Commit c90e1b4d authored by Paul Eggert's avatar Paul Eggert

Improve elisp “Security Considerations” doc

* doc/lispref/os.texi (Security Considerations):
Mention call-process and rename-file as opposed to shell commands.
Add some more cross-references.
parent cedd7cad
......@@ -2959,34 +2959,40 @@ Buffers}.
@item Authentication
Emacs has several functions that deal with passwords, e.g.,
@code{password-read}. Although these functions do not attempt to
@code{read-passwd}. @xref{Reading a Password}.
Although these functions do not attempt to
broadcast passwords to the world, their implementations are not proof
against determined attackers with access to Emacs internals. For
example, even if Elisp code attempts to scrub a password from
example, even if Elisp code uses @code{clear-string} to scrub a password from
its memory after using it, remnants of the password may still reside
in the garbage-collected free list.
in the garbage-collected free list. @xref{Modifying Strings}.
@item Code injection
Emacs can send commands to many other applications, and applications
should take care that strings sent as operands of these commands are
not misinterpreted as directives. For example, when sending a shell
not misinterpreted as directives. For example, when using a shell
command to rename a file @var{a} to @var{b}, do not simply use the
string @code{mv @var{a} @var{b}}, because either file name might start
with @samp{-}, or might contain shell metacharacters like @samp{;}.
Although functions like @code{shell-quote-argument} can help avoid
this sort of problem, they are not panaceas; for example, on a POSIX
platform @code{shell-quote-argument} quotes shell metacharacters but
not leading @samp{-}. @xref{Shell Arguments}.
not leading @samp{-}. @xref{Shell Arguments}. Typically it is safer
to use @code{call-process} than a subshell. @xref{Synchronous
Processes}. And it is safer yet to use builtin Emacs functions; for
example, use @code{(rename-file "@var{a}" "@var{b}" t)} instead of
invoking @command{mv}. @xref{Changing Files}.
@item Coding systems
Emacs attempts to infer the coding systems of the files and network
connections it accesses. If it makes a mistake, or if the other
parties to the network connection disagree with Emacs's deductions,
connections it accesses. @xref{Coding Systems}.
If Emacs infers incorrectly, or if the other
parties to the network connection disagree with Emacs's inferences,
the resulting system could be unreliable. Also, even when it infers
correctly, Emacs often can use bytes that other programs cannot. For
example, although to Emacs the NUL (all bits zero) byte is just a
example, although to Emacs the null byte is just a
character like any other, many other applications treat it as a string
terminator and mishandle strings or files containing NUL bytes.
terminator and mishandle strings or files containing null bytes.
@item Environment and configuration variables
POSIX specifies several environment variables that can affect how
......@@ -2998,7 +3004,7 @@ environment variables (e.g., @env{PATH}, @env{POSIXLY_CORRECT},
@env{SHELL}, @env{TMPDIR}) need to have properly-configured values in
order to get standard behavior for any utility Emacs might invoke.
Even seemingly-benign variables like @env{TZ} may have security
implications.
implications. @xref{System Environment}.
Emacs has customization and other variables with similar
considerations. For example, if the variable @code{shell-file-name}
......@@ -3025,6 +3031,7 @@ other applications do. For example, even when
@code{(file-readable-p "foo.txt")} returns @code{t}, it could be that
@file{foo.txt} is unreadable because some other program changed the
file's permissions between the call to @code{file-readable-p} and now.
@xref{Testing Accessibility}.
@item Resource limits
When Emacs exhausts memory or other operating system resources, its
......
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