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SELinux by Bill McCarty

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Transition Decisions

Access decisions are one of the two basic kinds of decisions made by the SELinux security server. Transition decisionswhich are sometimes called labeling decisionsare the second.

Since every object has a security context, newly created objects must be labeled with some security context. A transition decision decides what security context is chosen. Transition decisions come up in two common contexts:

Process (subject) creation

The new process may run in the same domain as its parent or in another authorized domain. If the process runs in another domain, a domain transition is said to have occurred.

File (object) creation

The new file (or file-like object, such as a directory) may be labeled with the security context of the directory containing it or with another authorized domain. If the file’s security context pertains to a domain other than that of the directory that contains it, a file-type transition—or, more simply, a type transition—is said to have occurred.

Tip

In SELinux, the terms domain and type are synonymous. The term domain is more often used in reference to processes, while type is more often used in reference to passive objects such as files.

Let’s first consider process creation. Given permission, a running process—called a parent process—may invoke the exec syscall, creating a new process—called a child process—by executing a specified program file. Generally, the child process runs in the same SELinux domain as the parent process and receives ...

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