[PATCH v4 3/5] stack: Optionally randomize kernel stack offset each syscall

Alexander Popov alex.popov at linux.com
Tue Jun 23 08:38:32 EDT 2020

On 22.06.2020 22:31, Kees Cook wrote:
> As Linux kernel stack protections have been constantly improving
> (vmap-based stack allocation with guard pages, removal of thread_info,
> STACKLEAK), attackers have had to find new ways for their exploits
> to work. They have done so, continuing to rely on the kernel's stack
> determinism, in situations where VMAP_STACK and THREAD_INFO_IN_TASK_STRUCT
> were not relevant. For example, the following recent attacks would have
> been hampered if the stack offset was non-deterministic between syscalls:
> https://repositorio-aberto.up.pt/bitstream/10216/125357/2/374717.pdf
> (page 70: targeting the pt_regs copy with linear stack overflow)
> https://a13xp0p0v.github.io/2020/02/15/CVE-2019-18683.html
> (leaked stack address from one syscall as a target during next syscall)
> The main idea is that since the stack offset is randomized on each system
> call, it is harder for an attack to reliably land in any particular place
> on the thread stack, even with address exposures, as the stack base will
> change on the next syscall. Also, since randomization is performed after
> placing pt_regs, the ptrace-based approach[1] to discover the randomized
> offset during a long-running syscall should not be possible.

Hello Kees!

I would recommend to disable CONFIG_STACKLEAK_METRICS if kernel stack offset
randomization is enabled. It is a debugging feature that provides information
about kernel stack usage. That info can be useful for calculating the random offset.

I would also recommend to check: there might be other kernel features for
debugging or getting statistics that can be used to disclose the random stack

Best regards,

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