Kernel Self Protection Project/Work

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Work Areas

The Kernel Self Protection Project has a lot of work to do! While there are already a number of upstream kernel security features, we are still missing many. The following is far from a comprehensive list, but it's at least a starting point we can add to:

Bug Classes

Exploitation Methods

Specific TODO Items

Besides the general work outlined above, there are number of specific tasks that have either been asked about frequently or are otherwise in need some time and attention:

Kernel items

  • Split thread_info off of kernel stack (Done: x86, arm64, s390. Needed on arm, powerpc and others?)
  • Move kernel stack to vmap area (Done: x86, s390. Needed on arm, arm64, powerpc and others?)
  • Implement kernel relocation and KASLR for ARM
  • Make CONFIG_STRICT_KERNEL_RWX and CONFIG_STRICT_MODULE_RWX mandatory (done for arm64 and x86, other archs still need it)
  • Further restriction of perf_event_open (e.g. perf_event_paranoid=3)
  • Extend HARDENED_USERCOPY to split user-facing kmalloc()s and in-kernel kmalloc()
  • split short-lived kmalloc()s from long-lived kmalloc()s
  • split user-size-controlled kmalloc()s from regular kmalloc()s
  • protect ARM vector table as fixed-location kernel target
  • disable kuser helpers on arm
  • add constant-blinding tests to lib/test_bpf.c
  • rename CONFIG_DEBUG_LIST better and default=y
  • create defconfig "make" target for by-default hardened Kconfigs
  • expand use of __ro_after_init, especially in arch/arm64
  • restrict autoloading of kernel modules (like GRKERNSEC_MODHARDEN) (Timgad LSM)
  • set_memory_*() needs __must_check and/or atomicity
  • refactor tasklets to avoid unsigned long argument (WIP: Romain Perier <>, "rperier" on FreeNode)
  • have kfree() (and related) set the pointer to NULL too
  • create per-task stack canary (Done: x86, arm, arm64, powerpc. Needed on s390 and others?)
  • deprecate strcpy() in favor of strscpy()
  • deprecate strlcpy() in favor of strscpy()
  • deprecate strncpy() in favor of strscpy(), strscpy_pad(), or str2mem_pad()
  • fix sizeof_field() vs SIZEOF_FIELD() vs FIELD_SIZEOF() (WIP: Shyam Saini <>)
  • expand use of opt-in mult/div/add/sub overflow wrappers
  • WARN on kfree() of ERR_PTR range (WIP: Shyam Saini <>)
  • add detection for double-reads
  • add FORTIFY_SOURCE checks to strscpy*()
  • add static_branch for iopl removal (and zeroing?)
  • enhance objtool to search for ROP gadgets
  • signed integer overflow detection
  • unsigned integer overflow detection
  • exec brute force detection

Compiler items