On Thu, 14 Jan 2021 at 11:25, Reshetova, Elena
<elena.reshet...@intel.com> wrote:
> > > On Mon, Jan 04, 2021 at 08:04:15AM +0000, Reshetova, Elena wrote:
> > > > > 2. The OCS ECC HW does not support the NIST P-192 curve. We were 
> > > > > planning
> > to
> > > > >    add SW fallback for P-192 in the driver, but the Intel Crypto team
> > > > >    (which, internally, has to approve any code involving cryptography)
> > > > >    advised against it, because they consider P-192 weak. As a result, 
> > > > > the
> > > > >    driver is not passing crypto self-tests. Is there any possible 
> > > > > solution
> > > > >    to this? Is it reasonable to change the self-tests to only test the
> > > > >    curves actually supported by the tested driver? (not fully sure 
> > > > > how to do
> > > > >    that).
> > > >
> > > > An additional reason against the P-192 SW fallback is the fact that it 
> > > > can
> > > > potentially trigger unsafe behavior which is not even "visible" to the 
> > > > end user
> > > > of the ECC functionality. If I request (by my developer mistake) a P-192
> > > > weaker curve from ECC Keem Bay HW driver, it is much safer to return a
> > > > "not supported" error that proceed behind my back with a SW code
> > > > implementation making me believe that I am actually getting a HW-backed 
> > > > up
> > > > functionality (since I don't think there is a way for me to check that 
> > > > I am using
> > > > SW fallback).
> > >
> > > Sorry, but if you break the Crypto API requirement then your driver
> > > isn't getting merged.
> >
> > But should not we think what behavior would make sense for good crypto 
> > drivers in
> > future?
> > As cryptography moves forward (especially for the post quantum era), we 
> > will have
> > lengths for all existing algorithms increased (in addition to having a 
> > bunch of new
> > ones),
> > and we surely should not expect the new generation of HW drivers to 
> > implement
> > the old/weaker lengths, so why there the requirement to support them? It is 
> > not a
> > part of crypto API definition on what bit lengths should be supported, 
> > because it
> > cannot be part of API to begin with since it is always changing parameter 
> > (algorithms
> > and attacks
> > develop all the time).
> I would really appreciate, if someone helps us to understand here. Maybe 
> there is a
> correct way to address this, but we just don't see it. The question is not 
> even about
> this particular crypto driver and the fact whenever it gests merged or not, 
> but the
> logic of the crypto API subsystem.
> As far as I understand the implementations that are provided by the 
> specialized drivers
> (like our Keem Bay OCS ECC driver example here) have a higher priority vs. 
> generic
> Implementations that exists in kernel, which makes sense because we expect 
> these drivers
> (and the security HW they talk to) to provide both more efficient and more 
> secure
> implementations than a pure SW implementation in kernel can do (even if it 
> utilizes special
> instructions, like SIMD, AESNI, etc.). However, naturally these drivers are 
> bound by
> what security HW can do, and if it does not support a certain size/param of 
> the algorithm
> (P-192 curve in our case), it is pointless and wrong for them to reimplement 
> what SW is
> already doing in kernel, so they should not do so and currently they 
> re-direct to core kernel
> implementation. So far good.
> But now comes my biggest worry is that this redirection as far
> as I can see is *internal to driver itself*, i.e. it does a callback to these 
> core functions from the driver
> code, which again, unless I misunderstand smth, leads to the fact that the 
> end user gets
> P-192 curve ECC implementation from the core kernel that has been "promoted" 
> to a highest
> priority (given that ECC KeemBay driver for example got priority 300 to begin 
> with). So, if
> we say we have another HW Driver 'Foo', which happens to implement P-192 
> curves more securely,
> but happens to have a lower priority than ECC KeemBay driver, its 
> implementation would never
> be chosen, but core kernel implementation will be used (via SW fallback 
> internal to ECC Keem
> Bay driver).

No, this is incorrect. If you allocate a fallback algorithm in the
correct way, the crypto API will resolve the allocation in the usual
manner, and select whichever of the remaining implementations has the
highest priority (provided that it does not require a fallback

> Another problem is that for a user of crypto API I don't see a way (and 
> perhaps I am wrong here)
> to guarantee that all my calls to perform crypto operations will end up being 
> performed on a
> security HW I want (maybe because this is the only thing I trust). It seems 
> to be possible in theory,
> but in practice would require careful evaluation of a kernel setup and a sync 
> between what
> end user requests and what driver can provide. Let me try to explain a 
> potential scenario.
> Lets say we had an end user that used to ask for both P-192 and P-384 
> curve-based ECC operations
> and let's say we had a driver and security HW that implemented it. The end 
> user made sure that
> this driver implementation is always preferred vs. other existing 
> implementations. Now, time moves, a new
> security HW comes instead that only supports P-384, and the driver now has 
> been updated to
> support P-192 via the SW fallback (like we are asked now).
> Now, how does an end user notice that when it asks for a P-192 based 
> operations, his operations
> are not done in security HW anymore? The only way seems to be
> is to know that driver and security HW has been updated, algorithms and sizes 
> changed, etc.
> It might take a while before the end user realizes this and for example stops 
> using P-192 altogether,
> but what if this silent redirect by the driver actually breaks some security 
> assumptions (side-channel
> resistance being one potential example) made by this end user? The 
> consequences can be very bad.
> You might say: "this is the end user problem to verify this", but shouldn't 
> we do smth to prevent or
> at least indicate such potential issues to them?

I don't think it is possible at the API level to define rules that
will always produce the most secure combination of drivers. The
priority fields are only used to convey relative performance (which is
already semantically murky, given the lack of distinction between
hardware with a single queue vs software algorithms that can be
executed by all CPUs in parallel).

When it comes to comparative security, trustworthiness or robustness
of implementations, it is simply left up to the user to blacklist
modules that they prefer not to use. When fallback allocations are
made in the correct way, the remaining available implementations will
be used in priority order.

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