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SubjectRe: [PATCH v2 1/7] sysfs/cpu: Add "Unknown" vulnerability state

On 01/03/2019 10:37 AM, Dave Martin wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 02, 2019 at 06:49:15PM -0600, Jeremy Linton wrote:
>> There is a lot of variation in the Arm ecosystem. Because of this,
>> there exist possible cases where the kernel cannot authoritatively
>> determine if a machine is vulnerable.
>> Rather than guess the vulnerability status in cases where
>> the mitigation is disabled or the firmware isn't responding
>> correctly, we need to display an "Unknown" state.
>> Signed-off-by: Jeremy Linton <>
>> Cc: Thomas Gleixner <>
>> Cc: Greg Kroah-Hartman <>
>> Cc: Rafael J. Wysocki <>
>> Cc: Konrad Rzeszutek Wilk <>
>> Cc: Peter Zijlstra <>
>> Cc: Dave Hansen <>
>> Cc: Borislav Petkov <>
>> Cc: David Woodhouse <>
>> ---
>> Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-devices-system-cpu | 1 +
>> 1 file changed, 1 insertion(+)
>> diff --git a/Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-devices-system-cpu b/Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-devices-system-cpu
>> index 9605dbd4b5b5..876103fddfa4 100644
>> --- a/Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-devices-system-cpu
>> +++ b/Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-devices-system-cpu
>> @@ -495,6 +495,7 @@ Description: Information about CPU vulnerabilities
>> "Not affected" CPU is not affected by the vulnerability
>> "Vulnerable" CPU is affected and no mitigation in effect
>> "Mitigation: $M" CPU is affected and mitigation $M is in effect
>> + "Unknown" The kernel is unable to make a determination
> Do some of the "Unknown" cases arise from the vulnerability detection
> code being compiled out of the kernel?


> I wonder whether at least the detection support should be mandatory.
> sysfs is not very useful as a standard vulnerability reporting interface
> unless we make best efforts to always populate it with real information. >
> Also, does "Unknown" convey anything beyond what is indicated by the
> sysfs entry being omitted altogether?

I'm not sure about this one. I tend to think the "unknown" case
encourages users that really want an answer to dig deeper and call their
hardware/os/whoever to get an answer. I would tend to think that if the
entry is missing it would tend to encourage the behavior that Greg KH
mentions where the user assumes "hey the system doesn't have a sysfs
entry for $VUNLERABILITY, that probably means that its not possible on
the architecture".

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