[RFC 0/3] extend kexec_file_load system call

Russell King - ARM Linux linux at armlinux.org.uk
Wed Jul 13 00:36:57 PDT 2016

On Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 02:59:51PM +1000, Stewart Smith wrote:
> Russell King - ARM Linux <linux at armlinux.org.uk> writes:
> > On Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 10:58:05PM +0200, Petr Tesarik wrote:
> >> I'm not an expert on DTB, so I can't provide an example of code
> >> execution, but you have already mentioned the /chosen/linux,stdout-path
> >> property. If an attacker redirects the bootloader to an insecure
> >> console, they may get access to the system that would otherwise be
> >> impossible.
> >
> > I fail to see how kexec connects with the boot loader - the DTB image
> > that's being talked about is one which is passed from the currently
> > running kernel to the to-be-kexec'd kernel.  For ARM (and I suspect
> > also ARM64) that's a direct call chain which doesn't involve any
> > boot loader or firmware, and certainly none that would involve the
> > passed DTB image.
> For OpenPOWER machines, kexec is the bootloader. Our bootloader is a
> linux kernel and initramfs with a UI (petitboot) - this means we never
> have to write a device driver twice: write a kernel one and you're done
> (for booting from the device and using it in your OS).

I think you misunderstood my point.

On ARM, we do not go:

	kernel (kexec'd from) -> boot loader -> kernel (kexec'd to)

but we go:

	kernel (kexec'd from) -> kernel (kexec'd to)

There's no intermediate step involving any bootloader.

Hence, my point is that the dtb loaded by kexec is _only_ used by the
kernel which is being kexec'd to, not by the bootloader, nor indeed
the kernel which it is loaded into.

Moreover, if you read the bit that I quoted (which is what I was
replying to), you'll notice that it is talking about the DTB loaded
by kexec somehow causing the _bootloader_ to be redirected to an
alternative console.  This point is wholely false on ARM.

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