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SubjectRe: [PATCH v2 0/6] Harden userfaultfd
On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 8:51 AM Kees Cook <> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 02:55:41PM -0800, Daniel Colascione wrote:
> > Let userfaultfd opt out of handling kernel-mode faults
> > Add a new sysctl for limiting userfaultfd to user mode faults
> Now this I'm very interested in. Can you go into more detail about two
> things:
> - Why is this needed in addition to the existing vm.unprivileged_userfaultfd
> sysctl? (And should this maybe just be another setting for that
> sysctl, like "2"?)
> As to the mechanics of the change, I'm not sure I like the idea of adding
> a UAPI flag for this. Why not just retain the permission check done at
> open() and if kernelmode faults aren't allowed, ignore them? This would
> require no changes to existing programs and gains the desired defense.
> (And, I think, the sysctl value could be bumped to "2" as that's a
> better default state -- does qemu actually need kernelmode traps?)

I think this might be necessary for I/O emulation? As in, if before
getting migrated, the guest writes some data into a buffer, then the
guest gets migrated, and then while the postcopy migration stuff is
still running, the guest tells QEMU to write that data from
guest-physical memory to disk or whatever; I think in that case, QEMU
will do something like a pwrite() syscall where the userspace pointer
points into the memory area containing guest-physical memory, which
would return -EFAULT if userfaultfd was restricted to userspace

This was described in this old presentation about why userfaultfd is
better than a SIGSEGV handler:
(slide 6) (recording at

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