DoS it though, but that is WAI.

  • In Chromium the trust path is established through service manifest.
  • In Android the trust path is established locking down the consumer socket to shell through SELinux.

Shared memory isolation
Memory is shared only point-to-point between each producer and the tracing service. We should never ever share memory across producers (in order to not leak trace data belonging to different producers) nor between producers and consumers (that would open a hard to audit path between untrusted-and-unprivileged and trusted-and-more-privileged entities).

Attestation of trace contents
The tracing service guarantees that the TracePacket fields defined also in trusted_packet.proto cannot be spoofed by the Producer(s). Packets that try to define those fields are rejected (modulo the clock snapshots).
See PacketStreamValidator and its unit test for more details.
At the moment nothing prevents that a producer writes TracePacket(s) that do not belong to its data sources. Realistically the service will never prevent that because doing so would imply that the service knows about all the possible types of packets, which doesn't scale.
However, the service appends the POSIX uid of the producer to each TracePacket
to perform offline attestation of the contents of the trace.

Internal docs