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Re: [PATCH v8 5/9] seccomp: split mode set routines

To: Andy Lutomirski <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v8 5/9] seccomp: split mode set routines
From: Kees Cook <>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:52:31 -0700
Cc: Oleg Nesterov <>, LKML <>, "Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)" <>, Alexei Starovoitov <>, Andrew Morton <>, Daniel Borkmann <>, Will Drewry <>, Julien Tinnes <>, David Drysdale <>, Linux API <>, "" <>, "" <>,, linux-arch <>, linux-security-module <>
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On Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:39 AM, Andy Lutomirski <> wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM, Kees Cook <> wrote:
>> On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM, Andy Lutomirski <> 
>> wrote:
>>> On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM, Kees Cook <> wrote:
>>>> On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM, Oleg Nesterov <> wrote:
>>>>> On 06/25, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
>>>>>> On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 10:32 AM, Oleg Nesterov <> wrote:
>>>>>> > On 06/25, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
>>>>>> >>
>>>>>> >> Write the filter, then smp_mb (or maybe a weaker barrier is okay),
>>>>>> >> then set the bit.
>>>>>> >
>>>>>> > Yes, exactly, this is what I meant. Plas rmb() in __secure_computing().
>>>>>> >
>>>>>> > But I still can't understand the rest of your discussion about the
>>>>>> > ordering we need ;)
>>>>>> Let me try again from scratch.
>>>>>> Currently there are three relevant variables: TIF_SECCOMP,
>>>>>> seccomp.mode, and seccomp.filter.  __secure_computing needs
>>>>>> seccomp.mode and seccomp.filter to be in sync, and it wants (but
>>>>>> doesn't really need) TIF_SECCOMP to be in sync as well.
>>>>>> My suggestion is to rearrange it a bit.  Move mode into seccomp.filter
>>>>>> (so that filter == NULL implies no seccomp) and don't check
>>>> This would require that we reimplement mode 1 seccomp via mode 2
>>>> filters. Which isn't too hard, but may add complexity.
>>>>>> TIF_SECCOMP in secure_computing.  Then turning on seccomp is entirely
>>>>>> atomic except for the fact that the seccomp hooks won't be called if
>>>>>> filter != NULL but !TIF_SECCOMP.  This removes all ordering
>>>>>> requirements.
>>>>> Ah, got it, thanks. Perhaps I missed somehing, but to me this looks like
>>>>> unnecessary complication at first glance.
>>>>> We alredy have TIF_SECCOMP, we need it anyway, and we should only care
>>>>> about the case when this bit is actually set, so that we can race with
>>>>> the 1st call of __secure_computing().
>>>>> Otherwise we are fine: we can miss the new filter anyway, ->mode can't
>>>>> be changed it is already nonzero.
>>>>>> Alternatively, __secure_computing could still BUG_ON(!seccomp.filter).
>>>>>> In that case, filter needs to be set before TIF_SECCOMP is set, but
>>>>>> that's straightforward.
>>>>> Yep. And this is how seccomp_assign_mode() already works? It is called
>>>>> after we change ->filter chain, it changes ->mode before set(TIF_SECCOMP)
>>>>> just it lacks a barrier.
>>>> Right, I think the best solution is to add the barrier. I was
>>>> concerned that adding the read barrier in secure_computing would have
>>>> a performance impact, though.
>>> I can't speak for ARM, but I think that all of the read barriers are
>>> essentially free on x86.  (smp_mb is a very different story, but that
>>> shouldn't be needed here.)
>> It looks like SMP ARM issues dsb for rmb, which seems a bit expensive.
>> If I skip the rmb in the secure_computing call before checking mode,
>> it sounds like I run the risk of racing an out-of-order TIF_SECCOMP vs
>> mode and filter. This seems unlikely to me, given an addition of the
>> smp_mb__before_atomic() during the seccomp_assign_mode()? I guess I
>> don't have a sense of how aggressively ARM might do data caching in
>> this area. Could the other thread actually see TIF_SECCOMP get set but
>> still have an out of date copy of seccomp.mode?
>> I really want to avoid adding anything to the secure_computing()
>> execution path. :(
> Hence my suggestion to make the ordering not matter.  No ordering
> requirement, no barriers.

I may be misunderstanding something, but I think there's still an
ordering problem. We'll have TIF_SECCOMP already, so if we enter
secure_computing with a NULL filter, we'll kill the process.

Merging .mode and .filter would remove one of the race failure paths:
having TIF_SECCOMP and not having a mode set (leading to BUG). With
the merge, we could still race and land in the same place as have
TIF_SECCOMP and mode==2, but filter==NULL, leading to WARN and kill.

I guess the question is how large is the race risk on ARM? Is it
possible to have TIF_SECCOMP that far out of sync for the thread?


Kees Cook
Chrome OS Security

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