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SubjectRe: [RFC PATCH v4 00/19] Core scheduling v4
> On Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 10:17:47PM +0100, Thomas Gleixner wrote:
> [..]
> > >> 4. HT1 is idle, and HT2 is running a victim process. Now HT1 starts running
> > >> hostile code on guest or host. HT2 is being forced idle. However, there is
> > >> an overlap between HT1 starting to execute hostile code and HT2's victim
> > >> process getting scheduled out.
> > >> Speaking to Vineeth, we discussed an idea to monitor the core_sched_seq
> > >> counter of the sibling being idled to detect that it is now idle.
> > >> However we discussed today that looking at this data, it is not really an
> > >> issue since it is such a small window.
> >
> > If the victim HT is kicked out of execution with an IPI then the overlap
> > depends on the contexts:
> >
> > HT1 (attack) HT2 (victim)
> >
> > A idle -> user space user space -> idle
> >
> > B idle -> user space guest -> idle
> >
> > C idle -> guest user space -> idle
> >
> > D idle -> guest guest -> idle
> >
> > The IPI from HT1 brings HT2 immediately into the kernel when HT2 is in
> > host user mode or brings it immediately into VMEXIT when HT2 is in guest
> > mode.
> >
> > #A On return from handling the IPI HT2 immediately reschedules to idle.
> > To have an overlap the return to user space on HT1 must be faster.
> >
> > #B Coming back from VEMXIT into schedule/idle might take slightly longer
> > than #A.
> >
> > #C Similar to #A, but reentering guest mode in HT1 after sending the IPI
> > will probably take longer.
> >
> > #D Similar to #C if you make the assumption that VMEXIT on HT2 and
> > rescheduling into idle is not significantly slower than reaching
> > VMENTER after sending the IPI.
> >
> > In all cases the data exposed by a potential overlap shouldn't be that
> > interesting (e.g. scheduler state), but that obviously depends on what
> > the attacker is looking for.
>
> About the "shouldn't be that interesting" part, you are saying, the overlap
> should not be that interesting because the act of one sibling IPI'ing the
> other implies the sibling HT immediately entering kernel mode, right?

Hi Thomas,

I see what you mean now. Basically after the IPI is sent, the HT
sending the IPI would have buffers cleared before the attacker gets a
chance to run on it. Because the victim HT enters into the IPI
handler, all the attacker will get to see is possibly uninteresting
data (e.g. scheduler state) as you mentioned.

Thanks!

- Joel

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