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Date: Thu, 29 Feb 2024 15:52:49 +0000
From: Lee Jones <>
Cc: Lee Jones <>
Subject: CVE-2023-52489: mm/sparsemem: fix race in accessing memory_section->usage


In the Linux kernel, the following vulnerability has been resolved:

mm/sparsemem: fix race in accessing memory_section->usage

The below race is observed on a PFN which falls into the device memory
region with the system memory configuration where PFN's are such that
[ZONE_NORMAL ZONE_DEVICE ZONE_NORMAL].  Since normal zone start and end
pfn contains the device memory PFN's as well, the compaction triggered
will try on the device memory PFN's too though they end up in NOP(because
pfn_to_online_page() returns NULL for ZONE_DEVICE memory sections).  When
from other core, the section mappings are being removed for the
ZONE_DEVICE region, that the PFN in question belongs to, on which
compaction is currently being operated is resulting into the kernel crash
with CONFIG_SPASEMEM_VMEMAP enabled.  The crash logs can be seen at [1].

compact_zone()			memunmap_pages
-------------			---------------
     valid_section()//return true
				    [Free the array ms->usage and set
				     ms->usage = NULL]
     [Access ms->usage which
     is NULL]

NOTE: From the above it can be said that the race is reduced to between
the pfn_valid()/pfn_section_valid() and the section deactivate with

The commit b943f045a9af("mm/sparse: fix kernel crash with
pfn_section_valid check") tried to address the same problem by clearing
the SECTION_HAS_MEM_MAP with the expectation of valid_section() returns
false thus ms->usage is not accessed.

Fix this issue by the below steps:

a) Clear SECTION_HAS_MEM_MAP before freeing the ->usage.

b) RCU protected read side critical section will either return NULL
   when SECTION_HAS_MEM_MAP is cleared or can successfully access ->usage.

c) Free the ->usage with kfree_rcu() and set ms->usage = NULL.  No
   attempt will be made to access ->usage after this as the
   SECTION_HAS_MEM_MAP is cleared thus valid_section() return false.

Thanks to David/Pavan for their inputs on this patch.


On Snapdragon SoC, with the mentioned memory configuration of PFN's as
[ZONE_NORMAL ZONE_DEVICE ZONE_NORMAL], we are able to see bunch of
issues daily while testing on a device farm.

For this particular issue below is the log.  Though the below log is
not directly pointing to the pfn_section_valid(){ ms->usage;}, when we
loaded this dump on T32 lauterbach tool, it is pointing.

[  540.578056] Unable to handle kernel NULL pointer dereference at
virtual address 0000000000000000
[  540.578068] Mem abort info:
[  540.578070]   ESR = 0x0000000096000005
[  540.578073]   EC = 0x25: DABT (current EL), IL = 32 bits
[  540.578077]   SET = 0, FnV = 0
[  540.578080]   EA = 0, S1PTW = 0
[  540.578082]   FSC = 0x05: level 1 translation fault
[  540.578085] Data abort info:
[  540.578086]   ISV = 0, ISS = 0x00000005
[  540.578088]   CM = 0, WnR = 0
[  540.579431] pstate: 82400005 (Nzcv daif +PAN -UAO +TCO -DIT -SSBSBTYPE=--)
[  540.579436] pc : __pageblock_pfn_to_page+0x6c/0x14c
[  540.579454] lr : compact_zone+0x994/0x1058
[  540.579460] sp : ffffffc03579b510
[  540.579463] x29: ffffffc03579b510 x28: 0000000000235800 x27:000000000000000c
[  540.579470] x26: 0000000000235c00 x25: 0000000000000068 x24:ffffffc03579b640
[  540.579477] x23: 0000000000000001 x22: ffffffc03579b660 x21:0000000000000000
[  540.579483] x20: 0000000000235bff x19: ffffffdebf7e3940 x18:ffffffdebf66d140
[  540.579489] x17: 00000000739ba063 x16: 00000000739ba063 x15:00000000009f4bff
[  540.579495] x14: 0000008000000000 x13: 0000000000000000 x12:0000000000000001
[  540.579501] x11: 0000000000000000 x10: 0000000000000000 x9 :ffffff897d2cd440
[  540.579507] x8 : 0000000000000000 x7 : 0000000000000000 x6 :ffffffc03579b5b4
[  540.579512] x5 : 0000000000027f25 x4 : ffffffc03579b5b8 x3 :0000000000000001
[  540.579518] x2 : ffffffdebf7e3940 x1 : 0000000000235c00 x0 :0000000000235800
[  540.579524] Call trace:
[  540.579527]  __pageblock_pfn_to_page+0x6c/0x14c
[  540.579533]  compact_zone+0x994/0x1058
[  540.579536]  try_to_compact_pages+0x128/0x378
[  540.579540]  __alloc_pages_direct_compact+0x80/0x2b0
[  540.579544]  __alloc_pages_slowpath+0x5c0/0xe10
[  540.579547]  __alloc_pages+0x250/0x2d0
[  540.579550]  __iommu_dma_alloc_noncontiguous+0x13c/0x3fc
[  540.579561]  iommu_dma_alloc+0xa0/0x320
[  540.579565]  dma_alloc_attrs+0xd4/0x108

[ use kfree_rcu() in place of synchronize_rcu(), per David]

The Linux kernel CVE team has assigned CVE-2023-52489 to this issue.

Affected and fixed versions

	Issue introduced in 5.3 with commit f46edbd1b151 and fixed in 5.10.210 with commit 90ad17575d26
	Issue introduced in 5.3 with commit f46edbd1b151 and fixed in 5.15.149 with commit b448de2459b6
	Issue introduced in 5.3 with commit f46edbd1b151 and fixed in 6.1.76 with commit 68ed9e333240
	Issue introduced in 5.3 with commit f46edbd1b151 and fixed in 6.6.15 with commit 70064241f222
	Issue introduced in 5.3 with commit f46edbd1b151 and fixed in 6.7.3 with commit 3a01daace71b
	Issue introduced in 5.3 with commit f46edbd1b151 and fixed in 6.8-rc1 with commit 5ec8e8ea8b77

Please see or a full list of currently supported
kernel versions by the kernel community.

Unaffected versions might change over time as fixes are backported to
older supported kernel versions.  The official CVE entry at
will be updated if fixes are backported, please check that for the most
up to date information about this issue.

Affected files

The file(s) affected by this issue are:


The Linux kernel CVE team recommends that you update to the latest
stable kernel version for this, and many other bugfixes.  Individual
changes are never tested alone, but rather are part of a larger kernel
release.  Cherry-picking individual commits is not recommended or
supported by the Linux kernel community at all.  If however, updating to
the latest release is impossible, the individual changes to resolve this
issue can be found at these commits:

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