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    SubjectRe: [kernel-hardening] Re: Add overflow protection to kref
    On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM, Greg KH <> wrote:
    > On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 10:58:25PM +0400, Vasiliy Kulikov wrote:
    >> On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 10:37 -0800, Greg KH wrote:
    >> > On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 12:58:35PM -0500, David Windsor wrote:
    >> > >  static inline void kref_get(struct kref *kref)
    >> > >  {
    >> > > +   int rc = 0;
    >> > >     WARN_ON(!atomic_read(&kref->refcount));
    >> > > -   atomic_inc(&kref->refcount);
    >> > > +   smp_mb__before_atomic_inc();
    >> > > +   rc = atomic_add_unless(&kref->refcount, 1, INT_MAX);
    >> > > +   smp_mb__after_atomic_inc();
    >> > > +   BUG_ON(!rc);
    >> >
    >> > So you are guaranteeing to crash a machine here if this fails?  And you
    >> > were trying to say this is a "security" based fix?
    >> >
    >> > And people wonder why I no longer have any hair...
    >> If a refcounter overflows there is NO WAY to recover.  The choise is to BUG()
    >> and not allow any security harm to the system (privilege escalation, etc.)
    >> or to try to do some more CPU cycles until actual use after free, privilege
    >> escalation, etc.  The former is a _guarantee_ that nothing bad (in security
    >> sense) doesn't happen.  The latter is an opportunistic approach, which
    >> doesn't work with security.
    > The only way you could legimitaly get a real use-after-free problem if
    > you were overflowing the reference counter and pegged it at the max
    > value, was if you had code that could decrement the reference count as
    > many times as you incremented it.  So far, all bugs we've seen are
    > one-off where on an error path, we forgot to decrement the count.  So
    > how could the decrement ever happen?

    Based on what I've seen, the "normal" exploit follows this pattern:

    user1: alloc(), inc
    user2: inc
    user2: fail to dec
    *repeat user2's actions until wrap*
    user3: inc
    user3: dec, free()
    user1: operate on freed memory zomg

    We could avoid the BUG by locking the counter to INT_MAX if it ever
    reaches it (i.e. the put path would need to be modified too), and then
    a WARN could be added to the get. Is that what was being suggested as
    the alternative to the BUG patch?

    >> Do you claim that a refcounter overflow is a recoverable state?  I'd want to
    >> know what you can do with it.
    > I'm not saying it is a "recoverable" state, but to crash the machine is
    > not acceptable.  At the very least, let the user know something went
    > wrong, and stick around long enough to let them know and do something,
    > before shutting the thing down.
    > But before people start micro-engineering this whole thing, remember,
    > I'm still not sold on this type of change at all.
    > greg k-h
    > p.s. Has anyone ever tried an endless open() loop on a sysfs file to see
    >     what happens today?...

    AIUI, you'd hit nrfile well before wrapping the counter. To test this,
    we'd need to simulate a failed decrement.


    Kees Cook
    ChromeOS Security
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