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Memory hardening #2729

arr2036 opened this issue Jun 4, 2019 · 1 comment


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commented Jun 4, 2019

For FR_TYPE_SECRET, buffers should be allocated from an mlocked pool, which should secure memset the objects to zero when they're freed.

The pool should be page aligned and reuse the same code as the mprotected pages.

Related thoughts

  • It also might be a good idea to implement a new API which allows allocation of memory fragments, and tracks the allocations in a linked list, as phase 0 then, allocates a page aligned talloc pool to hold all those allocations, and copies them over. This would allow us to get rid of the explicit mprotect pool size, which was always a dumb hack, and not require an explicit pool size for secret memory.

  • We can coarsely intercept memory allocations in OpenSSL that may be dealing with things like private keys. Other allocations may get caught in this, but that's not a huge issue.

  • We need page aligned memory for mprotect, madvise, mlock, mmap, mremap.

  • We might want to use madvise on the pages used for the ring buffers for packet processing, to allow aggressive readahead.


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commented Jun 4, 2019

@terryburton this relates to some of the things we were talking about. Do you have any other thoughts on memory hardening strategies, other than secure memset on free and making sure sensitive memory doesn't get paged? Might be worth having a look at SME, and seeing if we can enable that on the relevant pages, I think it'd prevent cold boot attacks...

There's also memguard in go, but I'm not sure what mechanism it's actually using to do memory encryption and whether it's go specific.

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