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Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2018 11:15:56 -0700
From: Andy Lutomirski <>
To: Igor Stoppa <>
Cc: Andy Lutomirski <>,
 Igor Stoppa <>, Nadav Amit <>,
 Kees Cook <>, Peter Zijlstra <>,
 Mimi Zohar <>,
 Matthew Wilcox <>, Dave Chinner <>,
 James Morris <>, Michal Hocko <>,
 Kernel Hardening <>,
 linux-integrity <>,
 LSM List <>,
 Dave Hansen <>,
 Jonathan Corbet <>, Laura Abbott <>,
 Randy Dunlap <>,
 Mike Rapoport <>,
 "open list:DOCUMENTATION" <>,
 LKML <>, Thomas Gleixner <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 10/17] prmem: documentation

> On Nov 21, 2018, at 9:34 AM, Igor Stoppa <> wrote:
> Hi,
>>> On 13/11/2018 20:36, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
>>> On Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 10:33 AM Igor Stoppa <> wrote:
>>> I forgot one sentence :-(
>>>>> On 13/11/2018 20:31, Igor Stoppa wrote:
>>>>> On 13/11/2018 19:47, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
>>>>> For general rare-writish stuff, I don't think we want IRQs running
>>>>> with them mapped anywhere for write.  For AVC and IMA, I'm less sure.
>>>> Why would these be less sensitive?
>>>> But I see a big difference between my initial implementation and this one.
>>>> In my case, by using a shared mapping, visible to all cores, freezing
>>>> the core that is performing the write would have exposed the writable
>>>> mapping to a potential attack run from another core.
>>>> If the mapping is private to the core performing the write, even if it
>>>> is frozen, it's much harder to figure out what it had mapped and where,
>>>> from another core.
>>>> To access that mapping, the attack should be performed from the ISR, I
>>>> think.
>>> Unless the secondary mapping is also available to other cores, through
>>> the shared mm_struct ?
>> I don't think this matters much.  The other cores will only be able to
>> use that mapping when they're doing a rare write.
> I'm still mulling over this.
> There might be other reasons for replicating the mm_struct.
> If I understand correctly how the text patching works, it happens sequentially, because of the text_mutex used by arch_jump_label_transform
> Which might be fine for this specific case, but I think I shouldn't introduce a global mutex, when it comes to data.
> Most likely, if two or more cores want to perform a write rare operation, there is no correlation between them, they could proceed in parallel. And if there really is, then the user of the API should introduce own locking, for that specific case.

Text patching uses the same VA for different physical addresses, so it need a mutex to avoid conflicts. I think that, for rare writes, you should just map each rare-writable address at a *different* VA.  You’ll still need a mutex (mmap_sem) to synchronize allocation and freeing of rare-writable ranges, but that shouldn’t have much contention.

> A bit unrelated question, related to text patching: I see that each patching operation is validated, but wouldn't it be more robust to first validate  all of then, and only after they are all found to be compliant, to proceed with the actual modifications?
> And about the actual implementation of the write rare for the statically allocated variables, is it expected that I use Nadav's function?
> Or that I refactor the code?

I would either refactor it or create a new function to handle the write. The main thing that Nadav is adding that I think you’ll want to use is the infrastructure for temporarily switching mms from a non-kernel-thread context.

> The name, referring to text would definitely not be ok for data.
> And I would have to also generalize it, to deal with larger amounts of data.
> I would find it easier, as first cut, to replicate its behavior and refactor only later, once it has stabilized and possibly Nadav's patches have been acked.

Sounds reasonable. You’ll still want Nadav’s code for setting up the mm in the first place, though.

> --
> igor

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