Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2017 10:53:45 +1100
From: "Tobin C. Harding" <>
To: Petr Mladek <>
	"Jason A. Donenfeld" <>,
	Theodore Ts'o <>,
	Linus Torvalds <>,
	Kees Cook <>,
	Paolo Bonzini <>,
	Tycho Andersen <>,
	"Roberts, William C" <>,
	Tejun Heo <>,
	Jordan Glover <>,
	Greg KH <>, Joe Perches <>,
	Ian Campbell <>,
	Sergey Senozhatsky <>,
	Catalin Marinas <>,
	Will Deacon <>,
	Steven Rostedt <>,
	Chris Fries <>, Dave Weinstein <>,
	Daniel Micay <>,
	Djalal Harouni <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH V9] printk: hash addresses printed with %p

On Tue, Oct 31, 2017 at 04:39:44PM +0100, Petr Mladek wrote:
> On Mon 2017-10-30 09:59:16, Tobin C. Harding wrote:
> > Currently there are many places in the kernel where addresses are being
> > printed using an unadorned %p. Kernel pointers should be printed using
> > %pK allowing some control via the kptr_restrict sysctl. Exposing addresses
> > gives attackers sensitive information about the kernel layout in memory.
> > 
> > We can reduce the attack surface by hashing all addresses printed with
> > %p. This will of course break some users, forcing code printing needed
> > addresses to be updated.
> I am sorry for my ignorance but what is the right update, please?

Can I say first that I am in no way an expert, I am new to both this
problem and kernel dev in general.

> I expect that there are several possibilities:
>   + remove the pointer at all

This definitely stops the leak!

>   + replace it with %pK so that it honors kptr_restrict setting

I think this is the option of choice, see concerns below however. I get
the feeling that the hope with this patch is that a vast majority of
users of %p won't care so stopping all those addresses is the real win
for this patch. 

The next hoped benefit is that the hashing will shed light on this topic
and get developers to think about the issue before _wildly_ printing
addresses. Having to work harder to print the address in future will aid
this (assuming everyone doesn't just start using %x).

>   + any other option?

Use %x or %X - really bad, this will create more pain in the future.

> Is kptr_restrict considered a safe mechanism?
> Also kptr_restrict seems to be primary for the messages that are available
> via /proc and /sys. Is it good enough for the messages logged by
> printk()?

There is some concern that kptr_restrict is not overly great. Linus is
the main purveyor of this argument. I won't paraphrase here because I
will not do the argument justice.

See this thread for the whole discussion

[kernel-hardening] [RFC V2 0/6] add more kernel pointer filter options

Side note: If this (mentioning a previous thread) is bad form, or there
is a better way to do it, could you please tell me.

> Will there be a debug option that would allow to see the original
> pointers? Or what is the preferred way for debug messages?

It seems to me that there is a fundamental conflict between security and
debugging here. To debug we need the addresses, for a secure kernel we
need there to be _no_ addresses shown to user space.

I don't think we have the final solution to this at the moment.

> > For what it's worth, usage of unadorned %p can be broken down as
> > follows (thanks to Joe Perches).
> > 
> > $ git grep -E '%p[^A-Za-z0-9]' | cut -f1 -d"/" | sort | uniq -c
> >    1084 arch
> >      20 block
> >      10 crypto
> >      32 Documentation
> >    8121 drivers
> >    1221 fs
> >     143 include
> >     101 kernel
> >      69 lib
> >     100 mm
> >    1510 net
> >      40 samples
> >       7 scripts
> >      11 security
> >     166 sound
> >     152 tools
> >       2 virt
> It is evident that it will hit many people. I guess that they will
> be suprised and might have similar questions. It might make sense
> to decribe this in Documentation/printk-formats.txt.

Very good idea, V10 to include.


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.