[RFC 0/3] extend kexec_file_load system call

Michael Ellerman mpe at ellerman.id.au
Wed Jul 20 03:47:45 PDT 2016

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

> On Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 01:45:42PM +1000, Balbir Singh wrote:
>> > IOW, if your kernel forced signature verification, you should not be
>> > able to do sig_enforce=0. If you kernel did not have
>> > CONFIG_MODULE_SIG_FORCE=y, then sig_enforce should be 0 by default anyway
>> > and you are not making it worse using command line.
>> OK.. I checked and you are right, but that is an example and there are
>> other things like security=, thermal.*, nosmep, nosmap that need auditing
>> for safety and might hurt the system security if used. I still think
>> think that assuming you can pass any command line without breaking security
>> is a broken argument.
> Quite, and you don't need to run code in a privileged environment to do
> any of that.
> It's also not trivial to protect against: new kernels gain new arguments
> which older kernels may not know about.  No matter how much protection
> is built into older kernels, newer kernels can become vulnerable through
> the addition of further arguments.

Indeed. A whitelist of allowed command line arguments is the only option.

But given the existing syscall has shipped without a whitelist of command line
arguments, you can't add a whitelist now without potentially breaking someone's

Getting back to the device tree, we could similarly have a whitelist of
nodes/properties that we allow to be passed in.

At least for stdout-path, I can't really see how that would significantly help
an attacker, but I'm all ears if anyone has ideas.

> Also, how sure are we that there are no stack overflow issues with kernel
> command line parsing?  Can we be sure that there's none?  This is
> something which happens early in the kernel boot, before the full memory
> protections have been set up.

Yeah that's also a good point. More so for the device tree, because the parsing
is more complicated. I think there has been some work done on fuzzing libfdt,
but we should probably do more.


More information about the kexec mailing list