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Date:	Fri, 15 Jul 2016 19:16:01 -0700 (PDT)
From:	Sargun Dhillon <>
To:	Alexei Starovoitov <>
	Daniel Borkmann <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH 1/1] tracing, bpf: Implement function bpf_probe_write

On Thu, 14 Jul 2016, Alexei Starovoitov wrote:

> On Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 01:31:57PM -0700, Sargun Dhillon wrote:
>> On Wed, 13 Jul 2016, Alexei Starovoitov wrote:
>>> On Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 03:36:11AM -0700, Sargun Dhillon wrote:
>>>> Provides BPF programs, attached to kprobes a safe way to write to
>>>> memory referenced by probes. This is done by making probe_kernel_write
>>>> accessible to bpf functions via the bpf_probe_write helper.
>>> not quite :)
>>>> Signed-off-by: Sargun Dhillon <>
>>>> ---
>>>>  include/uapi/linux/bpf.h  |  3 +++
>>>>  kernel/trace/bpf_trace.c  | 20 ++++++++++++++++++++
>>>>  samples/bpf/bpf_helpers.h |  2 ++
>>>>  3 files changed, 25 insertions(+)
>>>> diff --git a/include/uapi/linux/bpf.h b/include/uapi/linux/bpf.h
>>>> index 406459b..355b565 100644
>>>> --- a/include/uapi/linux/bpf.h
>>>> +++ b/include/uapi/linux/bpf.h
>>>> @@ -313,6 +313,9 @@ enum bpf_func_id {
>>>>   */
>>>>   BPF_FUNC_skb_get_tunnel_opt,
>>>>   BPF_FUNC_skb_set_tunnel_opt,
>>>> +
>>>> + BPF_FUNC_probe_write, /* int bpf_probe_write(void *dst, void *src,
>>>> int size) */
>>>> +
>>> the patch is against some old kernel.
>>> Please always make the patch against net-next tree and cc netdev list.
>> Sorry, I did this against Linus's tree, not net-next. Will fix.
>>>> +static u64 bpf_probe_write(u64 r1, u64 r2, u64 r3, u64 r4, u64 r5)
>>>> +{
>>>> + void *dst = (void *) (long) r1;
>>>> + void *unsafe_ptr = (void *) (long) r2;
>>>> + int  size = (int) r3;
>>>> +
>>>> + return probe_kernel_write(dst, unsafe_ptr, size);
>>>> +}
>>> the patch is whitepsace mangled. Please see Documentation/networking/netdev-FAQ.txt
>> Also will fix.
>>> the main issue though that we cannot simply allow bpf to do probe_write,
>>> since it may crash the kernel.
>>> What might be ok is to allow writing into memory of current
>>> user space process only. This way bpf prog will keep kernel safety guarantees,
>>> yet it will be able to modify user process memory when necessary.
>>> Since bpf+tracing is root only, it doesn't pose security risk.
>> Doesn't probe_write prevent you from writing to protected memory and
>> generate an EFAULT? Or are you worried about the situation where a bpf
>> program writes to some other chunk of kernel memory, or writes bad data
>> to said kernel memory?
>> I guess when I meant "safe" -- it's safer than allowing arbitrary memcpy.
>> I don't see a good way to ensure safety otherwise as we don't know
>> which registers point to memory that it's reasonable for probes to
>> manipulate. It's not like skb_store_bytes where we can check the pointer
>> going in is the same pointer that's referenced, and with a super
>> restricted datatype.
> exactly. probe_write can write anywhere in the kernel and that
> will cause crashes. If we allow that bpf becomes no different than
> kernel module.
>> Perhaps, it would be a good idea to describe an example where I used this:
>> #include <uapi/linux/ptrace.h>
>> #include <net/sock.h>
>> #include <bcc/proto.h>
>> int trace_inet_stream_connect(struct pt_regs *ctx)
>> {
>> 	if (!PT_REGS_PARM2(ctx)) {
>> 		return 0;
>> 	}
>> 	struct sockaddr uaddr = {};
>> 	struct sockaddr_in *addr_in;
>> 	bpf_probe_read(&uaddr, sizeof(struct sockaddr), (void *)PT_REGS_PARM2(ctx));
>> 	if (uaddr.sa_family == AF_INET) {
>> 		// Simple cast causes LLVM weirdness
>> 		addr_in = &uaddr;
>> 		char fmt[] = "Connecting on port: %d\n";
>> 		bpf_trace_printk(fmt, sizeof(fmt), ntohs(addr_in->sin_port));
>> 		if (ntohs(addr_in->sin_port) == 80) {
>> 			addr_in->sin_port = htons(443);
>> 			bpf_probe_write((void *)PT_REGS_PARM2(ctx), &uaddr, sizeof(uaddr));
>> 		}
>> 	}
>>         return 0;
>> };
>> There are two reasons I want to do this:
>> 1) Debugging - sometimes, it makes sense to divert a program's syscalls in
>> order to allow for better debugging
>> 2) Network Functions - I wrote a load balancer which intercepts
>> inet_stream_connect & tcp_set_state. We can manipulate the destination
>> address as neccessary at connect time. This also has the nice side effect
>> that getpeername() returns the real IP that a server is connected to, and
>> the performance is far better than doing "network load balancing"
>> (I realize this is a total hack, better approaches would be appreciated)
> nice. interesting idea.
> Have you considered ld_preload hack to do port rewrite?
We've thought about it. It wont really work for us, because we're doing 
this to manipulate 3rd party runtimes, many of which are written in 
languages that don't play nice with LD_PRELOAD. Go is the primary problem 
child in this case. We also looked at using SECCOMP + ptrace, but again, 
not all runtimes play nice with ptrace.

>> If we allowed manipulation of the current task's user memory by exposing
>> copy_to_user, that could also work if I attach the probe to sys_connect,
>> I could overwrite the address there before it gets copied into
>> kernel space, but that could lead to its own weirdness.
> we cannot simply call copy_to_user from the bpf either,
> but yeah, something semantically equivalent to copy_to_user should
> solve your port rewriting case, right?
> Could you explain little bit more on 'syscall divert' ideas?
If we had a "safe" copy_to_user which checked if BPF programs were running 
in the user context, that would work right? I mean, you could still make 
user programs crash, but that's better than making the kernel fall over. 
We would need both copy_from_user, and copy_to_user. If you look at the 
example program, it first checks what the user is connecting to -- so it'd 
have to check the address the user is passing to the syscall.

Syscall Divert:
The idea here is to try to "lie" to the program about the environment. A 
specific example is where I want to bypass certain calls like prctl during 
debugging, to allow certain instructions to execute. I don't always have 
access to the source of the containerizer I'm running, and it's nice to 
turn them off during debugging.

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