On 1 December 2016 at 16:24, Julien Grall <julien.gr...@arm.com> wrote:
> Hi Stefano,
> On 30/11/16 21:53, Stefano Stabellini wrote:
>> On Mon, 28 Nov 2016, Julien Grall wrote:
>>>>> If not, then it might be worth to consider a 3rd solution where the TEE
>>>>> calls are forwarded to a specific domain handling the SMC on behalf of
>>>>> guests. This would allow to upgrade the TEE layer without having to
>>>>> the hypervisor.
>>>> Yes, this is good idea. How this can look? I imagine following flow:
>>>> Hypervisor traps SMC, uses event channel to pass request to Dom0. Some
>>>> userspace daemon receives it, maps pages with request data, alters is
>>>> (e.g. by replacing IPAs with PAs), sends request to hypervisor to
>>>> issue real SMC, then alters response and only then returns data back
>>>> to guest.
>>> The event channel is only a way to notify (similar to an interrupt), you
>>> need a shared memory page between the hypervisor and the client to
>>> the SMC information.
>>> I was thinking to get advantage of the VM event API for trapping the SMC.
>>> I am not sure if it is the best solution here. Stefano, do you have any
>>> opinions here?
>>>> I can see only one benefit there - this code will be not in
>>>> hypervisor. And there are number of drawbacks:
>>>> Stability: if this userspace demon will crash or get killed by, say,
>>>> OOM, we will lose information about all opened sessions, mapped shared
>>>> buffers, etc.That would be complete disaster.
>>> I disagree on your statement, you would gain in isolation. If your
>>> crashes (because of an emulation bug), you will only loose access to TEE
>>> for a
>>> bit. If the hypervisor crashes (because of an emulation bug), then you
>>> down the platform. I agree that you lose information when the userspace
>>> app is
>>> crashing but your platform is still up. Isn't it the most important?
>>> Note that I think it would be "fairly easy" to implement code to reset
>>> everything or having a backup on the side.
>>>> Performance: how big will be latency introduced by switching between
>>>> hypervisor, dom0 SVC and USR modes? I have seen use case where TEE is
>>>> part of video playback pipe (it decodes DRM media).
>>>> There also can be questions about security, but Dom0 in any case can
>>>> access any memory from any guest.
>>> But those concerns would be the same in the hypervisor, right? If your
>>> emulation is buggy then a guest would get access to all the memory.
>>>> But I really like the idea, because I don't want to mess with
>>>> hypervisor when I don't need to. So, how do you think, how it will
>>>> affect performance?
>>> I can't tell here. I would recommend you to try a quick prototype (e.g
>>> receiving and sending SMC) and see what would be the overhead.
>>> When I wrote my previous e-mail, I mentioned "specific domain", because I
>>> don't think it is strictly necessary to forward the SMC to DOM0. If you
>>> concern about overloading DOM0, you could have a separate service domain
>>> would handle TEE for you. You could have your "custom OS" handling TEE
>>> directly in kernel space (i.e SVC).
>>> This would be up to the developer of this TEE-layer to decide what to do.
>> Thanks Julien from bringing me into the discussion. These are my
>> thoughts on the matter.
>> Running emulators in Dom0 (AKA QEMU on x86) has always meant giving them
>> full Dom0 privileges so far. I don't think that is acceptable. There is
>> work undergoing on the x86 side of things to fix the situation, see:
>> But if the past is any indication of future development speed, we are
>> still a couple of Xen releases away at least from having unprivileged
>> emulators in Dom0 on x86. By unprivileged, I mean that they are not able
>> to map any random page in memory, but just the ones belonging to the
>> virtual machine that they are serving. Until then, having an emulator in
>> userspace Dom0 is just as bad as having it in the hypervisor from a
>> security standpoint.
>> I would only consider this option, if we mandate from the start, in the
>> design doc and implementations, that the emulators need to be
>> unprivileged on ARM. This would likely require a new set of hypercalls
>> and possibly Linux privcmds. And even then, this solution would still
>> present a series of problems:
>> - latency
>> - scalability
>> - validation against the root of trust
>> - certifications (because they are part of Dom0 and nobody can certify
>> The other option that traditionally is proposed is using stubdoms.
>> Specialized little VMs to run emulators, each VM runs one emulator
>> instance. They are far better from a security standpoint, and could be
>> certifiable. They might still pose problems from a root of trust point
>> of view. However the real issue with stubdoms, is just that being
>> treated as VMs they show up in "xl list", they introduce latency, they
>> consume a lot of memory, etc. Also dealing with Mini-OS can be unfunny.
>> I think that this option is only a little better than the previous
>> option, but it is still not great.
>> This brings us to the third and last option. Introducing the emulators
>> in the hypervisor. This is acceptable only if they are run in a lower
>> privilege mode, so that a guest breaking into an emulator doesn't
>> compromise the system. An emulator crashing doesn't crash the host. In
>> other words, we need a way to run emulators in EL1 in Xen. Something
>> similar has been prototyped on x86:
>> It would allow us to run emulators securely from within the hypervisor,
>> offering the best performance and security trade-off. One day we could
>> even support loading new emulators from userspace, a la insmod. I think
>> this is the best option. It might be a bit more work. We have a chance
>> to learn from past mistakes and design the best possible solution from
>> the start here and we should take it.
> In general, I agree that running the emulators in Xen in a lower privilege
> mode (EL1 or EL0) would be the best solution.
I also like this idea a lot.
> From what Volodymyr said the SMC call issued by the guest would need to be
> analyzed in order to translate IPA -> PA. We also need to forbid some SMC
> call from the guest where it will impact all TEE (e.g such as reset...).
> In summary, we need a white-list in Xen to avoid the guest using an SMC that
> has been added in newer version of TEE but not been supported by the
> Hypervisor. So the hypervisor will be tight to a specific version of TEE.
> This does not scale for a longer term support within the hypervisor.
On other hand internal TEE API does not change frequently. Actuall,y
OP-TEE maintainers try to make all changes backwards-compatible. So,
say, newer Normal World client can work with older OP-TEE kernel and
vice versa. Thus, it is not big deal if there will be some lag in
Also, Stefano proposed to load emulators as modules. In this case,
strictly speaking, emulator will be not a part of the hypervisor.
> That bring one question. In the case of OP-TEE, is there a convention of the
> parameter? I.e some kind of metada structure to give hint on the type of the
> parameter (e.g IPA...)?
Partly yes. There are two types of SMCs: fast and standard. Standard
calls use command buffer with well defined structure where every
parameter has type field, so you can easily distinguish memory
reference from immediate value.
Fast calls use CPU registers to pass arguments, so there are no way
denote types. Fast calls are used for house keeping - get version,
exchange capabilities, get shared memory information, and so on.
WBR Volodymyr Babchuk aka lorc [+380976646013]
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