path: root/kernel/livepatch/core.c
diff options
authorPetr Mladek <>2015-03-12 12:55:13 +0100
committerJiri Kosina <>2015-03-17 10:31:54 +0100
commit8cb2c2dc472775479a1a7e78180955f6f1cb0b0a (patch)
tree2559ec0ce406626d0335220d7c0c8cff764a2f6e /kernel/livepatch/core.c
parentc064a0de1bfb07c34a3798822c7e1636eea866e8 (diff)
livepatch: Fix subtle race with coming and going modules
There is a notifier that handles live patches for coming and going modules. It takes klp_mutex lock to avoid races with coming and going patches but it does not keep the lock all the time. Therefore the following races are possible: 1. The notifier is called sometime in STATE_MODULE_COMING. The module is visible by find_module() in this state all the time. It means that new patch can be registered and enabled even before the notifier is called. It might create wrong order of stacked patches, see below for an example. 2. New patch could still see the module in the GOING state even after the notifier has been called. It will try to initialize the related object structures but the module could disappear at any time. There will stay mess in the structures. It might even cause an invalid memory access. This patch solves the problem by adding a boolean variable into struct module. The value is true after the coming and before the going handler is called. New patches need to be applied when the value is true and they need to ignore the module when the value is false. Note that we need to know state of all modules on the system. The races are related to new patches. Therefore we do not know what modules will get patched. Also note that we could not simply ignore going modules. The code from the module could be called even in the GOING state until mod->exit() finishes. If we start supporting patches with semantic changes between function calls, we need to apply new patches to any still usable code. See below for an example. Finally note that the patch solves only the situation when a new patch is registered. There are no such problems when the patch is being removed. It does not matter who disable the patch first, whether the normal disable_patch() or the module notifier. There is nothing to do once the patch is disabled. Alternative solutions: ====================== + reject new patches when a patched module is coming or going; this is ugly + wait with adding new patch until the module leaves the COMING and GOING states; this might be dangerous and complicated; we would need to release kgr_lock in the middle of the patch registration to avoid a deadlock with the coming and going handlers; also we might need a waitqueue for each module which seems to be even bigger overhead than the boolean + stop modules from entering COMING and GOING states; wait until modules leave these states when they are already there; looks complicated; we would need to ignore the module that asked to stop the others to avoid a deadlock; also it is unclear what to do when two modules asked to stop others and both are in COMING state (situation when two new patches are applied) + always register/enable new patches and fix up the potential mess (registered patches order) in klp_module_init(); this is nasty and prone to regressions in the future development + add another MODULE_STATE where the kallsyms are visible but the module is not used yet; this looks too complex; the module states are checked on "many" locations Example of patch stacking breakage: =================================== The notifier could _not_ _simply_ ignore already initialized module objects. For example, let's have three patches (P1, P2, P3) for functions a() and b() where a() is from vmcore and b() is from a module M. Something like: a() b() P1 a1() b1() P2 a2() b2() P3 a3() b3(3) If you load the module M after all patches are registered and enabled. The ftrace ops for function a() and b() has listed the functions in this order: ops_a->func_stack -> list(a3,a2,a1) ops_b->func_stack -> list(b3,b2,b1) , so the pointer to b3() is the first and will be used. Then you might have the following scenario. Let's start with state when patches P1 and P2 are registered and enabled but the module M is not loaded. Then ftrace ops for b() does not exist. Then we get into the following race: CPU0 CPU1 load_module(M) complete_formation() mod->state = MODULE_STATE_COMING; mutex_unlock(&module_mutex); klp_register_patch(P3); klp_enable_patch(P3); # STATE 1 klp_module_notify(M) klp_module_notify_coming(P1); klp_module_notify_coming(P2); klp_module_notify_coming(P3); # STATE 2 The ftrace ops for a() and b() then looks: STATE1: ops_a->func_stack -> list(a3,a2,a1); ops_b->func_stack -> list(b3); STATE2: ops_a->func_stack -> list(a3,a2,a1); ops_b->func_stack -> list(b2,b1,b3); therefore, b2() is used for the module but a3() is used for vmcore because they were the last added. Example of the race with going modules: ======================================= CPU0 CPU1 delete_module() #SYSCALL try_stop_module() mod->state = MODULE_STATE_GOING; mutex_unlock(&module_mutex); klp_register_patch() klp_enable_patch() #save place to switch universe b() # from module that is going a() # from core (patched) mod->exit(); Note that the function b() can be called until we call mod->exit(). If we do not apply patch against b() because it is in MODULE_STATE_GOING, it will call patched a() with modified semantic and things might get wrong. [ use one boolean instead of two] Signed-off-by: Petr Mladek <> Acked-by: Josh Poimboeuf <> Acked-by: Rusty Russell <> Signed-off-by: Jiri Kosina <>
Diffstat (limited to 'kernel/livepatch/core.c')
1 files changed, 26 insertions, 4 deletions
diff --git a/kernel/livepatch/core.c b/kernel/livepatch/core.c
index 01ca08804f51..3f9f1d6b4c2e 100644
--- a/kernel/livepatch/core.c
+++ b/kernel/livepatch/core.c
@@ -89,16 +89,28 @@ static bool klp_is_object_loaded(struct klp_object *obj)
/* sets obj->mod if object is not vmlinux and module is found */
static void klp_find_object_module(struct klp_object *obj)
+ struct module *mod;
if (!klp_is_module(obj))
- * We don't need to take a reference on the module here because we have
- * the klp_mutex, which is also taken by the module notifier. This
- * prevents any module from unloading until we release the klp_mutex.
+ * We do not want to block removal of patched modules and therefore
+ * we do not take a reference here. The patches are removed by
+ * a going module handler instead.
+ */
+ mod = find_module(obj->name);
+ /*
+ * Do not mess work of the module coming and going notifiers.
+ * Note that the patch might still be needed before the going handler
+ * is called. Module functions can be called even in the GOING state
+ * until mod->exit() finishes. This is especially important for
+ * patches that modify semantic of the functions.
- obj->mod = find_module(obj->name);
+ if (mod && mod->klp_alive)
+ obj->mod = mod;
@@ -767,6 +779,7 @@ static int klp_init_object(struct klp_patch *patch, struct klp_object *obj)
return -EINVAL;
obj->state = KLP_DISABLED;
+ obj->mod = NULL;
@@ -961,6 +974,15 @@ static int klp_module_notify(struct notifier_block *nb, unsigned long action,
+ /*
+ * Each module has to know that the notifier has been called.
+ * We never know what module will get patched by a new patch.
+ */
+ if (action == MODULE_STATE_COMING)
+ mod->klp_alive = true;
+ mod->klp_alive = false;
list_for_each_entry(patch, &klp_patches, list) {
for (obj = patch->objs; obj->funcs; obj++) {
if (!klp_is_module(obj) || strcmp(obj->name, mod->name))