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SubjectRe: [RFC] x86: Avoid CR3 load on compatibility mode with PTI
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> On Jan 14, 2018, at 12:13 PM, Nadav Amit <namit@vmware.com> wrote:
>
> Currently, when page-table isolation is on to prevent the Meltdown bug
> (CVE-2017-5754), CR3 is always loaded on system-call and interrupt.
>
> However, it appears that this is an unnecessary measure when programs
> run in compatibility mode. In this mode only 32-bit registers are
> available, which means that there *should* be no way for the CPU to
> access, even speculatively, memory that belongs to the kernel, which
> sits in high addresses.

You're assuming that TIF_IA32 prevents the execution of 64-bit code. It doesn't.

I've occasionally considered adding an opt-in hardening mechanism to enforce 32-bit or 64-bit execution, but we don't have this now.

Anything like this would also need to spend on SMEP, I think -- the pseudo-SMEP granted by PTI is too valuable to give up on old boxes, I think.

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