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SubjectRe: [PATCH v4 1/3] mm: Shuffle initial free memory
On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 6:36 PM, Dan Williams <> wrote:
> While SLAB_FREELIST_RANDOM reduces the predictability of some local slab
> caches it leaves vast bulk of memory to be predictably in order
> allocated. That ordering can be detected by a memory side-cache.
> The shuffling is done in terms of CONFIG_SHUFFLE_PAGE_ORDER sized free
> pages where the default CONFIG_SHUFFLE_PAGE_ORDER is MAX_ORDER-1 i.e.
> 10, 4MB this trades off randomization granularity for time spent
> shuffling. MAX_ORDER-1 was chosen to be minimally invasive to the page
> allocator while still showing memory-side cache behavior improvements,
> and the expectation that the security implications of finer granularity
> randomization is mitigated by CONFIG_SLAB_FREELIST_RANDOM.

Perhaps it would help some of the detractors of this feature to make
this a runtime choice? Some benchmarks show improvements, some show
regressions. It could just be up to the admin to turn this on/off
given their paranoia levels? (i.e. the shuffling could become a no-op
with a given specific boot param?)


Kees Cook
Pixel Security

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