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

To: Kees Cook <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v5 3/5] x86: Split syscall_trace_enter into two phases
From: Andy Lutomirski <>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2015 11:32:07 -0800
Cc: "Dmitry V. Levin" <>, LKML <>, Will Drewry <>, Oleg Nesterov <>, "" <>, "" <>, Linux MIPS Mailing List <>, linux-arch <>, linux-security-module <>, Alexei Starovoitov <>, "H. Peter Anvin" <>, Frederic Weisbecker <>, Michael Kerrisk-manpages <>
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On Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 11:23 AM, Kees Cook <> wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 6:38 PM, Andy Lutomirski <> wrote:
>> On Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 6:32 PM, Dmitry V. Levin <> wrote:
>>> 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:
>> The x32 thing is a legit ABI bug, I'd argue.  I'd be happy to submit a
>> patch to fix that (clear the x32 bit if we're not x32).
>>> 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:
> To save others the link reading: "Linus said he will make sure the no
> syscall returns a value in -1 .. -4095 as a valid result so we can
> savely test with -4095."
> Strictly speaking (ISO C, "man 3 errno"), errno is supposed to be a
> full int, though digging around I find this in include/linux/err.h:
> /*
>  * Kernel pointers have redundant information, so we can use a
>  * scheme where we can return either an error code or a normal
>  * pointer with the same return value.
>  *
>  * This should be a per-architecture thing, to allow different
>  * error and pointer decisions.
>  */
> #define MAX_ERRNO       4095
> #ifndef __ASSEMBLY__
> #define IS_ERR_VALUE(x) unlikely((x) >= (unsigned long)-MAX_ERRNO)
> But no architecture overrides this.
>>> 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.
> I'm not opposed to this. I would want to more explicitly document the
> 4095 max value in man pages, though.
>> I think this is solidly in the "don't do that" category.  Seccomp lets
>> you tamper with syscalls.  If you tamper wrong, then you lose.
>> Kees, what do you think about reversing the whole thing so that
>> ptracers always see the original syscall?
> What do you mean by "reversing"? The interactions I see here are:
> Both ptrace and seccomp will trigger via _TIF_WORK_SYSCALL_ENTRY. Only
> ptrace will trigger via _TIF_WORK_SYSCALL_EXIT.
> For SECCOMP_RET_ERRNO to work, we must skip the syscall, as mentioned earlier:
> arch/x86/kernel/entry_32.S ...
> syscall_trace_entry:
>         movl $-ENOSYS,PT_EAX(%esp)
>         movl %esp, %eax
>         call syscall_trace_enter
>         /* What it returned is what we'll actually use.  */
>         cmpl $(NR_syscalls), %eax
>         jnae syscall_call
>         jmp syscall_exit
> END(syscall_trace_entry)
> Both before and after the 2-phase change, syscall_trace_enter would
> return -1 if it hit SECCOMP_RET_ERRNO, before calling
> tracehook_report_syscall_entry. On exit, if PTRACE_SYSCALL, we'd hit
> tracehook_report_syscall_exit during syscall_trace_leave, which means
> a ptracer will see a syscall-exit-stop without a matching
> syscall-enter-stop.
> Using SECCOMP_RET_TRACE with PTRACE_SYSCALL in place seems totally
> crazy, as the ptracer would need to be the same program, and if it
> chose to skip a syscall, it would be in the same place: it would see
> PTRACE_EVENT_SECCOMP, then no syscall-enter-stop, then a
> syscall-exit-stop. I think we can ignore this pathological case.
> Using SECCOMP_RET_TRAP with PTRACE_SYSCALL also results in a skip,
> which produces the same "only syscall-exit-stop seen" problem.
> In the SECCOMP_RET_ERRNO case, the syscall nr doesn't change (and
> isn't executed). In the SECCOMP_RET_TRAP case, the syscall nr doesn't
> change (and isn't executed). In the SECCOMP_RET_TRACE, the syscall nr
> _could_ change, but the ptracer would be doing it, so the crazy
> situation around PTRACE_SYSCALL is probably safe to ignore (as long as
> we document what is expected to happen).
> So, the question is: should PTRACE_SYSCALL see a syscall that is _not_
> being executed (due to seccomp)? Audit doesn't see it currently, and
> neither does ptrace. I would argue that it should continue to not see
> the syscall. That said, if it shouldn't be shown, we also shouldn't
> trigger syscall-exit-stop. If you can convince me it should see
> syscall-enter-stop, then I have two questions:

I think PTRACE_SYSCALL should see syscalls that are skipped due to
seccomp.  I think that the exit event should see the modified errno,
if any, so that strace will show whatever the traced process thinks is

> 1) Do we accept that a ptracer can interfere with SECCOMP_RET_ERRNO? I
> think we probably must, since it can already interfere via
> syscall-exit-stop and change the errno.

I think this is fine.

> And especially since a ptracer
> can change syscalls during syscall-enter-stop to any syscall it wants,
> bypassing seccomp. This condition is already documented.

If a ptracer (using PTRACE_SYSCALL) were to get the entry callback
before seccomp, then this oddity would go away, which might be a good
thing.  A ptracer could change the syscall, but seccomp would based on
what the ptracer changed the syscall to.

> 2) What do we do with audit? Suddenly we have ptrace seeing a syscall
> that audit doesn't?

Is this a problem?  I'd be amazed if program uses both ptrace and
audit -- after all, audit is a global thing, and it only has one
implementation (AFAIK): auditd.  auditd doesn't ptrace the world.

> And an unrelated thought:
> 3) Can't we find some way to fix the inability of a ptracer to
> distinguish between syscall-enter-stop and syscall-exit-stop?



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