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SubjectRe: [PATCH v2 0/6] Harden userfaultfd
On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 05:54:35PM +0100, Jann Horn wrote:
> 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
> accesses.
> This was described in this old presentation about why userfaultfd is
> better than a SIGSEGV handler:
> (slide 6) (recording at

Right. AFAICT QEMU uses it far more than disk IOs. A guest page can
be accessed by any kernel component on the destination host during a
postcopy procedure. It can be as simple as when a vcpu writes to a
missing guest page which still resides on the source host, then KVM
will get a page fault and trap into userfaultfd asking for that page.
The same thing happens to other modules like vhost, etc., as long as a
missing guest page is touched by a kernel module.


Peter Xu

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