Before reading this chapter, a few key terms must be explained. This will hopefully clear up any confusion that may occur and avoid the abrupt introduction of new terms and information.
compartment: A compartment is a set of programs and data to be partitioned or separated, where users are given explicit access to specific components of a system. Also, a compartment represents a grouping, such as a work group, department, project, or topic. Using compartments, it is possible to implement a need-to-know security policy.
high water mark: A high water mark policy is one which permits the raising of security levels for the purpose of accessing higher level information. In most cases, the original level is restored after the process is complete. Currently, the FreeBSD MAC framework does not have a policy for this, but the definition is included for completeness.
integrity: Integrity, as a key concept, is the level of trust which can be placed on data. As the integrity of the data is elevated, so does the ability to trust that data.
label: A label is a security attribute which can be applied to files, directories, or other items in the system. It could be considered a confidentiality stamp; when a label is placed on a file it describes the security properties for that specific file and will only permit access by files, users, resources, etc. with a similar security setting. The meaning and interpretation of label values depends on the policy configuration: while some policies might treat a label as representing the integrity or secrecy of an object, other policies might use labels to hold rules for access.
level: The increased or decreased setting of a security attribute. As the level increases, its security is considered to elevate as well.
low water mark: A low water mark policy is one which permits lowering of the security levels for the purpose of accessing information which is less secure. In most cases, the original security level of the user is restored after the process is complete. The only security policy module in FreeBSD to use this is mac_lomac(4).
multilabel property is a file system option which can be set
in single user mode using the tunefs(8) utility,
during the boot operation using the fstab(5) file, or
during the creation of a new file system. This option will permit an administrator
to apply different MAC labels on
different objects. This option only applies to security policy modules which
object: An object or system object is an entity through which information flows under the direction of a subject. This includes directories, files, fields, screens, keyboards, memory, magnetic storage, printers or any other data storage/moving device. Basically, an object is a data container or a system resource; access to an object effectively means access to the data.
policy: A collection of rules which defines how objectives are to be achieved. A policy usually documents how certain items are to be handled. This chapter will consider the term policy in this context as a security policy; i.e. a collection of rules which will control the flow of data and information and define whom will have access to that data and information.
sensitivity: Usually used when discussing MLS. A sensitivity level is a term used to describe how important or secret the data should be. As the sensitivity level increases, so does the importance of the secrecy, or confidentiality of the data.
single label: A single label is
when the entire file system uses one label to enforce access control over the
flow of data. When a file system has this set, which is any time when the
multilabel option is not set, all files will conform to
the same label setting.
subject: a subject is any active entity that causes information to flow between objects; e.g., a user, user process, system process, etc. On FreeBSD, this is almost always a thread acting in a process on behalf of a user.