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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2018 01:01:44 +0000
From: "Edgecombe, Rick P" <>
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Subject: Re: [PATCH RFC v3 0/3] Rlimit for module space

On Wed, 2018-10-24 at 18:04 +0200, Daniel Borkmann wrote:
> [ +Alexei, netdev ]
> On 10/24/2018 05:07 PM, Jessica Yu wrote:
> > +++ Ard Biesheuvel [23/10/18 08:54 -0300]:
> > > On 22 October 2018 at 20:06, Edgecombe, Rick P
> > > <> wrote:
> [...]
> > > I think it is wrong to conflate the two things. Limiting the number of
> > > BPF allocations and the limiting number of module allocations are two
> > > separate things, and the fact that BPF reuses module_alloc() out of
> > > convenience does not mean a single rlimit for both is appropriate.
> > 
> > Hm, I think Ard has a good point. AFAIK, and correct me if I'm wrong,
> > users of module_alloc() i.e. kprobes, ftrace, bpf, seem to use it
> > because it is an easy way to obtain executable kernel memory (and
> > depending on the needs of the architecture, being additionally
> > reachable via relative branches) during runtime. The side effect is
> > that all these users share the "module" memory space, even though this
> > memory region is not exclusively used by modules (well, personally I
> > think it technically should be, because seeing module_alloc() usage
> > outside of the module loader is kind of a misuse of the module API and
> > it's confusing for people who don't know the reason behind its usage
> > outside of the module loader).
> > 
> > Right now I'm not sure if it makes sense to impose a blanket limit on
> > all module_alloc() allocations when the real motivation behind the
> > rlimit is related to BPF, i.e., to stop unprivileged users from
> > hogging up all the vmalloc space for modules with JITed BPF filters.
> > So the rlimit has more to do with limiting the memory usage of BPF
> > filters than it has to do with modules themselves.
> > 
> > I think Ard's suggestion of having a separate bpf_alloc/free API makes
> > a lot of sense if we want to keep track of bpf-related allocations
> > (and then the rlimit would be enforced for those). Maybe part of the
> > module mapping space could be carved out for bpf filters (e.g. have
> > BPF_VADDR, BPF_VSIZE, etc like how we have it for modules), or
> > continue sharing the region but explicitly define a separate bpf_alloc
> > API, depending on an architecture's needs. What do people think?
> Hmm, I think here are several issues mixed up at the same time which is just
> very confusing, imho:
> 1) The fact that there are several non-module users of module_alloc()
> as Jessica notes such as kprobes, ftrace, bpf, for example. While all of
> them are not being modules, they all need to alloc some piece of executable
> memory. It's nothing new, this exists for 7 years now since 0a14842f5a3c
> ("net: filter: Just In Time compiler for x86-64") from BPF side; effectively
> that is even /before/ eBPF existed. Having some different API perhaps for all
> these users seems to make sense if the goal is not to interfere with modules
> themselves. It might also help as a benefit to potentially increase that
> memory pool if we're hitting limits at scale which would not be a concern
> for normal kernel modules since there's usually just a very few of them
> needed (unlike dynamically tracing various kernel parts 24/7 w/ or w/o BPF,
> running BPF-seccomp policies, networking BPF policies, etc which need to
> scale w/ application or container deployment; so this is of much more
> dynamic and unpredictable nature).
> 2) Then there is rlimit which is proposing to have a "fairer" share among
> unprivileged users. I'm not fully sure yet whether rlimit is actually a
> nice usable interface for all this. I'd agree that something is needed
> on that regard, but I also tend to like Michal Hocko's cgroup proposal,
> iow, to have such resource control as part of memory cgroup could be
> something to consider _especially_ since it already _exists_ for vmalloc()
> backed memory so this should be not much different than that. It sounds
> like 2) comes on top of 1).
FWIW, cgroups seems like a better solution than rlimit to me too. Maybe you all
already know, but it looks like the cgroups vmalloc charge is done in the main
page allocator and counts against the whole kernel memory limit. A user may want
to have a higher kernel limit than the module space size, so it seems it isn't
enough by itself and some new limit would need to be added.

As for what the limit should be, I wonder if some of the disagreement is just
from the name "module space".

There is a limited resource of physical memory, so we have limits for it. There
is a limited resource of CPU time, so we have limits for it. If there is a
limited resource for preferred address space for executable code, why not just
continue that trend? If other forms of unprivileged JIT come along, would it be
better to have N limits for each type? Request_module probably can't fill the
space, but technically there are already 2 unprivileged users. So IMHO, its a
more forward looking solution.

If there are some usage/architecture combos that don't need the preferred space
they can allocate in vmalloc and have it not count against the preferred space
limit but still count against the cgroups kernel memory limit.

Another benefit of centralizing the allocation of the "executable memory
preferred space" is KASLR. Right now that is only done in module_alloc and so
all users of it get randomized. If they all call vmalloc by themselves they will
just use the normal allocator.

Anyway, it seems like either type of limit (BPF JIT or all module space) will
solve the problem equally well today.

> 3) Last but not least, there's a short term fix which is needed independently
> of 1) and 2) and should be done immediately which is to account for
> unprivileged users and restrict them based on a global configurable
> limit such that privileged use keeps functioning, and 2) could enforce
> based on the global upper limit, for example. Pending fix is under
> which we intend to ship to
> Linus as soon as possible as short term fix. Then something like memcg
> can be considered on top since it seems this makes most sense from a
> usability point.
> Thanks a lot,
> Daniel

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