lists  /  announce  owl-users  owl-dev  john-users  john-dev  passwdqc-users  yescrypt  popa3d-users  /  oss-security  kernel-hardening  musl  sabotage  tlsify  passwords  /  crypt-dev  xvendor  /  Bugtraq  Full-Disclosure  linux-kernel  linux-netdev  linux-ext4  PHC 
Open Source and information security mailing list archives
Hash Suite: Windows password security audit tool. GUI, reports in PDF.
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date:   Thu, 23 Nov 2017 09:23:02 +0000
From:   Ard Biesheuvel <>
To:     Pavel Machek <>
Cc:     Will Deacon <>,
        "" <>,
        Catalin Marinas <>,
        Mark Rutland <>,
        Stephen Boyd <>,
        Dave Hansen <>,
        Kees Cook <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 00/18] arm64: Unmap the kernel whilst running in userspace (KAISER)

On 23 November 2017 at 09:07, Pavel Machek <> wrote:
> Hi!
>> > On 22 Nov 2017, at 23:37, Pavel Machek <> wrote:
>> >
>> > Hi!
>> >
>> >>>>> If I'm willing to do timing attacks to defeat KASLR... what prevents
>> >>>>> me from using CPU caches to do that?
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Because it is impossible to get a cache hit on an access to an
>> >>>> unmapped address?
>> >>>
>> >>> Um, no, I don't need to be able to directly access kernel addresses. I
>> >>> just put some data in _same place in cache where kernel data would
>> >>> go_, then do syscall and look if my data are still cached. Caches
>> >>> don't have infinite associativity.
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >> Ah ok. Interesting.
>> >>
>> >> But how does that leak address bits that are covered by the tag?
>> >
>> > Same as leaking any other address bits? Caches are "virtually
>> > indexed",
>> Not on arm64, although I don’t see how that is relevant if you are trying to defeat kaslr.
>> > and tag does not come into play...
>> >
>> Well, I must be missing something then, because I don’t see how knowledge about which userland address shares a cache way with a kernel address can leak anything beyond the bits that make up the index (i.e., which cache way is being shared)
> Well, KASLR is about keeping bits of kernel virtual address secret
> from userland. Leaking them through cache sidechannel means KASLR is
> defeated.

Yes, that is what you claim. But you are not explaining how any of the
bits that we do want to keep secret can be discovered by making
inferences from which lines in a primed cache were evicted during a

The cache index maps to low order bits. You can use this, e.g., to
attack table based AES, because there is only ~4 KB worth of tables,
and you are interested in finding out which exact entries of the table
were read by the process under attack.

You are saying the same approach will help you discover 30 high order
bits of a virtual kernel address, by observing the cache evictions in
a physically indexed physically tagged cache. How?

>> > Maybe this explains it?
>> >
>> No not really. It explains how cache timing can be used as a side channel, not how it defeats kaslr.
> Ok, look at this one:
> You can use timing instead of TSX, right?

The TSX attack is TLB based not cache based.

Powered by blists - more mailing lists