SELinux Continues Path Of Deprecating Run-Time Disabling

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Security on 5 October 2022 at 06:11 AM EDT. 21 Comments
LINUX SECURITY --
The Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) changes for Linux 6.1 but with a documentation update does provide a good reminder for a public service announcement: run-time disabling of SELinux is deprecated and will be removed in the future.

For a while now SELinux has deprecated run-time disabling - those turning off SELinux via editing the /etc/selinux/config with SELINUX=disabled or by writing to /sys/fs/selinux/disable. Both of these run-time methods of disabling Security Enhanced Linux will be removed in the future.

To properly disable SELinux in an easy and non-invasive manner, selinux=0 can be passed as a kernel parameter when booting Linux. The selinux=0 option is the endorsed means of disabling Security Enhancd Linux. Alternatively, if rolling your own kernel there is also the CONFIG_SECURITY_SELINUX_DISABLE switch.

Once SELinux removes the ability to be disabled at run-time, they can move ahead with other internal security improvements that are currently blocked. In turn the improvements that can be made once dropping run-time disabling will further harden the Linux kernel against attacks.

Linux 6.1 still has the deprecated ability to handle SELinux run-time disabling but the pull request for this merge window does remove another documentation reference to that ability. The other SELinux changes for this cycle are rather light.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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