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Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2019 09:13:19 -0700
From: Andy Lutomirski <>
To: Alexander Graf <>, Nadav Amit <>
Cc: Andy Lutomirski <>, Dave Hansen <>, 
	Marius Hillenbrand <>, kvm list <>, 
	LKML <>, 
	Kernel Hardening <>, Linux-MM <>, 
	Alexander Graf <>, David Woodhouse <>, 
	"the arch/x86 maintainers" <>, Peter Zijlstra <>
Subject: Re: [RFC 00/10] Process-local memory allocations for hiding KVM secrets

On Thu, Jun 13, 2019 at 12:53 AM Alexander Graf <> wrote:
> On 13.06.19 03:30, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
> > On Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 1:27 PM Andy Lutomirski <> wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>> On Jun 12, 2019, at 12:55 PM, Dave Hansen <> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> On 6/12/19 10:08 AM, Marius Hillenbrand wrote:
> >>>> This patch series proposes to introduce a region for what we call
> >>>> process-local memory into the kernel's virtual address space.
> >>> It might be fun to cc some x86 folks on this series.  They might have
> >>> some relevant opinions. ;)
> >>>
> >>> A few high-level questions:
> >>>
> >>> Why go to all this trouble to hide guest state like registers if all the
> >>> guest data itself is still mapped?
> >>>
> >>> Where's the context-switching code?  Did I just miss it?
> >>>
> >>> We've discussed having per-cpu page tables where a given PGD is only in
> >>> use from one CPU at a time.  I *think* this scheme still works in such a
> >>> case, it just adds one more PGD entry that would have to context-switched.
> >> Fair warning: Linus is on record as absolutely hating this idea. He might change his mind, but it’s an uphill battle.
> > I looked at the patch, and it (sensibly) has nothing to do with
> > per-cpu PGDs.  So it's in great shape!
> Thanks a lot for the very timely review!
> >
> > Seriously, though, here are some very high-level review comments:
> >
> > Please don't call it "process local", since "process" is meaningless.
> > Call it "mm local" or something like that.
> Naming is hard, yes :). Is "mmlocal" obvious enough to most readers? I'm
> not fully convinced, but I don't find it better or worse than proclocal.
> So whatever flies with the majority works for me :).

My objection to "proc" is that we have many concepts of "process" in
the kernel: task, mm, signal handling context, etc.  These memory
ranges are specifically local to the mm.  Admittedly, it would be very
surprising to have memory that is local to a signal handling context,
but still.

> > We already have a per-mm kernel mapping: the LDT.  So please nix all
> > the code that adds a new VA region, etc, except to the extent that
> > some of it consists of valid cleanups in and of itself.  Instead,
> > please refactor the LDT code (arch/x86/kernel/ldt.c, mainly) to make
> > it use a more general "mm local" address range, and then reuse the
> > same infrastructure for other fancy things.  The code that makes it
> I don't fully understand how those two are related. Are you referring to
> the KPTI enabling code in there? That just maps the LDT at the same
> address in both kernel and user mappings, no?

The relevance here is that, when KPTI is on, the exact same address
refers to a different LDT in different mms, so it's genuinely an
mm-local mapping.  It works just like yours: a whole top-level paging
entry is reserved for it.  What I'm suggesting is that, when you're
all done, the LDT should be more or less just one more mm-local
mapping, with two caveats.  First, the LDT needs special KPTI
handling, but that's fine.  Second, the LDT address is visible to user
code on non-UMIP systems, so you'll have to decide if that's okay.  My
suggestion is to have the LDT be the very first address in the
mm-local range and then to randomize everything else in the mm-local

> So you're suggesting we use the new mm local address as LDT address
> instead and have that mapped in both kernel and user space? This patch
> set today maps "mm local" data only in kernel space, not in user space,
> as it's meant for kernel data structures.

Yes, exactly.

> So I'm not really seeing the path to adapt any of the LDT logic to this.
> Could you please elaborate?
> > KASLR-able should be in its very own patch that applies *after* the
> > code that makes it all work so that, when the KASLR part causes a
> > crash, we can bisect it.
> That sounds very reasonable, yes.
> >
> > + /*
> > + * Faults in process-local memory may be caused by process-local
> > + * addresses leaking into other contexts.
> > + * tbd: warn and handle gracefully.
> > + */
> > + if (unlikely(fault_in_process_local(address))) {
> > + pr_err("page fault in PROCLOCAL at %lx", address);
> > + force_sig_fault(SIGSEGV, SEGV_MAPERR, (void __user *)address, current);
> > + }
> > +
> >
> > Huh?  Either it's an OOPS or you shouldn't print any special
> > debugging.  As it is, you're just blatantly leaking the address of the
> > mm-local range to malicious user programs.
> Yes, this is a left over bit from an idea that we discussed and rejected
> yesterday. The idea was to have a DEBUG config option that allows
> proclocal memory to leak into other processes, but print debug output so
> that it's easier to catch bugs. After discussion, I think we managed to
> convince everyone that an OOPS is the better tool to find bugs :).
> Any trace of this will disappear in the next version.
> >
> > Also, you should IMO consider using this mechanism for kmap_atomic().
> It might make sense to use it for kmap_atomic() for debug purposes, as
> it ensures that other users can no longer access the same mapping
> through the linear map. However, it does come at quite a big cost, as we
> need to shoot down the TLB of all other threads in the system. So I'm
> not sure it's of general value?

What I meant was that kmap_atomic() could use mm-local memory so that
it doesn't need to do a global shootdown.  But I guess it's not
actually used for real on 64-bit, so this is mostly moot.  Are you
planning to support mm-local on 32-bit?

> Alex
> > Hi, Nadav!

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