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Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2011 20:18:37 +0400
From: Vasiliy Kulikov <>
To: Pekka Enberg <>
Cc: Andrew Morton <>,, Kees Cook <>,
	Cyrill Gorcunov <>,
	Al Viro <>,
	Christoph Lameter <>,
	Matt Mackall <>,,, Dan Rosenberg <>,
	Theodore Tso <>, Alan Cox <>,
	Jesper Juhl <>,
	Linus Torvalds <>
Subject: Re: Re: [RFC PATCH 2/2] mm: restrict access to

On Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 19:11 +0300, Pekka Enberg wrote:
> >> What's different about the patch now?
> >
> > The exploitation you're talking about is an exploitation of kernel heap
> > bugs.  Dan's previous "make slabinfo 0400" patch tried to complicate
> > attacker's life by hiding information about how many free object are
> > left in the slab.  With this information an attacker may compute how he
> > should spray the slab to position slab object to increase his chances of
> > overwriting specific memory areas - pointers, etc.
> >
> > I don't speak about how much/whether closing slabinfo complicates this
> > task, though.  My idea is orthogonal to the Dan's idea.  I claim that
> > with 0444 slabinfo any user may get information about in-system activity
> > that he shouldn't learn.  In short, one may learn precisely when other
> > user reads directory contents, opens files, how much files there are in
> > the specific _private_ directory, how much files _private_ ecryptfs or
> > fuse mount point contains, etc.  This breaks user's assumption that
> > the number of files in a private directory is a private information.
> > There are a bit more thoughts in the patch description.
> Yes, I read your patch description and I think it's convincing enough
> to warrant a config option but not changing the default.
> However, if the encryptfs and infoleaks really are serious enough to
> hide /proc/slabinfo, I think you should consider switching over to
> kmalloc() instead of kmem_cache_alloc() to make sure nobody can
> gain access to the information.

kmalloc() is still visible in slabinfo as kmalloc-128 or so.

> >> > One note: only to _kernel_ developers.  It means it is a strictly
> >> > debugging feature, which shouldn't be enabled in the production systems.
> >>
> >> It's pretty much _the_ interface for debugging kernel memory leaks in
> >> production systems and we ask users for it along with /proc/meminfo
> >> when debugging many memory management related issues. When we
> >> temporarily dropped /proc/slabinfo with the introduction of SLUB, people
> >> complained pretty loudly.
> >
> > Could you point to the discussion, please?  I cannot find the patch for
> > 0400 slabinfo even in the linux-history repository.
> We dropped the whole file for SLUB:

Ah, I've misunderstood you.

> [ I didn't find the original discussion that motivated the above
>   patch but it should be somewhere in LKML archives around
>   that time. ]
> Making it root-only will have pretty much the same kind of
> out-of-the-box behavior.
> >> I'd be willing to consider this patch if it's a config option that's not enabled
> >> by default; otherwise you need to find someone else to merge the patch.
> >> You can add some nasty warnings to the Kconfig text to scare the users
> >> into enabling it. ;-)
> >
> > How do you see this CONFIG_ option?  CONFIG_PROCFS_COMPAT_MODES (or _PERMS),
> > defaults to Y?  If we find more procfs files with dangerous permissions,
> > we may move it under "ifndef CONFIG_PROCFS_COMPAT_PERMS".
> I guess CONFIG_RESTRICT_PROCFS type of thing makes most sense
> since the problem is not only about SLAB. If you want to make it slab-only
> config option, I'm fine with that too.

OK, then I'll prepare a patch with a configure option, if no other

> Please note that you need to restrict sysfs files for SLUB as well.


Thank you for the comments!

Vasiliy Kulikov - bringing security into open computing environments

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