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Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2023 10:17:02 -0800
From: Kees Cook <keescook@...omium.org>
To: Jakub Kicinski <kuba@...nel.org>
Cc: kernel test robot <lkp@...el.com>,
	"David S. Miller" <davem@...emloft.net>,
	Eric Dumazet <edumazet@...gle.com>, Paolo Abeni <pabeni@...hat.com>,
	Johannes Berg <johannes@...solutions.net>,
	Jeff Johnson <quic_jjohnson@...cinc.com>,
	Michael Walle <mwalle@...nel.org>,
	Max Schulze <max.schulze@...ine.de>, netdev@...r.kernel.org,
	linux-wireless@...r.kernel.org, linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org,
	linux-hardening@...r.kernel.org
Subject: Re: [PATCH] netlink: Return unsigned value for nla_len()

On Thu, Nov 30, 2023 at 05:25:20PM -0800, Jakub Kicinski wrote:
> On Thu, 30 Nov 2023 12:01:01 -0800 Kees Cook wrote:
> > This has the additional benefit of being defensive in the face of nlattr
> > corruption or logic errors (i.e. nla_len being set smaller than
> > NLA_HDRLEN).
> 
> As Johannes predicted I'd rather not :(
> 
> The callers should put the nlattr thru nla_ok() during validation
> (nla_validate()), or walking (nla_for_each_* call nla_ok()).
> 
> > -static inline int nla_len(const struct nlattr *nla)
> > +static inline u16 nla_len(const struct nlattr *nla)
> >  {
> > -	return nla->nla_len - NLA_HDRLEN;
> > +	return nla->nla_len > NLA_HDRLEN ? nla->nla_len - NLA_HDRLEN : 0;
> >  }
> 
> Note the the NLA_HDRLEN is the length of struct nlattr.
> I mean of the @nla object that gets passed in as argument here.
> So accepting that nla->nla_len may be < NLA_HDRLEN means
> that we are okay with dereferencing a truncated object...
> 
> We can consider making the return unsinged without the condition maybe?

Yes, if we did it without the check, it'd do "less" damage on
wrap-around. (i.e. off by U16_MAX instead off by INT_MAX).

But I'd like to understand: what's the harm in adding the clamp? The
changes to the assembly are tiny:
https://godbolt.org/z/Ecvbzn1a1

i.e. a likely dropped-from-the-pipeline xor and a "free" cmov (checking
the bit from the subtraction). I don't think it could even get measured
in real-world cycle counts. This is much like the refcount_t work:
checking for the overflow condition has almost 0 overhead.

(It looks like I should use __builtin_sub_overflow() to correctly hint
GCC, but Clang gets it right without such hinting. Also I changed
NLA_HDRLEN to u16 to get the best result, which suggests there might be
larger savings throughout the code base just from that change...)

-- 
Kees Cook

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