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Linux Kernel Defence Map


Linux kernel security is a very complex topic.

There are many concepts that have interesting relationships with each other:

  • Vulnerability classes
  • Exploitation techniques
  • Bug detection mechanisms
  • Defence technologies

Some defence technologies are provided by the Linux kernel mainline. Others are going out‑of‑tree for various reasons (some of them are commercial, for example). Moreover, there are kernel defences that depend on special hardware features.

It would be convenient to have a graphical representation of Linux kernel security. That's why I have created a Linux Kernel Defence Map showing the relationships between all these concepts.

The node connections don't mean "full mitigation." Rather, each connection represents some kind of relationship. So the Linux Kernel Defence Map should help to navigate the documentation and Linux kernel sources. It also provides the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) numbers for vulnerability classes.

This map describes kernel security hardening. It doesn't cover cutting attack surface, userspace security features and policies enforced by various Linux Security Modules (LSM).

How this Map is made

This map is written in the DOT language, which makes maintenance and updating in Git very convenient. The diagram is generated using GraphViz with the following command:

dot -Tsvg -o linux-kernel-defence-map.svg

Do you want to check your kernel configuration?

So there are plenty of security hardening options in the Linux kernel. A lot of them are not enabled by the major distros. We have to configure these options ourselves to make our systems more secure.

But nobody likes verifying configs manually. So I've created the kconfig-hardened-check that checks security hardening options of the Linux kernel. You are welcome to try it.


Map for Linux kernel v5.13

Linux Kernel Defence Map


Linux Kernel Defence Map shows the relationships between vulnerability classes, exploitation techniques, bug detection mechanisms, and defence technologies






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