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Subject[PATCH v7 01/27] Documentation/x86: Add CET description
Explain how CET works and the no_cet_shstk/no_cet_ibt kernel

Signed-off-by: Yu-cheng Yu <>
.../admin-guide/kernel-parameters.txt | 6 +
Documentation/x86/index.rst | 1 +
Documentation/x86/intel_cet.rst | 268 ++++++++++++++++++
3 files changed, 275 insertions(+)
create mode 100644 Documentation/x86/intel_cet.rst

diff --git a/Documentation/admin-guide/kernel-parameters.txt b/Documentation/admin-guide/kernel-parameters.txt
index 138f6664b2e2..b9b054f6c732 100644
--- a/Documentation/admin-guide/kernel-parameters.txt
+++ b/Documentation/admin-guide/kernel-parameters.txt
@@ -2906,6 +2906,12 @@
noexec=on: enable non-executable mappings (default)
noexec=off: disable non-executable mappings

+ no_cet_ibt [X86-64] Disable indirect branch tracking for user-mode
+ applications
+ no_cet_shstk [X86-64] Disable shadow stack support for user-mode
+ applications
nosmap [X86,PPC]
Disable SMAP (Supervisor Mode Access Prevention)
even if it is supported by processor.
diff --git a/Documentation/x86/index.rst b/Documentation/x86/index.rst
index ae36fc5fc649..47822ac02fe0 100644
--- a/Documentation/x86/index.rst
+++ b/Documentation/x86/index.rst
@@ -21,6 +21,7 @@ x86-specific Documentation
+ intel_cet
diff --git a/Documentation/x86/intel_cet.rst b/Documentation/x86/intel_cet.rst
new file mode 100644
index 000000000000..dac83bbf8a24
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/x86/intel_cet.rst
@@ -0,0 +1,268 @@
+.. SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0
+Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET)
+[1] Overview
+Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) provides protection against
+return/jump-oriented programming (ROP) attacks. It can be setup to
+protect both the kernel and applications. In the first phase,
+only the user-mode protection is implemented in 64-bit mode; 32-bit
+applications are supported in compatibility mode.
+CET introduces shadow stack (SHSTK) and indirect branch tracking
+(IBT). SHSTK is a secondary stack allocated from memory and cannot
+be directly modified by applications. When executing a CALL, the
+processor pushes a copy of the return address to SHSTK. Upon
+function return, the processor pops the SHSTK copy and compares it
+to the one from the program stack. If the two copies differ, the
+processor raises a control-protection exception. IBT verifies all
+indirect CALL/JMP targets are intended as marked by the compiler
+with 'ENDBR' opcodes (see CET instructions below).
+There are two kernel configuration options:
+To build a CET-enabled kernel, Binutils v2.31 and GCC v8.1 or later
+are required. To build a CET-enabled application, GLIBC v2.28 or
+later is also required.
+There are two command-line options for disabling CET features:
+ no_cet_shstk - disables SHSTK, and
+ no_cet_ibt - disables IBT.
+At run time, /proc/cpuinfo shows the availability of SHSTK and IBT.
+[2] CET assembly instructions
+ Read the SHSTK pointer into %r.
+ Unwind (increment) the SHSTK pointer (0 ~ 255) steps as indicated
+ in the operand register. The GLIBC longjmp uses INCSSP to unwind
+ the SHSTK until that matches the program stack. When it is
+ necessary to unwind beyond 255 steps, longjmp divides and repeats
+ the process.
+ Switch to the SHSTK indicated in the 'restore token' pointed by
+ the operand register and replace the 'restore token' with a new
+ token to be saved (with SAVEPREVSSP) for the outgoing SHSTK.
+ Incoming SHSTK Current/Outgoing SHSTK
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+ addr=x | | ssp-> | |
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+ (%r)-> | rstor_token=(x|Lg) | addr=y-8 | |
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+ | | | |
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+ ssp-> | rstor_token=(y|Bz|Lg)| addr=y-8 | |
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+ note:
+ 1. Only valid addresses and restore tokens can be on the
+ user-mode SHSTK.
+ 2. A token is always of type u64 and must align to u64.
+ 3. The incoming SHSTK pointer in a rstor_token must point to
+ immediately above the token.
+ 4. 'Lg' is bit[0] of a rstor_token indicating a 64-bit SHSTK.
+ 5. 'Bz' is bit[1] of a rstor_token indicating the token is to
+ be used only for the next SAVEPREVSSP and invalid for the
+ Store the SHSTK 'restore token' pointed by
+ (current_SHSTK_pointer + 8).
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+ ssp-> | | | |
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+ | rstor_token=(y|Bz|Lg)| addr=y-8 | rstor_token(y|Lg) |
+ |----------------------| |----------------------|
+WRUSS %r0, (%r1)
+ Write the value in %r0 to the SHSTK address pointed by (%r1).
