[RFC 0/3] extend kexec_file_load system call

Arnd Bergmann arnd at arndb.de
Fri Jul 15 00:31:02 PDT 2016

On Thursday, July 14, 2016 10:44:14 PM CEST Thiago Jung Bauermann wrote:
> Am Donnerstag, 14 Juli 2016, 10:29:11 schrieb Arnd Bergmann:

> > 
> > Right, but the question remains whether this helps while you allow the
> > boot loader to modify the dtb. If an attacker gets in and cannot modify
> > the kernel or initid but can modify the DT, a successful attack would
> > be a bit harder than having a modified kernel, but you may still need
> > to treat the system as compromised.
> Yes, and the same question also remains regarding the kernel command line.
> We can have the kernel perform sanity checks on the device tree, just as the 
> kernel needs to sanity check the command line.
> There's the point that was raised about not wanting to increase the attack 
> surface, and that's a valid point. But at least in the way Petitboot works 
> today, it needs to modify the device tree and pass it to the kernel.
> One thing that is unavoidable to come from userspace is 
> /chosen/linux,stdout-path, because it's Petitboot that knows from which 
> console the user is interacting with. The other modification to set 
> properties in vga at 0 can be done in the kernel.
> Given that on DTB-based systems /chosen is an important and established way 
> to pass information to the operating system being booted, I'd like to 
> suggest the following, then:
> Extend the syscall as shown in this RFC from Takahiro AKASHI, but instead of 
> accepting a complete DTB from userspace, the syscall would accept a DTB 
> containing only a /chosen node. If the DTB contains any other node, the 
> syscall fails with EINVAL. The kernel can then add the properties in /chosen 
> to the device tree that it will pass to the next kernel.
> What do you think?

I think that helps, as it makes the problem space correspond to that
of modifying the command line, but I can still come up with countless
attacks based on modifications of the /chosen node and/or the command
line, in fact it's probably easier than any other node.

What methods to we have in place for command line changes today on
other architectures?


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