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Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2023 23:47:46 +0100
From: Pedro Falcato <pedro.falcato@...il.com>
To: Jeff Xu <jeffxu@...gle.com>
Cc: Matthew Wilcox <willy@...radead.org>, jeffxu@...omium.org, akpm@...ux-foundation.org, 
	keescook@...omium.org, sroettger@...gle.com, jorgelo@...omium.org, 
	groeck@...omium.org, linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org, 
	linux-kselftest@...r.kernel.org, linux-mm@...ck.org, jannh@...gle.com, 
	surenb@...gle.com, alex.sierra@....com, apopple@...dia.com, 
	aneesh.kumar@...ux.ibm.com, axelrasmussen@...gle.com, ben@...adent.org.uk, 
	catalin.marinas@....com, david@...hat.com, dwmw@...zon.co.uk, 
	ying.huang@...el.com, hughd@...gle.com, joey.gouly@....com, corbet@....net, 
	wangkefeng.wang@...wei.com, Liam.Howlett@...cle.com, 
	torvalds@...ux-foundation.org, lstoakes@...il.com, mawupeng1@...wei.com, 
	linmiaohe@...wei.com, namit@...are.com, peterx@...hat.com, 
	peterz@...radead.org, ryan.roberts@....com, shr@...kernel.io, vbabka@...e.cz, 
	xiujianfeng@...wei.com, yu.ma@...el.com, zhangpeng362@...wei.com, 
	dave.hansen@...el.com, luto@...nel.org, linux-hardening@...r.kernel.org
Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH v1 0/8] Introduce mseal() syscall

On Thu, Oct 19, 2023 at 6:30 PM Jeff Xu <jeffxu@...gle.com> wrote:
>
> Hi Pedro
>
> Some followup on mmap() + mprotect():
>
> On Wed, Oct 18, 2023 at 11:20 AM Jeff Xu <jeffxu@...gle.com> wrote:
> >
> > On Tue, Oct 17, 2023 at 3:35 PM Pedro Falcato <pedro.falcato@...il.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > >
> > > > > I think it's worth pointing out that this suggestion (with PROT_*)
> > > > > could easily integrate with mmap() and as such allow for one-shot
> > > > > mmap() + mseal().
> > > > > If we consider the common case as 'addr = mmap(...); mseal(addr);', it
> > > > > definitely sounds like a performance win as we halve the number of
> > > > > syscalls for a sealed mapping. And if we trivially look at e.g OpenBSD
> > > > > ld.so code, mmap() + mimmutable() and mprotect() + mimmutable() seem
> > > > > like common patterns.
> > > > >
> > > > Yes. mmap() can support sealing as well, and memory is allocated as
> > > > immutable from begining.
> > > > This is orthogonal to mseal() though.
> > >
> > > I don't see how this can be orthogonal to mseal().
> > > In the case we opt for adding PROT_ bits, we should more or less only
> > > need to adapt calc_vm_prot_bits(), and the rest should work without
> > > issues.
> > > vma merging won't merge vmas with different prots. The current
> > > interfaces (mmap and mprotect) would work just fine.
> > > In this case, mseal() or mimmutable() would only be needed if you need
> > > to set immutability over a range of VMAs with different permissions.
> > >
> > Agreed. By orthogonal, I meant we can have two APIs:
> > mmap() and mseal()/mprotect()
> > i.e. we can't just rely on mmap() only without mseal()/mprotect()/mimmutable().
> > Sealing can be applied after initial memory creation.
> >
> > > Note: modifications should look kinda like this: https://godbolt.org/z/Tbjjd14Pe
> > > The only annoying wrench in my plans here is that we have effectively
> > > run out of vm_flags bits in 32-bit architectures, so this approach as
> > > I described is not compatible with 32-bit.
> > >
> > > > In case of ld.so, iiuc, memory can be first allocated as W, then later
> > > > changed to RO, for example, during symbol resolution.
> > > > The important point is that the application can decide what type of
> > > > sealing it wants, and when to apply it.  There needs to be an api(),
> > > > that can be mseal() or mprotect2() or mimmutable(), the naming is not
> > > > important to me.
> > > >
> > > > mprotect() in linux have the following signature:
> > > > int mprotect(void addr[.len], size_t len, int prot);
> > > > the prot bitmasks are all taken here.
> > > > I have not checked the prot field in mmap(), there might be bits left,
> > > > even not, we could have mmap2(), so that is not an issue.
> > >
> > > I don't see what you mean. We have plenty of prot bits left (32-bits,
> > > and we seem to have around 8 different bits used).
> > > And even if we didn't, prot is the same in mprotect and mmap and mmap2 :)
> > >
> > > The only issue seems to be that 32-bit ran out of vm_flags, but that
> > > can probably be worked around if need be.
> > >
> > Ah, you are right about this. vm_flags is full, and prot in mprotect() is not.
> > Apology that I was wrong previously and caused confusion.
> >
> > There is a slight difference in the syntax of mprotect and mseal.
> > Each time when mprotect() is called, the kernel takes all of RWX bits
> > and updates vm_flags,
> > In other words, the application sets/unset each RWX, and kernel takes it.
> >
> > In the mseal() case, the kernel will remember which seal types were
> > applied previously, and the application doesn’t need to repeat all
> > existing seal types in the next mseal().  Once a seal type is applied,
> > it can’t be unsealed.
> >
> > So if we want to use mprotect() for sealing, developers need to think
> > of sealing bits differently than the rest of prot bits. It is a
> > different programming model, might or might not be an obvious concept
> > to developers.
> >
> This probably doesn't matter much to developers.
> We can enforce the sealing bit to be the same as the rest of PROT bits.
> If mprotect() tries to unset sealing, it will fail.

Yep. Erroneous or malicious mprotects would all be caught. However, if
we add a PROT_DOWNGRADEABLE (that could let you, lets say, mprotect()
to less permissions or even downright munmap()) you'd want some care
to preserve that bit when setting permissions.

>
> > There is a difference in input check and error handling as well.
> > for mseal(), if a given address range has a gap (unallocated memory),
> > or if one of VMA is sealed with MM_SEAL_SEAL flag, none of VMAs is
> > updated.
> > For mprotect(), some VMAs can be updated, till an error happens to a VMA.
> >
> This difference doesn't matter much.
>
> For mprotect()/mmap(), is Linux implementation limited by POSIX ?

No. POSIX works merely as a baseline that UNIX systems aim towards.
You can (and very frequently do) extend POSIX interfaces (in fact,
it's how most of POSIX was written, through sheer
"design-by-committee" on a bunch of UNIX systems' extensions).

> This can be made backward compatible.
> If there is no objection to adding linux specific values in mmap() and
> mprotect(),
> This works for me.

Linux already has system-specific values for PROT_ (PROT_BTI,
PROT_MTE, PROT_GROWSUP, PROT_GROWSDOWN, etc).
Whether this is the right interface is another question. I do like it
a lot, but there's of course value in being compatible with existing
solutions (like mimmutable()).

-- 
Pedro

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