[RFC 0/3] extend kexec_file_load system call

Stewart Smith stewart at linux.vnet.ibm.com
Wed Jul 13 00:55:33 PDT 2016

Russell King - ARM Linux <linux at armlinux.org.uk> writes:
> 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.

Ahh.. I missed the bootloader bit there.

In which case, we're the same on OpenPOWER, there is no intermediate
bootloader - in our case we have linux (with kexec) taking on what uboot
or grub is typically used for on other platforms.

Stewart Smith
OPAL Architect, IBM.

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