Exploit Methods/Userspace data usage

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Sometimes an attacker won't be able to control the instruction pointer directly, but they will be able to redirect the dereference a structure or other pointer. In these cases, it is easiest to aim at malicious structures that have been built in userspace to perform the exploitation.

Note that this is a superset that includes [Exploit Methods/Userspace execution|Userspace execution]. If we can protect against userspace access, we'll also be protecting against userspace execution.



  • hardware segmentation: SMAP (x86), PAN (arm, arm64), Domains (arm)
  • emulate memory segmentation via separate page tables, PCID, etc (e.g. PAX_MEMORY_UDEREF)

Right now, the upstream options available for Privileged Access Never (PAN) are:

CPU Feature Name
v7 32-bit LPAE CONFIG_CPU_TTBR0_PAN (Catalin's series)
v8.0 32-bit CONFIG_CPU_TTBR0_PAN
v8.0 64-bit nothing
v8.1 hardware PAN
x86 pre-late-Broadwell nothing
Broadwell+ hardware PAN (SMAP)
s/390 hardware PAN (architectural?)
powerpc nothing?
MIPS nothing?