+ This is a kernel-mode only instruction.
+ The compiler inserts an ENDBR at all valid branch targets. Any
+ CALL/JMP to a target without an ENDBR triggers a control
+ protection fault.
+[3] Application Enabling
+An application's CET capability is marked in its ELF header and can
+be verified from the following command output, in the
+ readelf -n <application>
+If an application supports CET and is statically linked, it will run
+with CET protection. If the application needs any shared libraries,
+the loader checks all dependencies and enables CET only when all
+requirements are met.
+[4] Legacy Libraries
+GLIBC provides a few tunables for backward compatibility.
+ Turn off SHSTK/IBT for the current shell.
+GLIBC_TUNABLES=glibc.tune.x86_shstk=<on, permissive>
+ This controls how dlopen() handles SHSTK legacy libraries:
+ on: continue with SHSTK enabled;
+ permissive: continue with SHSTK off.
+[5] CET system calls
+The following arch_prctl() system calls are added for CET:
+arch_prctl(ARCH_X86_CET_STATUS, unsigned long *addr)
+ Return CET feature status.
+ The parameter 'addr' is a pointer to a user buffer.
+ On returning to the caller, the kernel fills the following
+ information:
+ *addr = SHSTK/IBT status
+ *(addr + 1) = SHSTK base address
+ *(addr + 2) = SHSTK size
+arch_prctl(ARCH_X86_CET_DISABLE, unsigned long features)
+ Disable SHSTK and/or IBT specified in 'features'. Return -EPERM
+ if CET is locked.
+ Lock in CET feature.
+arch_prctl(ARCH_X86_CET_ALLOC_SHSTK, unsigned long *addr)
+ Allocate a new SHSTK and put a restore token at top.
+ The parameter 'addr' is a pointer to a user buffer and indicates
+ the desired SHSTK size to allocate. On returning to the caller,
+ the kernel fills *addr with the base address of the new SHSTK.
+arch_prctl(ARCH_X86_CET_SET_LEGACY_BITMAP, unsigned long *addr)
+ Setup an IBT legacy code bitmap.
+ The parameter 'addr' is a pointer to a user buffer that has the
+ following information:
+ *addr = IBT bitmap base address
+ *(addr + 1) = IBT bitmap size
+ There is no CET enabling arch_prctl function. By design, CET is
+ enabled automatically if the binary and the system can support it.
+ The parameters passed are always unsigned 64-bit. When an ia32
+ application passing pointers, it should only use the lower 32 bits.
+[6] The implementation of the SHSTK
+SHSTK size
+A task's SHSTK is allocated from memory to a fixed size of
+RLIMIT_STACK. A compat-mode thread's SHSTK size is 1/4 of
+RLIMIT_STACK. The smaller 32-bit thread SHSTK allows more threads to
+share a 32-bit address space.
+The main program and its signal handlers use the same SHSTK. Because
+the SHSTK stores only return addresses, a large SHSTK will cover the
+condition that both the program stack and the sigaltstack run out.
+The kernel creates a restore token at the SHSTK restoring address and
+verifies that token when restoring from the signal handler.
+The SHSTK's vma has VM_SHSTK flag set; its PTEs are required to be
+read-only and dirty. When a SHSTK PTE is not present, RO, and dirty,
+a SHSTK access triggers a page fault with an additional SHSTK bit set
+in the page fault error code.
+When a task forks a child, its SHSTK PTEs are copied and both the
+parent's and the child's SHSTK PTEs are cleared of the dirty bit.
+Upon the next SHSTK access, the resulting SHSTK page fault is handled
+by page copy/re-use.
+When a pthread child is created, the kernel allocates a new SHSTK for
+the new thread.
+Longjmp unwinds SHSTK until it matches the program stack.
+In GLIBC, getcontext/setcontext is implemented in similar way as
+When makecontext creates a new ucontext, a new SHSTK is allocated for
+that context with ARCH_X86_CET_ALLOC_SHSTK the syscall. The kernel
+creates a restore token at the top of the new SHSTK and the user-mode
+code switches to the new SHSTK with the RSTORSSP instruction.
+[7] The management of read-only & dirty PTEs for SHSTK
+A RO and dirty PTE exists in the following cases:
+(a) A page is modified and then shared with a fork()'ed child;
+(b) A R/O page that has been COW'ed;
+(c) A SHSTK page.
+The processor only checks the dirty bit for (c). To prevent the use
+of non-SHSTK memory as SHSTK, we use a spare bit of the 64-bit PTE as
+DIRTY_SW for (a) and (b) above. This results to the following PTE
+Modified PTE: (R/W + DIRTY_HW)
+Modified and shared PTE: (R/O + DIRTY_SW)
+R/O PTE, COW'ed: (R/O + DIRTY_SW)
+SHSTK PTE, shared: (R/O + DIRTY_SW)
+Note that DIRTY_SW is only used in R/O PTEs but not R/W PTEs.
+[8] The implementation of IBT
+The kernel provides IBT support in mmap() of the legacy code bit map.
+However, the management of the bitmap is done in the GLIBC or the
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