Kernel Self Protection Project
This project starts with the premise that kernel bugs have a very long lifetime, and that the kernel must be designed in ways to protect against these flaws. We must think of security beyond fixing bugs. As a community, we already find and fix individual bugs via static checkers (compiler flags, smatch, coccinelle, coverity) and dynamic checkers (kernel configs, trinity, KASan). Those efforts are important and on-going, but if we want to protect our billion Android phones, our cars, the International Space Station, and everything else running Linux, we must get proactive defensive technologies built into the upstream Linux kernel. We need the kernel to fail safely, instead of just running safely.
These kinds of protections have existed for years in PaX, grsecurity, and piles of academic papers. For various social, cultural, and technical reasons, they have not made their way into the upstream kernel, and this project seeks to change that. Our focus is on kernel self-protection, rather than kernel-supported userspace protections. The goal is to eliminate both classes of bugs and methods of exploitation.
Want to get involved? Join the kernel hardening mailing list and introduce yourself. Then pick an area of work from below (or add a new one), coordinate on the mailing list, and get started. If your employer is brave enough to understand how critical this work is, they'll pay you to work on it. If not, the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative is in a great position to fund specific work proposals. We need kernel developers, compiler developers, testers, backporters, a documentation writers.
This is far from a comprehensive list, but it's a starting point we can add to:
- Stack overflow
- Integer overflow
- Heap overflow
- Format string injection
- Kernel pointer leak
- Uninitialized variables