On Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 10:36:34AM +0100, Mark Rutland wrote:
> On Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 09:18:58AM +0200, Juerg Haefliger wrote:
> > This patch series adds support for XPFO which protects against 'ret2dir'
> > kernel attacks. The basic idea is to enforce exclusive ownership of page
> > frames by either the kernel or userspace, unless explicitly requested by
> > the kernel. Whenever a page destined for userspace is allocated, it is
> > unmapped from physmap (the kernel's page table). When such a page is
> > reclaimed from userspace, it is mapped back to physmap.
> > Reference paper by the original patch authors:
> > http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~vpk/papers/ret2dir.sec14.pdf
> For both arm64 and x86_64, DEBUG_RODATA is mandatory (or soon to be so).
> Assuming that implies a lack of execute permission for x86_64, that
> should provide a similar level of protection against erroneously
> branching to addresses in the linear map, without the complexity and
> overhead of mapping/unmapping pages.
> So to me it looks like this approach may only be useful for
> architectures without page-granular execute permission controls.
> Is this also intended to protect against erroneous *data* accesses to
> the linear map?
Now that I read the paper more carefully, I can see that this is the
case, and this does catch issues which DEBUG_RODATA cannot.
Apologies for the noise.