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Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2019 16:43:54 +0300
From: Alexey Budankov <>
To: Jonatan Corbet <>, Kees Cook <>,
 Thomas Gleixner <>, Ingo Molnar <>,
 Peter Zijlstra <>
Cc: Jann Horn <>, Arnaldo Carvalho de Melo <>,
 Jiri Olsa <>, Namhyung Kim <>,
 Alexander Shishkin <>,
 Andi Kleen <>, Mark Rutland <>,
 Tvrtko Ursulin <>,
 "" <>,
 "" <>,
 linux-kernel <>
Subject: [PATCH v3 2/4] perf-security: document collected perf_events/Perf
 data categories

Document and categorize system and performance data into groups that
can be captured by perf_events/Perf and explicitly indicate the group
that can contain process sensitive data.

Signed-off-by: Alexey Budankov <>
 Documentation/admin-guide/perf-security.rst | 32 +++++++++++++++++++--
 1 file changed, 30 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/admin-guide/perf-security.rst b/Documentation/admin-guide/perf-security.rst
index bac599e3c55f..8772d44a5912 100644
--- a/Documentation/admin-guide/perf-security.rst
+++ b/Documentation/admin-guide/perf-security.rst
@@ -11,8 +11,34 @@ impose a considerable risk of leaking sensitive data accessed by monitored
 processes. The data leakage is possible both in scenarios of direct usage of
 perf_events system call API [2]_ and over data files generated by Perf tool user
 mode utility (Perf) [3]_ , [4]_ . The risk depends on the nature of data that
-perf_events performance monitoring units (PMU) [2]_ collect and expose for
-performance analysis. Having that said perf_events/Perf performance monitoring
+perf_events performance monitoring units (PMU) [2]_ and Perf collect and expose
+for performance analysis. Collected system and performance data may be split into
+several categories:
+1. System hardware and software configuration data, for example: a CPU model and
+   its cache configuration, an amount of available memory and its topology, used
+   kernel and Perf versions, performance monitoring setup including experiment
+   time, events configuration, Perf command line parameters, etc.
+2. User and kernel module paths and their load addresses with sizes, process and
+   thread names with their PIDs and TIDs, timestamps for captured hardware and
+   software events.
+3. Content of kernel software counters (e.g., for context switches, page faults,
+   CPU migrations), architectural hardware performance counters (PMC) [8]_ and
+   machine specific registers (MSR) [9]_ that provide execution metrics for
+   various monitored parts of the system (e.g., memory controller (IMC), interconnect
+   (QPI/UPI) or peripheral (PCIe) uncore counters) without direct attribution to any
+   execution context state.
+4. Content of architectural execution context registers (e.g., RIP, RSP, RBP on
+   x86_64), process user and kernel space memory addresses and data, content of
+   various architectural MSRs that capture data from this category.
+Data that belong to the fourth category can potentially contain sensitive process
+data. If PMUs in some monitoring modes capture values of execution context registers
+or data from process memory then access to such monitoring capabilities requires
+to be ordered and secured properly. So, perf_events/Perf performance monitoring
 is the subject for security access control management [5]_ .
 perf_events/Perf access control
@@ -134,6 +160,8 @@ Bibliography
 .. [5] `<>`_
 .. [6] `<>`_
 .. [7] `<>`_
+.. [8] `<>`_
+.. [9] `<>`_
 .. [11] `<>`_
 .. [12] `<>`_

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