[RFC 0/3] extend kexec_file_load system call
ptesarik at suse.cz
Wed Jul 13 01:57:16 PDT 2016
On Wed, 13 Jul 2016 09:26:39 +0100
Russell King - ARM Linux <linux at armlinux.org.uk> wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 05:55:33PM +1000, Stewart Smith wrote:
> > 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.
> Indeed - maybe Eric knows better, but I can't see any situation where
> the dtb we load via kexec should ever affect "the bootloader", unless
> the "kernel" that's being loaded into kexec is "the bootloader".
> Now, going back to the more fundamental issue raised in my first reply,
> about the kernel command line.
> On x86, I can see that it _is_ possible for userspace to specify a
> command line, and the kernel loading the image provides the command
> line to the to-be-kexeced kernel with very little checking. So, if
> your kernel is signed, what stops the "insecure userspace" loading
> a signed kernel but giving it an insecure rootfs and/or console?
This is a valid point. If there are kernel options that can be misused
to defeat the purpose of UEFI SecureBoot, then we're in trouble.
Generally, the Linux kernel should treat the command line as untrusted
My point is that modifying the DTB opens a completely new attack
vector. And the goal is not extending the attack surface (because there
are holes in it already), but reducing the attack surface (e.g. by
limiting available kernel command line options).
More information about the kexec