Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Tue, 23 May 2017 19:12:01 -0700
From: Kees Cook <>
To: Andrew Morton <>
Cc: Daniel Micay <>, 
	"" <>, 
	linux-kernel <>, Mark Rutland <>, 
	Daniel Axtens <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v3] add the option of fortified string.h functions

On Tue, May 23, 2017 at 3:48 PM, Andrew Morton
<> wrote:
> On Mon, 22 May 2017 19:10:25 -0400 Daniel Micay <> wrote:
>> This adds support for compiling with a rough equivalent to the glibc
>> _FORTIFY_SOURCE=1 feature, providing compile-time and runtime buffer
>> overflow checks for string.h functions when the compiler determines the
>> size of the source or destination buffer at compile-time. Unlike glibc,
>> it covers buffer reads in addition to writes.
>> GNU C __builtin_*_chk intrinsics are avoided because they would force a
>> much more complex implementation. They aren't designed to detect read
>> overflows and offer no real benefit when using an implementation based
>> on inline checks. Inline checks don't add up to much code size and allow
>> full use of the regular string intrinsics while avoiding the need for a
>> bunch of _chk functions and per-arch assembly to avoid wrapper overhead.
>> This detects various overflows at compile-time in various drivers and
>> some non-x86 core kernel code. There will likely be issues caught in
>> regular use at runtime too.
>> Future improvements left out of initial implementation for simplicity,
>> as it's all quite optional and can be done incrementally:
>> * Some of the fortified string functions (strncpy, strcat), don't yet
>>   place a limit on reads from the source based on __builtin_object_size of
>>   the source buffer.
>> * Extending coverage to more string functions like strlcat.
>> * It should be possible to optionally use __builtin_object_size(x, 1) for
>>   some functions (C strings) to detect intra-object overflows (like
>>   glibc's _FORTIFY_SOURCE=2), but for now this takes the conservative
>>   approach to avoid likely compatibility issues.
>> * The compile-time checks should be made available via a separate config
>>   option which can be enabled by default (or always enabled) once enough
>>   time has passed to get the issues it catches fixed.
> Confused by the final paragraph.  The patch adds CONFIG_FORTIFY_SOURCE
> so isn't that to-do item completed?

Right now FORTIFY_SOURCE performs two checks: compile-time (when both
sizes can be determined) and run-time (when only destination size can
be determined). They could be split, if it ever makes sense to do so.
For example, the compile-time checks could be made mandatory once all
fixes everywhere else have stabilized, and split the run-time checks
as a new CONFIG (since they technically do add a small bump to .text
size). I think maybe the best option for the future would be to just
make the compile-time checks mandatory and have CONFIG_FORTIFY_SOURCE
just cover the runtime checks. But let's see how far we get as-is.

> Also, what does __NO_FORTIFY do?  Nothing ever defines it?

It's used to disable FORTIFY coverage as needed in the build. It's
used in this patch already to avoid collision with KASan.

I've been sending fixes for things that FORTIFY detected, and most
have been taken by various maintainers. Do you want to carry the
remaining fixes I have in my kssp/fortify tree, or should I keep
pestering maintainers? I can recheck -next to see which are
outstanding and send them to you...


Kees Cook
Pixel Security

Powered by blists - more mailing lists

Confused about mailing lists and their use? Read about mailing lists on Wikipedia and check out these guidelines on proper formatting of your messages.