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SubjectRe: [PATCH] exitz syscall
I took some time to consider a few options...

1. MLOCK_ZERO_ON_FREE flag for mlock2:

This would achieve what I was looking for. On the other hand, this
feature could not be used to just ensure the memory is zeroed before
reallocation, without locking it to memory. So if you just want a few
regions to be protected from other processes, this would not be ideal.
Also the VM_* flags are all used otherwise (except for a random hole
in the middle).

2. PR_INIT_ON_FREE option for prctl + some cap against DoS:

This could, more generally, be used to "replace" other ways of
choosing initialization behavior. Systems could run with zeroing in
general disabled to improve performance and just use this feature
whenever needed. However, it seems counterintuitive to me to have a
prctl option to set properties of a range of memory. Is there a system
call to set general properties of memory areas?


Such a config could be used as an alternative to init_on_free (or its
DEFAULT_ON config) and would be limited to the much smaller amount of
mlocked memory. Again, this could not be used if you didn't want to
lock the pages to memory, but would definitely be one of the easiest
ways to avoid most of the init_on_free overhead with essentially the
same security.

4. PR_INIT_MLOCKED_ON_FREE option for prctl:

This would essentially be option 3. but even further limited to only
the processes that want it and cannot ensure keys are zeroed before an
exit/crash. This prctl option would take no further options except an
enable/disable switch. It could be called once, in the beginning, to
enable the feature. If the process then crashes, any mlocked memory is
cleared and does not make its way to another process. After any key
material has been erased, the program could call prctl again to
disable the feature so no clearing is done when the process exits.

Currently #1, #3 and #4 sound most applicable to me. Options #3 and #4
are probably a lot cleaner to implement, #1 and #4 should be more
performant. From your experience, how often would someone want to
seriously prevent memory from getting to another process without the
option to mlock it?

Is there any arguments I am missing? What's your opinion on these?
Which, if any, do you think would work best?

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