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Re: [PATCH v5 3/5] x86: Split syscall_trace_enter into two phases

To: Andy Lutomirski <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v5 3/5] x86: Split syscall_trace_enter into two phases
From: "Dmitry V. Levin" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2015 05:32:49 +0300
Cc: Kees Cook <>, LKML <>, Will Drewry <>, Oleg Nesterov <>, "" <>, "" <>, Linux MIPS Mailing List <>, linux-arch <>, linux-security-module <>, Alexei Starovoitov <>, "H. Peter Anvin" <>, Frederic Weisbecker <>
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On Thu, Feb 05, 2015 at 04:09:06PM -0800, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 3:49 PM, Kees Cook <> wrote:
> > On Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 3:39 PM, Dmitry V. Levin <> wrote:
> >> There is a clear difference: before these changes, SECCOMP_RET_ERRNO used
> >> to keep the syscall number unchanged and suppress syscall-exit-stop event,
> >> which was awful because userspace cannot distinguish syscall-enter-stop
> >> from syscall-exit-stop and therefore relies on the kernel that
> >> syscall-enter-stop is followed by syscall-exit-stop (or tracee's death, 
> >> etc.).
> >>
> >> After these changes, SECCOMP_RET_ERRNO no longer causes syscall-exit-stop
> >> events to be suppressed, but now the syscall number is lost.
> >
> > Ah-ha! Okay, thanks, I understand now. I think this means seccomp
> > phase1 should not treat RET_ERRNO as a "skip" event. Andy, what do you
> > think here?
> I still don't quite see how this change caused this.

I have a test for this at

> I can play with
> it a bit more.  But RET_ERRNO *has* to be some kind of skip event,
> because it needs to skip the syscall.
> We could change this by treating RET_ERRNO as an instruction to enter
> phase 2 and then asking for a skip in phase 2 without changing
> orig_ax, but IMO this is pretty ugly.
> I think this all kind of sucks.  We're trying to run ptrace after
> seccomp, so ptrace is seeing the syscalls as transformed by seccomp.
> That means that if we use RET_TRAP, then ptrace will see the
> possibly-modified syscall, if we use RET_ERRNO, then ptrace is (IMO
> correctly given the current design) showing syscall -1, and if we use
> RET_KILL, then ptrace just sees the process mysteriously die.

Userspace is usually not prepared to see syscall -1.
For example, strace had to be patched, otherwise it just skipped such
syscalls as "not a syscall" events or did other improper things:

A slightly different but related story: userspace is also not prepared
to handle large errno values produced by seccomp filters like this:

For example, glibc assumes that syscalls do not return errno values greater 
than 0xfff:;a=blob;f=sysdeps/unix/sysv/linux/x86_64/sysdep.h#l55;a=blob;f=sysdeps/unix/sysv/linux/x86_64/syscall.S#l20

If it isn't too late, I'd recommend changing SECCOMP_RET_DATA mask
applied in SECCOMP_RET_ERRNO case from current 0xffff to 0xfff.


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