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Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2018 10:29:52 -0800
From: Nadav Amit <>
To: Will Deacon <>
Cc: Rick Edgecombe <>,
 Andrew Morton <>,
 Andy Lutomirski <>,
 linux-mm <>,
 LKML <>,
 Kernel Hardening <>,,,
 David Miller <>,
 Masami Hiramatsu <>,
 Steven Rostedt <>,
 Ingo Molnar <>,,
 Daniel Borkmann <>,,,
 Ard Biesheuvel <>,
 Jann Horn <>,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH 0/2] Don’t leave executable TLB entries to freed pages

> On Nov 28, 2018, at 1:57 AM, Will Deacon <> wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 05:21:08PM -0800, Nadav Amit wrote:
>>> On Nov 27, 2018, at 5:06 PM, Nadav Amit <> wrote:
>>>> On Nov 27, 2018, at 4:07 PM, Rick Edgecombe <> wrote:
>>>> Sometimes when memory is freed via the module subsystem, an executable
>>>> permissioned TLB entry can remain to a freed page. If the page is re-used to
>>>> back an address that will receive data from userspace, it can result in user
>>>> data being mapped as executable in the kernel. The root of this behavior is
>>>> vfree lazily flushing the TLB, but not lazily freeing the underlying pages. 
>>>> There are sort of three categories of this which show up across modules, bpf,
>>>> kprobes and ftrace:
>>>> 1. When executable memory is touched and then immediatly freed
>>>> This shows up in a couple error conditions in the module loader and BPF JIT
>>>> compiler.
>>> Interesting!
>>> Note that this may cause conflict with "x86: avoid W^X being broken during
>>> modules loading”, which I recently submitted.
>> I actually have not looked on the vmalloc() code too much recent, but it
>> seems … strange:
>>  void vm_unmap_aliases(void)
>>  {       
>>  ...
>>  	mutex_lock(&vmap_purge_lock);
>>  	purge_fragmented_blocks_allcpus();
>>  	if (!__purge_vmap_area_lazy(start, end) && flush)
>>  		flush_tlb_kernel_range(start, end);
>>  	mutex_unlock(&vmap_purge_lock);
>>  }
>> Since __purge_vmap_area_lazy() releases the memory, it seems there is a time
>> window between the release of the region and the TLB flush, in which the
>> area can be allocated for another purpose. This can result in a
>> (theoretical) correctness issue. No?
> If __purge_vmap_area_lazy() returns false, then it hasn't freed the memory,
> so we only invalidate the TLB if 'flush' is true in that case. If
> __purge_vmap_area_lazy() returns true instead, then it takes care of the TLB
> invalidation before the freeing.

Right. Sorry for my misunderstanding.


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