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Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 03:35:09 +0300
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Re: Linux kernel proactive security hardening

Hi all -

On Sun, Nov 07, 2010 at 02:16:32PM -0800, Kees Cook wrote:
> A push has started to try to get as much as possible upstream into the
> Linux kernel from the various hardening patches that exist in PaX,
> grsecurity, OpenWall, etc. I've got some details here:
> And there's a sign-up list here, for people interested in helping out:
> We could use the help. :)

Here's another way to help out: Openwall is a mentoring organization for
Google Summer of Code 2011 (GSoC), and one of our "ideas" is this:

"Linux kernel hardening - extract security hardening changes from various
patches (which the mentor will point out), forward-port them to the
latest mainstream kernels, make it easy to enable/disable the hardening
measures (both compile- and runtime), add documentation, properly submit
to and work with LKML (make proposals and own discussions to completion:
either rejection or acceptance).  This is a noble but thankless job to
do, so be prepared!  The authors of those changes did not submit them
"properly" and did not "own discussions to completion" precisely because
the job is so thankless. ;-)

This may optionally involve work with other kernel branches and other
upstreams as well (OpenVZ, Red Hat, Ubuntu)."

Under Owl tasks, we also have:

"The rhel6 branch OpenVZ kernel that we'd update to will need to be
security-hardened, in part by reviewing, extracting, cleaning up,
porting, and documenting/commenting individual changes from grsecurity
and PaX (some of which have originated from Openwall's patches for older
kernels), and in part by implementing new security-related
changes/features, some of those specific to container-based
virtualization (purpose-specific restrictions to be applied on
per-container basis).  We expect help/consulting/mentoring from the
author of PaX on portions that are PaX (some of these are difficult to
understand from the code alone, especially the rationale behind things
being done in a certain way), whereas the rest are not too complicated
for a capable person to fully figure out on their own.

We should work with upstreams - OpenVZ and Red Hat - to try and get some
of these enhancements accepted."

Students wishing to spend their summer like that, be paid by Google, and
get more involved in the relevant communities - please apply.

We'd like to hear from prospective (co-)mentors too since our mentoring
capacity is limited (and may affect the number of slots we request).

Here's our GSoC 2011 organization profile:

For those not familiar with Google Summer of Code:

Nmap project ( summarizes GSoC as follows:
"This innovative and extraordinarily generous program provides $5,000
stipends to 1,000+ college and graduate students to create and enhance
open source software during their summer break.  Students gain valuable
experience, get paid, strengthen their resume, and write code which will
be distributed freely and used by millions of people!"

March 18-27:
Would-be student participants discuss application ideas with mentoring

March 28:
Student application period opens.


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