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SubjectRe: [PATCH 16/18] net: mpls: prevent bounds-check bypass via speculative execution
Dan Williams <> writes:

> Static analysis reports that 'index' may be a user controlled value that
> is used as a data dependency reading 'rt' from the 'platform_label'
> array. In order to avoid potential leaks of kernel memory values, block
> speculative execution of the instruction stream that could issue further
> reads based on an invalid 'rt' value.

In detail.
a) This code is fast path packet forwarding code. Introducing an
unconditional pipeline stall is not ok.

AKA either there is no speculation and so this is invulnerable
or there is speculation and you are creating an unconditional
pipeline stall here.

My back of the napkin caluculations say that a pipeline stall
is about 20 cycles. Which is about the same length of time
as a modern cache miss.

On a good day this code will perform with 0 cache misses. On a less
good day 1 cache miss. Which means you are quite possibly doubling
the runtime of mpls_forward.

b) The array is dynamically allocated which should provide some
protection, as it will be more difficult to predict the address
of the array which is needed to craft an malicious userspace value.

c) The code can be trivially modified to say:

static struct mpls_route *mpls_route_input_rcu(struct net *net, unsigned index)
struct mpls_route *rt = NULL;

if (index < net->mpls.platform_labels) {
struct mpls_route __rcu **platform_label =
rt = rcu_dereference(platform_label[index & ((1 << 20) - 1)]);
return rt;

AKA a static mask will ensure that there is not a primitive that can be
used to access all of memory. That is max a 1 cycle slowdown in the
code, which is a much better trade off.

d) If we care more it is straight forward to modify
resize_platform_label_table() to ensure that the size of the array
is always a power of 2.

e) The fact that a pointer is returned from the array and it is treated
like a pointer would seem to provide a defense against the
exfiltration technique of using the value read as an index into
a small array, that user space code can probe aliased cached
lines of, to see which value was dereferenced.

So to this patch in particular.
Nacked-by: "Eric W. Biederman" <>

This code path will be difficult to exploit. This change messes with
performance. There are ways to make this code path useless while
preserving the performance of the code.


> Based on an original patch by Elena Reshetova.
> Cc: "David S. Miller" <>
> Cc: Eric W. Biederman <>
> Cc:
> Signed-off-by: Elena Reshetova <>
> Signed-off-by: Dan Williams <>
> ---
> net/mpls/af_mpls.c | 12 +++++++-----
> 1 file changed, 7 insertions(+), 5 deletions(-)
> diff --git a/net/mpls/af_mpls.c b/net/mpls/af_mpls.c
> index 8ca9915befc8..ebcf0e246cfe 100644
> --- a/net/mpls/af_mpls.c
> +++ b/net/mpls/af_mpls.c
> @@ -8,6 +8,7 @@
> #include <linux/ipv6.h>
> #include <linux/mpls.h>
> #include <linux/netconf.h>
> +#include <linux/compiler.h>
> #include <linux/vmalloc.h>
> #include <linux/percpu.h>
> #include <net/ip.h>
> @@ -77,12 +78,13 @@ static void rtmsg_lfib(int event, u32 label, struct mpls_route *rt,
> static struct mpls_route *mpls_route_input_rcu(struct net *net, unsigned index)
> {
> struct mpls_route *rt = NULL;
> + struct mpls_route __rcu **platform_label =
> + rcu_dereference(net->mpls.platform_label);
> + struct mpls_route __rcu **rtp;
> - if (index < net->mpls.platform_labels) {
> - struct mpls_route __rcu **platform_label =
> - rcu_dereference(net->mpls.platform_label);
> - rt = rcu_dereference(platform_label[index]);
> - }
> + if ((rtp = nospec_array_ptr(platform_label, index,
> + net->mpls.platform_labels)))
> + rt = rcu_dereference(*rtp);
> return rt;
> }

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