Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2018 21:31:45 +0200
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: mmap flags


I'd like to have two new security-related mmap() flags on Linux:

1. MAP_NOCORE - same as FreeBSD already has, "Region is not included in
a core file." per their man page.  We can now do similar by writing a
bitmask into /proc/<pid>/coredump_filter, but it's cumbersome (not
something a library would be OK doing because of its one security
sensitive and/or very large mapping needing this), low granularity (not
per mapping), and non-portable (MAP_NOCORE would be portable at least
between Linux and FreeBSD).

2. MAP_ZEROIZE (or whatever we call it) - zeroize the pages on unmap
(but not necessarily before the munmap() syscall returns), including on
[abnormal] process exit, which is good for security (if the data is
sensitive) and also for performance (the program doesn't have to do the
zeroization on its own and either wait for it to complete or spawn a
thread, but instead can trivially defer this work to be done by the
kernel a bit later; also, a subsequent mmap() with MAP_POPULATE, or
corresponding memory accesses if without MAP_POPULATE, can complete
quicker due to the lazily-zeroized pages).

I'd use both for yescrypt.  In fact, I learned of FreeBSD's MAP_NOCORE
from scrypt, so indeed yescrypt already uses it where available, too.

I'd also like SHM_* equivalents of these.  And a SHM_POPULATE too, but
that's purely for performance (not security), so is off-topic here.
I'd use those for yescrypt ROMs.

Perhaps the zeroization can build upon a common framework also
supporting a sysctl where it's forced on all (or only ever writable?)
mappings of all processes, without them requesting it explicitly.  It's
just set the flag on all mappings (few systems will) vs. only on some
(few libraries and programs will, but hopefully those where it's needed
the most).  This would reduce total complexity of the implementation.

Not hardening of the kernel (in fact, there's a risk we'd introduce bugs
at first), but helping harden the userland.

I'm just posting this in case anyone capable has time and willingness
to work on this.


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.