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Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2018 11:13:03 -0400
From: Rich Felker <>
To: Florian Weimer <>
Subject: Re: arc4random/csprng

On Wed, Jul 04, 2018 at 01:36:00PM +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:
> On 07/03/2018 05:17 PM, Rich Felker wrote:
> >>But it's still quite common to do things with direct system calls,
> >>particularly for setting up containers.
> >>
> >>I have not yet found a case which I couldn't solve with plain fork
> >>(with handlers) and unshare, but that's not what everyone does
> >>unfortunately.
> >
> >I agree you might need direct use of clone sometime for
> >namespace/container stuff, but I don't think there's any way it can be
> >made safe without careful consideration of what you do after the
> >operation before a subsequent execve or _exit. I don't think it makes
> >sense to design big machinery to support doing something that has
> >deeper reasons it can't work, but this is probably partly a difference
> >in philosophy between glibc and musl (see also: dlclose, lazy dtls,
> >lazy tlsdesc, ...).
> I would suggest to keep at least the fork detection bit, even if you
> do not reseed and deadlock or abort instead, because the duplicate
> stream of random bits could be very hard to detect otherwise.

I don't want, and I don't think others will want, musl to be
unconditionally mmapping extra memory in every process for the sake of
safely handling programs doing invalid/unsupported hacks. What might
be acceptable is something like, at stirring time, doing:

	if (__syscall(SYS_gettid)!=self->tid) a_crash();

Another idea is adding to syscall.c (public syscall() function)
something like:

	if (n==SYS_fork || n==SYS_clone) flag=1;

and in the csprng:

	if (flag) a_crash();

or just:

	if (n==SYS_fork || n==SYS_clone)
		return __syscall_ret(-EINVAL);

In any case, the public clone() function, which should be valid to use
in a limited sense if we're offering it at all, should also be
reviewed for safety (not specific to csprng issues) and for what
properties we want to guarantee/support, like whether it's valid to do
non-AS-safe stuff after a fork-like clone in a single-threaded
process. The above flag idea may be a useful tool in this -- by
actively storing knowledge that a type of fork/clone that leaves the
process in an async signal context has taken place, we could trap a
lot of UB in the child.


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