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Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2020 14:39:32 +0300
From: Evgenii Shatokhin <>
To: Kristen Carlson Accardi <>
Cc: Miroslav Benes <>,,,,,,,,,,, Joe Lawrence <>,
 Josh Poimboeuf <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v4 00/10] Function Granular KASLR


> On Fri, 17 Jul 2020, Kristen Carlson Accardi wrote:
>> Function Granular Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization (fgkaslr)
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>> This patch set is an implementation of finer grained kernel address space
>> randomization. It rearranges your kernel code at load time
>> on a per-function level granularity, with only around a second added to
>> boot time.
> [...]

>> Modules
>> -------
>> Modules are randomized similarly to the rest of the kernel by shuffling
>> the sections at load time prior to moving them into memory. The module must
>> also have been build with the -ffunction-sections compiler option.

It seems, a couple more adjustments are needed in the module loader code.

With function granular KASLR, modules will have lots of ELF sections due 
to -ffunction-sections.
On my x86_64 system with kernel 5.8-rc7 with FG KASLR patches, for 
example, xfs.ko has 4849 ELF sections total, 2428 of these are loaded 
and shown in /sys/module/xfs/sections/.

There are at least 2 places where high-order memory allocations might 
happen during module loading. Such allocations may fail if memory is 
fragmented, while physically contiguous memory areas are not really 
needed there. I suggest to switch to kvmalloc/kvfree there.

1. kernel/module.c, randomize_text():
	Elf_Shdr **text_list;
	int max_sections = info->hdr->e_shnum;
	text_list = kmalloc_array(max_sections, sizeof(*text_list), GFP_KERNEL);

The size of the allocated memory area is (8 * total_number_of_sections), 
if I understand it right, which is 38792 for xfs.ko, a 4th order allocation.

2. kernel/module.c, mod_sysfs_setup() => add_sect_attrs().

This allocation can be larger than the first one.

We found this issue with livepatch modules some time ago (these modules 
are already built with -ffunction-sections) [1], but, with FG KASLR, it 
affects all kernel modules. Large ones like xfs.ko, btrfs.ko, etc., 
could suffer the most from it.

When a module is loaded sysfs attributes are created for its ELF 
sections (visible as /sys/module/<module_name>/sections/*). and contain 
the start addresses of these ELF sections. A single memory chunk is 
for all these:

         size[0] = ALIGN(sizeof(*sect_attrs)
                         + nloaded * sizeof(sect_attrs->attrs[0]),
         size[1] = (nloaded + 1) * sizeof(sect_attrs->grp.attrs[0]);
         sect_attrs = kzalloc(size[0] + size[1], GFP_KERNEL);

'nloaded' is the number of loaded ELF section in the module.

For the kernel 5.8-rc7 on my system, the total size is 56 + 72 * 
nloaded, which is 174872 for xfs.ko, 43 pages, 6th order allocation.

I enabled 'mm_page_alloc' tracepoint with filter 'order > 3' to confirm 
the issue and, indeed, got these two allocations when modprobe'ing xfs:
         modprobe-1509  <...>: mm_page_alloc: <...> order=4 
migratetype=0 gfp_flags=GFP_KERNEL|__GFP_COMP
         modprobe-1509  <stack trace>
		=> __alloc_pages_nodemask
		=> alloc_pages_current
		=> kmalloc_order
		=> kmalloc_order_trace
		=> __kmalloc
		=> load_module

         modprobe-1509  <...>: mm_page_alloc: <...> order=6 
migratetype=0 gfp_flags=GFP_KERNEL|__GFP_COMP|__GFP_ZERO
         modprobe-1509  <stack trace>
		=> __alloc_pages_nodemask
		=> alloc_pages_current
		=> kmalloc_order
		=> kmalloc_order_trace
		=> __kmalloc
		=> mod_sysfs_setup
		=> load_module

I suppose, something like this can be used as workaround:

* for randomize_text():
diff --git a/kernel/module.c b/kernel/module.c
index 0f4f4e567a42..a2473db1d0a3 100644
--- a/kernel/module.c
+++ b/kernel/module.c
@@ -2433,7 +2433,7 @@ static void randomize_text(struct module *mod, 
struct load_info *info)
  	if (sec == 0)

-	text_list = kmalloc_array(max_sections, sizeof(*text_list), GFP_KERNEL);
+	text_list = kvmalloc_array(max_sections, sizeof(*text_list), GFP_KERNEL);
  	if (!text_list)

@@ -2466,7 +2466,7 @@ static void randomize_text(struct module *mod, 
struct load_info *info)
  		shdr->sh_entsize = get_offset(mod, &size, shdr, 0);

-	kfree(text_list);
+	kvfree(text_list);

  /* Lay out the SHF_ALLOC sections in a way not dissimilar to how ld


* for add_sect_attrs():
diff --git a/kernel/module.c b/kernel/module.c
index 0f4f4e567a42..a2473db1d0a3 100644
--- a/kernel/module.c
+++ b/kernel/module.c
@@ -1541,7 +1541,7 @@ static void free_sect_attrs(struct 
module_sect_attrs *sect_attrs)

  	for (section = 0; section < sect_attrs->nsections; section++)
-	kfree(sect_attrs);
+	kvfree(sect_attrs);

  static void add_sect_attrs(struct module *mod, const struct load_info 
@@ -1558,7 +1558,7 @@ static void add_sect_attrs(struct module *mod, 
const struct load_info *info)
  	size[0] = ALIGN(struct_size(sect_attrs, attrs, nloaded),
  	size[1] = (nloaded + 1) * sizeof(sect_attrs->grp.bin_attrs[0]);
-	sect_attrs = kzalloc(size[0] + size[1], GFP_KERNEL);
+	sect_attrs = kvzalloc(size[0] + size[1], GFP_KERNEL);
  	if (sect_attrs == NULL)




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