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Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 13:07:17 +0200
From: Petr Matousek <>
Cc: Kurt Seifried <>, akuster <>,
        "Steven M. Christey" <>,
        Xi Wang <>,
Subject: Re: fix to CVE-2009-4307

Hi Xi,

On Wed, Apr 04, 2012 at 12:19:43AM -0400, Xi Wang wrote:
> On Apr 3, 2012, at 10:55 PM, Kurt Seifried wrote:
> > For #2 I'm not sure how we handle something like a compiler possibly
> > mangling code so that an issue is introduced (is that a compiler
> > problem? a code problem? the intersection of both? Steve: can I get a
> > comment/referees decision here =)
> Thanks for bringing this up.
> I think the compiler is all right in this case.  The code is not.
> CVE-2009-4307 says that an attacker could trigger a division by
> zero by crafting a large s_log_groups_per_flex.
> The first commit (503358ae) fixes the division by zero.  The fix
> is not perfect because:
> 1) Theoretically, a standard-conforming C compiler could generate
> code that is still vulnerable to division by zero, but I was not
> aware of any compilers doing that.

Is there any compiler that is used to compile the kernel that turns the
CVE-2009-4307 fix not working (the groups_per_flex < 2 check)? I
see that in your commit description you mention equivalent form where
Clang optimizes away the "groups_per_flex == 0" check. Does Clang
optimize/change also the "groups_per_flex < 2" check in a similar way?

If not, I would not call it a incomplete fix as the issue with zero
division was fixed. But yes, we'd still want to include the Xi's commit.

This is not only compiler specific but also architecture specific if I'm
not mistaken - on x86 the 1 << x shift can never become zero, whereas on
for example powerpc it can (for example slw instruction will give a zero
result when the shift amounts from 32 to 63).

> 2) Logically, we should have groups_per_flex = 2^s_log_groups_per_flex,
> and the fix doesn't really ensure that.  This is obviously not good,
> but not sure how bad the consequence would be.
> BTW, the second commit (d50f2ab6) might still allow a buffer overflow
> later.  See another patch (though
> it was rejected).
> In ext4_resize_fs():
>    flexbg_size = 1 << es->s_log_groups_per_flex;
>    ...
>    flex_gd = alloc_flex_gd(flexbg_size);
> and in alloc_flex_gd():
>    flex_gd->count = flexbg_size;
>    flex_gd->groups = kmalloc(sizeof(...) * flexbg_size, ...);
> Note that the kmalloc size could be smaller than expected due to
> multiplication overflow (flexbg_size = 1 << s_log_groups_per_flex
> could be very large since s_log_groups_per_flex could be as large
> as 31).  Array access flex_gd groups[i] could be out of bounds in
> that case.

As Xi points out, there might be other problems in the code. Those
should get a separate CVE without referencing CVE-2009-4307 IMHO.

To Secunia: is not a KVM/qemu-kvm issue.

Petr Matousek / Red Hat Security Response Team

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