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Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2019 22:41:28 +0100
From: Luc Van Oostenryck <>
To: Tycho Andersen <>
Subject: Re: [RFC v1 0/4] static analysis of copy_to_user()

On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 08:05:10AM +1300, Tycho Andersen wrote:
> Hey Luc,
> On Fri, Dec 21, 2018 at 11:47:19PM +0100, Luc Van Oostenryck wrote:
> > On Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 12:59:27PM -0700, Tycho Andersen wrote:
> > > Hi all,
> > > 
> > > A while ago I talked with various people about whether some static
> > > analsys of copy_to_user() could be productive in finding infoleaks.
> > > Unfortunately, due to the various issues outlined in the patch notes, it
> > > doesn't seem like it is. Perhaps these checks are useful to put in just
> > > to future proof ourselves against these sorts of issues, though.
> > > 
> > > Anyway, here's the code. Thoughts welcome!
> > 
> > Hi,
> > 
> > I'm taking the first patch directly but I won't be able to look
> > closer at the other patches until next week.
> Any chance you can take a peek at these?


Sorry, I've had few available time the last weeks.
I had look at them shortly after you send them but
I haven't yet made my mind about them.

I'm quite reluctant to add complexity (the AST walking)
if it doesn't bring much benefit if any.

In, short the problems are:
1) duplication of the AST walking
2) unreliable type because of using void *
3) unreliable size because array to pointer degeneracy

There is some solutions, though:
1) what *could* be done is to add a method 'check'
   to struct symbol_op and call it, *for example*,
   just after op->expand() in expand_symbol_call()
   (and add a mechanism to set this method for the symbol
   corresponding to copy_to_user()).

   Otherwise, splitting the AST walking from sparse.c
   and making it something generic would be preferable.

   Another approach could be keep the check via OP_CALL
   but doing it just after linearization, before the
   optimization destroy the types (and add, if needed,
   some flag to force linearize_cast() keep absolutely
   all type info).

2) this one seems pretty hopeless

3) the current calls degenerate()/create_pointer()
   do indeed destroy the original type and (at first sight)
   no 'addressof' should exist anymore after evaluation.
   This is inconsistent with the existence of expand_addressof().
   By changing degenerate()/create_pointer() the original
   type should stay available.

Sorry again for the late reply,
-- Luc

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