Kernel drivers and IOCTLs

Valdis Kl=?utf-8?Q?=c4=93?=tnieks valdis.kletnieks at
Thu Jan 23 11:49:26 EST 2020

On Tue, 21 Jan 2020 22:27:01 -0600, WyoFlippa said:

> I'm working on a driver that would verify a Linux or U-Boot image is
> secure and I need to pass parameters such as the public key, starting
> address, etc.

This is actually a lot harder to do properly than it looks, especially if
you're trying to export the information to userspace - a compromised kernel can
simply hijack your ioctl or /proc or /sys file and output that it's not
compromised. You can't even easily use public/private keys to sign the
statement it's not compromised, because if the legit kernel has access to the
public key, the compromised code probably does too.....

And if you're defending against sufficiently well-financed attackers, it may
even be difficult for a driver to verify the rest of the kernel isn't
compromised. As a fairly obvious attack, consider a kernel with 2 sets of page
table mappings. First, a set that contains the original kernel code and is
mapped in when your driver is executing, and then the *real* set that maps in
other physical pages containing the skullduggery code, which gets mapped in
when there's something evil being done....

So what *actual* problem are you trying to solve by using a driver to verify
the image is "secure" (which needs further definition, but you probably already
knew that if your skill level is up to doing this right...)?  In particular, what are
you trying to do that various secure boot schemes don't address?

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 832 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Kernelnewbies mailing list