[PATCH v6 3/3] arm64: pac: Optimize kernel entry/exit key installation code paths

Peter Collingbourne pcc at google.com
Fri Feb 12 13:20:13 EST 2021

On Fri, Feb 12, 2021 at 3:01 AM James Morse <james.morse at arm.com> wrote:
> Hi Peter,
> On 12/02/2021 05:01, Peter Collingbourne wrote:
> > On Tue, Jan 26, 2021 at 5:09 AM Will Deacon <will at kernel.org> wrote:
> >>
> >> On Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 10:59:15PM -0800, Peter Collingbourne wrote:
> >>> The kernel does not use any keys besides IA so we don't need to
> >>> install IB/DA/DB/GA on kernel exit if we arrange to install them
> >>> on task switch instead, which we can expect to happen an order of
> >>> magnitude less often.
> >>>
> >>> Furthermore we can avoid installing the user IA in the case where the
> >>> user task has IA disabled and just leave the kernel IA installed. This
> >>> also lets us avoid needing to install IA on kernel entry.
> >>
> >> I've got to be honest, this makes me nervous in case there is a way for
> >> userspace to recover the kernel key even though EnIA is clear. Currently,
> >> EnIA doesn't affect XPAC* and PACGA instructions, and the architecture
> > For GA I would expect it to be controlled by a hypothetical EnGA, not
> > by EnIA (and I'm a bit surprised that there isn't an EnGA;
> PACGA is undefined if the CPU doesn't implement PAC, whereas PACIASP is a NOP if the CPU
> doesn't implement PAC.
> I think the reason from the SCTLR_ELx controls is to make unaware systems transform the
> instructions that were hints back into hints. (e.g. the AddPACIA psuedo code). This is
> needed on mismatched big-little systems, otherwise processes can't be migrated between them.

It's needed for more than that, see the history of my
PR_PAC_SET_ENABLED_KEYS patch, in particular [1].

> For the non-hint instructions, user-space needs to test the hwcap/id-register-emulation to
> know it can use these instructions, and the compiler shouldn't output them unconditionally.

Right, unless the target is known to support them.

> > doesn't it
> > mean that a userspace program running under an unaware kernel or
> > hypervisor may sign things using the GA from potentially another
> > hypervisor guest?)
> The hypervisor controls all this with HCR_EL2.API, which also traps PACGA et al.
> For the hypervisor its all or nothing.
> If the hypervisor is emulating a machine without PAC, it can emulate an undefined
> exception regardless of whether the CPU supports PAC or not.
> Does this match your reading?

I think that's right. So an unaware hypervisor would set API to 0 and
none of the guests would be able to use the authentication
instructions. Since it looks like API=0 would make the hint-space
instructions trap as well, I would imagine that a hypervisor would
need to emulate them as no-ops if it's emulating a machine without


[1] https://www.spinics.net/lists/arm-kernel/msg830889.html

More information about the linux-arm-kernel mailing list