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Date:   Wed, 29 Nov 2017 13:17:07 +0200
From:   Elena Reshetova <>
        Elena Reshetova <>
Subject: [PATCH] userfaultfd: convert userfaultfd_ctx.refcount from atomic_t to refcount_t

atomic_t variables are currently used to implement reference
counters with the following properties:
 - counter is initialized to 1 using atomic_set()
 - a resource is freed upon counter reaching zero
 - once counter reaches zero, its further
   increments aren't allowed
 - counter schema uses basic atomic operations
   (set, inc, inc_not_zero, dec_and_test, etc.)

Such atomic variables should be converted to a newly provided
refcount_t type and API that prevents accidental counter overflows
and underflows. This is important since overflows and underflows
can lead to use-after-free situation and be exploitable.

The variable userfaultfd_ctx.refcount is used as pure reference counter.
Convert it to refcount_t and fix up the operations.

**Important note for maintainers:

Some functions from refcount_t API defined in lib/refcount.c
have different memory ordering guarantees than their atomic
The full comparison can be seen in and it is hopefully soon
in state to be merged to the documentation tree.
Normally the differences should not matter since refcount_t provides
enough guarantees to satisfy the refcounting use cases, but in
some rare cases it might matter.
Please double check that you don't have some undocumented
memory guarantees for this variable usage.

For the userfaultfd_ctx.refcount it might make a difference
in following places:
 - userfaultfd_ctx_get(): increment in refcount_inc_not_zero() only
   guarantees control dependency on success vs. fully ordered
   atomic counterpart
 - userfaultfd_ctx_put(): decrement in refcount_dec_and_test() only
   provides RELEASE ordering and control dependency on success
   vs. fully ordered atomic counterpart

Suggested-by: Kees Cook <>
Reviewed-by: David Windsor <>
Reviewed-by: Hans Liljestrand <>
Signed-off-by: Elena Reshetova <>
 fs/userfaultfd.c | 11 ++++++-----
 1 file changed, 6 insertions(+), 5 deletions(-)

diff --git a/fs/userfaultfd.c b/fs/userfaultfd.c
index ac9a4e6..b63ebcac 100644
--- a/fs/userfaultfd.c
+++ b/fs/userfaultfd.c
@@ -29,6 +29,7 @@
 #include <linux/ioctl.h>
 #include <linux/security.h>
 #include <linux/hugetlb.h>
+#include <linux/refcount.h>
 static struct kmem_cache *userfaultfd_ctx_cachep __read_mostly;
@@ -53,7 +54,7 @@ struct userfaultfd_ctx {
 	/* a refile sequence protected by fault_pending_wqh lock */
 	struct seqcount refile_seq;
 	/* pseudo fd refcounting */
-	atomic_t refcount;
+	refcount_t refcount;
 	/* userfaultfd syscall flags */
 	unsigned int flags;
 	/* features requested from the userspace */
@@ -138,7 +139,7 @@ static int userfaultfd_wake_function(wait_queue_entry_t *wq, unsigned mode,
 static void userfaultfd_ctx_get(struct userfaultfd_ctx *ctx)
-	if (!atomic_inc_not_zero(&ctx->refcount))
+	if (!refcount_inc_not_zero(&ctx->refcount))
@@ -152,7 +153,7 @@ static void userfaultfd_ctx_get(struct userfaultfd_ctx *ctx)
 static void userfaultfd_ctx_put(struct userfaultfd_ctx *ctx)
-	if (atomic_dec_and_test(&ctx->refcount)) {
+	if (refcount_dec_and_test(&ctx->refcount)) {
@@ -662,7 +663,7 @@ int dup_userfaultfd(struct vm_area_struct *vma, struct list_head *fcs)
 			return -ENOMEM;
-		atomic_set(&ctx->refcount, 1);
+		refcount_set(&ctx->refcount, 1);
 		ctx->flags = octx->flags;
 		ctx->state = UFFD_STATE_RUNNING;
 		ctx->features = octx->features;
@@ -1902,7 +1903,7 @@ static struct file *userfaultfd_file_create(int flags)
 	if (!ctx)
 		goto out;
-	atomic_set(&ctx->refcount, 1);
+	refcount_set(&ctx->refcount, 1);
 	ctx->flags = flags;
 	ctx->features = 0;
 	ctx->state = UFFD_STATE_WAIT_API;

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