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SubjectRe: [PATCH V5 0/5] KVM: X86: Introducing ROE Protection Kernel Hardening

* Ahmed Abd El Mawgood <> wrote:

> This is the 5th version which is 4th version with minor fixes. ROE is a
> hypercall that enables host operating system to restrict guest's access to its
> own memory. This will provide a hardening mechanism that can be used to stop
> rootkits from manipulating kernel static data structures and code. Once a memory
> region is protected the guest kernel can't even request undoing the protection.
> Memory protected by ROE should be non-swapable because even if the ROE protected
> page got swapped out, It won't be possible to write anything in its place.
> ROE hypercall should be capable of either protecting a whole memory frame or
> parts of it. With these two, it should be possible for guest kernel to protect
> its memory and all the page table entries for that memory inside the page table.
> I am still not sure whether this should be part of ROE job or the guest's job.
> The reason why it would be better to implement this from inside kvm: instead of
> (host) user space is the need to access SPTEs to modify the permissions, while
> mprotect() from user space can work in theory. It will become a big performance
> hit to vmexit and switch to user space mode on each fault, on the other hand,
> having the permission handled by EPT should make some remarkable performance
> gain.
> Our model assumes that an attacker got full root access to a running guest and
> his goal is to manipulate kernel code/data (hook syscalls, overwrite IDT ..etc).
> There is future work in progress to also put some sort of protection on the page
> table register CR3 and other critical registers that can be intercepted by KVM.
> This way it won't be possible for an attacker to manipulate any part of the
> guests page table.

BTW., transparent detection and trapping of attacks would also be nice:
if ROE is active and something running on the guest still attempts to
change the pagetables, the guest should be frozen and a syslog warning on
the hypervisor side should be printed?

Also, the feature should probably be 'default y' to help spread it on the
distro side. It's opt-in functionality from the guest side anyway, so
there's no real cost on the host side other than some minor resident



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