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Date: Wed, 22 Apr 2020 18:39:47 +0100
From: Will Deacon <>
To: Sami Tolvanen <>
Cc: Catalin Marinas <>,
	James Morse <>,
	Steven Rostedt <>,
	Ard Biesheuvel <>,
	Mark Rutland <>,
	Masahiro Yamada <>,
	Michal Marek <>,
	Ingo Molnar <>,
	Peter Zijlstra <>,
	Juri Lelli <>,
	Vincent Guittot <>,
	Dave Martin <>,
	Kees Cook <>,
	Laura Abbott <>, Marc Zyngier <>,
	Masami Hiramatsu <>,
	Nick Desaulniers <>,
	Jann Horn <>,
	Miguel Ojeda <>,,,,
Subject: Re: [PATCH v11 01/12] add support for Clang's Shadow Call Stack (SCS)

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 02:18:30PM -0700, Sami Tolvanen wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 06:17:28PM +0100, Will Deacon wrote:
> > > +	 * The shadow call stack is aligned to SCS_SIZE, and grows
> > > +	 * upwards, so we can mask out the low bits to extract the base
> > > +	 * when the task is not running.
> > > +	 */
> > > +	return (void *)((unsigned long)task_scs(tsk) & ~(SCS_SIZE - 1));
> > 
> > Could we avoid forcing this alignment it we stored the SCS pointer as a
> > (base,offset) pair instead? That might be friendlier on the allocations
> > later on.
> The idea is to avoid storing the current task's shadow stack address in
> memory, which is why I would rather not store the base address either.

What I mean is that, instead of storing the current shadow stack pointer,
we instead store a base and an offset. We can still clear the base, as you
do with the pointer today, and I don't see that the offset is useful to
an attacker on its own.

But more generally, is it really worthwhile to do this clearing at all? Can
you (or Kees?) provide some justification for it, please? We don't do it
for anything else, e.g. the pointer authentication keys, so something
feels amiss here.



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