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Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2015 16:14:22 -0500
From: David Windsor <>
Subject: Re: Kernel Self Protection Project


I've done some work towards adding PAX_REFCOUNT to Ubuntu previously [1],
so I can resurrect those patches.  Note that those patches were directly
cherrypicked from PaX/grsec, without any sort of controls (sysctl, proc,
ioctl or otherwise) governing runtime behavior of this feature.  I can add
them if desired.

I also proposed a patch for adding overflow protection to kref [2], but
that patch was ultimately shot down.  Point being, I have some related
patches laying around that directly relate to refcount-based protection
which might be useful here.

David Windsor


On Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 3:59 PM, Kees Cook <> wrote:

> I'm organizing a community of people to work on the various kernel
> self-protection technologies (most of which are found in PaX and
> Grsecurity). I'm building on the presentation I gave at Kernel Summit
> where I sought to convince the other upstream Linux kernel developers
> that security is more than fixing bugs, and that we need to bring in
> proactive defenses:
> This is especially highlighted by the Washington Post article today:
> Between the companies that recognize the critical nature of this work,
> and with Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative happy to
> start funding specific work in this area, I think we can really make a
> dent.
> Let's start the work. I've built some wiki pages around my slides,
> where we can take notes, list examples, and coordinate:
> For now, I'm going to focus on taking a look at the PAX_SIZE_OVERFLOW
> gcc plugin, which will also get us the gcc plugin infrastructure.
> Other people, please speak up on what you'd like to tackle.
> for some non-plugin stuff to look at.
> Once we've got plugins, then we should look at PAX_MEMORY_STACKLEAK
> If you're feeling like disrupting people who depend on debugging, do
> If you're feeling especially bold, start on PAX_KERNEXEC and follow it
> Of course, there's plenty of other things, and tons I haven't listed
> in the wiki -- please add them and bring them up for discussion here.
> -Kees
> --
> Kees Cook
> Chrome OS Security

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