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SubjectRe: [PATCH v9 1/4] syscalls: Verify address limit before returning to user-mode
On Mon, May 8, 2017 at 7:02 AM, Ingo Molnar <> wrote:
> * Kees Cook <> wrote:
>> > And yes, I realize that there were other such bugs and that such bugs might
>> > occur in the future - but why not push the overhead of the security check to
>> > the kernel build phase? I.e. I'm wondering how well we could do static
>> > analysis during kernel build - would a limited mode of Sparse be good enough
>> > for that? Or we could add a new static checker to tools/, built from first
>> > principles and used primarily for extended syntactical checking.
>> Static analysis is just not going to cover all cases. We've had vulnerabilities
>> where interrupt handlers left KERNEL_DS set, for example. [...]
> Got any commit ID of that bug - was it because a function executed by the
> interrupt handler leaked KERNEL_DS?

Ah, it was an exception handler, but the one I was thinking of was this:

>> [...] If there are performance concerns, let's put this behind a CONFIG. 2-5
>> instructions is not an issue for most people that want this coverage.
> That doesn't really _solve_ the performance concerns, it just forces most people
> to enable it by creating a 'security or performance' false dichotomy ...

That's fair, but what I'm trying to say is that many people will want
this, so rejecting it because it's 2 more instructions seems
unreasonable. We have had much more invasive changes added to the

>> [...] and it still won't catch everything. Bug-finding is different from making
>> a bug class just unexploitable at all. As we've done before, it's the difference
>> between trying to find format string attacks vs just removing %n from the format
>> parser.
> No, it does not make it unexploitable, it could still be exploitable if the
> runtime check is buggy or if there's kernel execution outside of the regular
> system call paths - there's plenty of such hardware functionality on x86 for
> example.

Fine, but this is splitting hairs. This does protect a specific
situation, and it does so very cheaply. The real fix would be to
remove set_fs() entirely. :P


Kees Cook
Pixel Security

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