[RFC PATCH v2 0/2] Randomization of address chosen by mmap.

Kees Cook keescook at chromium.org
Wed Mar 28 09:53:53 AEDT 2018

On Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 6:51 AM, Ilya Smith <blackzert at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 27 Mar 2018, at 10:24, Michal Hocko <mhocko at kernel.org> wrote:
>> On Mon 26-03-18 22:45:31, Ilya Smith wrote:
>>>> On 26 Mar 2018, at 11:46, Michal Hocko <mhocko at kernel.org> wrote:
>>>> On Fri 23-03-18 20:55:49, Ilya Smith wrote:
>>>>>> On 23 Mar 2018, at 15:48, Matthew Wilcox <willy at infradead.org> wrote:
>>>>>> On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 07:36:36PM +0300, Ilya Smith wrote:
>>>>>>> Current implementation doesn't randomize address returned by mmap.
>>>>>>> All the entropy ends with choosing mmap_base_addr at the process
>>>>>>> creation. After that mmap build very predictable layout of address
>>>>>>> space. It allows to bypass ASLR in many cases. This patch make
>>>>>>> randomization of address on any mmap call.
>>>>>> Why should this be done in the kernel rather than libc?  libc is perfectly
>>>>>> capable of specifying random numbers in the first argument of mmap.
>>>>> Well, there is following reasons:
>>>>> 1. It should be done in any libc implementation, what is not possible IMO;
>>>> Is this really so helpful?
>>> Yes, ASLR is one of very important mitigation techniques which are really used
>>> to protect applications. If there is no ASLR, it is very easy to exploit
>>> vulnerable application and compromise the system. We can’t just fix all the
>>> vulnerabilities right now, thats why we have mitigations - techniques which are
>>> makes exploitation more hard or impossible in some cases.
>>> Thats why it is helpful.
>> I am not questioning ASLR in general. I am asking whether we really need
>> per mmap ASLR in general. I can imagine that some environments want to
>> pay the additional price and other side effects, but considering this
>> can be achieved by libc, why to add more code to the kernel?
> I believe this is the only one right place for it. Adding these 200+ lines of
> code we give this feature for any user - on desktop, on server, on IoT device,
> on SCADA, etc. But if only glibc will implement ‘user-mode-aslr’ IoT and SCADA
> devices will never get it.

I agree: pushing this off to libc leaves a lot of things unprotected.
I think this should live in the kernel. The question I have is about
making it maintainable/readable/etc.

The state-of-the-art for ASLR is moving to finer granularity (over
just base-address offset), so I'd really like to see this supported in
the kernel. We'll be getting there for other things in the future, and
I'd like to have a working production example for researchers to
study, etc.


Kees Cook
Pixel Security

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