path: root/fsck.c
diff options
authorJeff King <>2018-07-13 19:39:58 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2018-07-16 17:57:23 (GMT)
commit64eb14d31093b9e3af4a35ac7c030f1cfac64895 (patch)
tree87924de09ad34bc30585f3a0169b01c29c6f9730 /fsck.c
parent0d68764d94958aece0355d5d27f383e7d4de2e58 (diff)
fsck: downgrade gitmodulesParse default to "info"
We added an fsck check in ed8b10f631 (fsck: check .gitmodules content, 2018-05-02) as a defense against the vulnerability from 0383bbb901 (submodule-config: verify submodule names as paths, 2018-04-30). With the idea that up-to-date hosting sites could protect downstream unpatched clients that fetch from them. As part of that defense, we reject any ".gitmodules" entry that is not syntactically valid. The theory is that if we cannot even parse the file, we cannot accurately check it for vulnerabilities. And anybody with a broken .gitmodules file would eventually want to know anyway. But there are a few reasons this is a bad tradeoff in practice: - for this particular vulnerability, the client has to be able to parse the file. So you cannot sneak an attack through using a broken file, assuming the config parsers for the process running fsck and the eventual victim are functionally equivalent. - a broken .gitmodules file is not necessarily a problem. Our fsck check detects .gitmodules in _any_ tree, not just at the root. And the presence of a .gitmodules file does not necessarily mean it will be used; you'd have to also have gitlinks in the tree. The cgit repository, for example, has a file named .gitmodules from a pre-submodule attempt at sharing code, but does not actually have any gitlinks. - when the fsck check is used to reject a push, it's often hard to work around. The pusher may not have full control over the destination repository (e.g., if it's on a hosting server, they may need to contact the hosting site's support). And the broken .gitmodules may be too far back in history for rewriting to be feasible (again, this is an issue for cgit). So we're being unnecessarily restrictive without actually improving the security in a meaningful way. It would be more convenient to downgrade this check to "info", which means we'd still comment on it, but not reject a push. Site admins can already do this via config, but we should ship sensible defaults. There are a few counterpoints to consider in favor of keeping the check as an error: - the first point above assumes that the config parsers for the victim and the fsck process are equivalent. This is pretty true now, but as time goes on will become less so. Hosting sites are likely to upgrade their version of Git, whereas vulnerable clients will be stagnant (if they did upgrade, they'd cease to be vulnerable!). So in theory we may see drift over time between what two config parsers will accept. In practice, this is probably OK. The config format is pretty established at this point and shouldn't change a lot. And the farther we get from the announcement of the vulnerability, the less interesting this extra layer of protection becomes. I.e., it was _most_ valuable on day 0, when everybody's client was still vulnerable and hosting sites could protect people. But as time goes on and people upgrade, the population of vulnerable clients becomes smaller and smaller. - In theory this could protect us from other vulnerabilities in the future. E.g., .gitmodules are the only way for a malicious repository to feed data to the config parser, so this check could similarly protect clients from a future (to-be-found) bug there. But that's trading a hypothetical case for real-world pain today. If we do find such a bug, the hosting site would need to be updated to fix it, too. At which point we could figure out whether it's possible to detect _just_ the malicious case without hurting existing broken-but-not-evil cases. - Until recently, we hadn't made any restrictions on .gitmodules content. So now in tightening that we're hitting cases where certain things used to work, but don't anymore. There's some moderate pain now. But as time goes on, we'll see more (and more varied) cases that will make tightening harder in the future. So there's some argument for putting rules in place _now_, before users grow more cases that violate them. Again, this is trading pain now for hypothetical benefit in the future. And if we try hard in the future to keep our tightening to a minimum (i.e., rejecting true maliciousness without hurting broken-but-not-evil repos), then that reduces even the hypothetical benefit. Considering both sets of arguments, it makes sense to loosen this check for now. Note that we have to tweak the test in t7415 since fsck will no longer consider this a fatal error. But we still check that it reports the warning, and that we don't get the spurious error from the config code. Signed-off-by: Jeff King <> Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
Diffstat (limited to 'fsck.c')
1 files changed, 1 insertions, 1 deletions
diff --git a/fsck.c b/fsck.c
index 4129935..69ea8d5 100644
--- a/fsck.c
+++ b/fsck.c
@@ -62,7 +62,6 @@ static struct oidset gitmodules_done = OIDSET_INIT;
@@ -77,6 +76,7 @@ static struct oidset gitmodules_done = OIDSET_INIT;
/* infos (reported as warnings, but ignored by default) */ \