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SubjectRe: [patch 0/5] Support for sanitization flag in low-level page allocator
On Sat, 23 May 2009 09:09:10 +0100
Alan Cox <> wrote:

> > Enabling SLAB poisoning by default will be a bad idea
> Why ?
> > I looked for unused/re-usable flags too, but found none. It's
> > interesting to see SLUB and SLOB have their own page flags. Did
> > anybody oppose those when they were proposed?
> Certainly they were looked at - but the memory allocator is right at
> the core of the system rather than an add on.
> > > Ditto - which is why I'm coming from the position of an "if we
> > > free it clear it" option. If you need that kind of security the
> > > cost should be more than acceptable - especially with modern
> > > processors that can do cache bypass on the clears.
> >
> > Are you proposing that we should simply remove the confidential
> > flags and just stick to the unconditional sanitization when the
> > boot option is enabled? If positive, it will make things more
> > simple and definitely is better than nothing. I would have (still)
> > preferred the other old approach to be merged, but whatever works
> > at this point.
> I am because
> - its easy to merge
> - its non controversial
> - it meets the security good practice and means we don't miss any
> alloc/free cases
> - it avoid providing flags to help a trojan identify "interesting"
> data to acquire
> - modern cpu memory clearing can be very cheap

.. and if we zero on free, we don't need to zero on allocate.
While this is a little controversial, it does mean that at least part of
the cost is just time-shifted, which means it'll not be TOO bad

Arjan van de Ven Intel Open Source Technology Centre
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