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SubjectRe: [PATCH 1/9] Known exploit detection

* Ryan Mallon <> wrote:

> On 13/12/13 08:13, Kees Cook wrote:
> > On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 11:06 AM, Theodore Ts'o <> wrote:
> >> On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 05:52:24PM +0100, wrote:
> >>> From: Vegard Nossum <>
> >>>
> >>> The idea is simple -- since different kernel versions are vulnerable to
> >>> different root exploits, hackers most likely try multiple exploits before
> >>> they actually succeed.
> >
> > I like this idea. It serves a few purposes, not the least of which is
> > very clearly marking in code where we've had problems, regardless of
> > the fact that it reports badness to the system owner. And I think
> > getting any additional notifications about bad behavior is a nice idea
> > too.
> Though, if an attacker is running through a series of exploits, and
> one eventually succeeds then the first thing to do would be to clean
> traces of the _exploit() notifications from the syslog. [...]

There are several solutions to that:


Critical sites use remote logging over a fast LAN, so a successful
exploit would have to zap the remote logging daemon pretty quickly
before the log message goes out over the network.


Some sites also log to append-only media [such as a printer] or other
append-only storage interfaces - which cannot be manipulated from the
attacked system alone after a successful break-in.


In future the exploit() code could trigger actual active defensive
measures, such as immediately freezing all tasks of that UID and
blocking further fork()s/exec()s of that UID.

Depending on how critical the security of the system is, such active
measures might still be a preferable outcome even if there's a chance
of false positives. (Such active measures that freeze the UID will
also help with forensics, if the attack is indeed real.)

> [...] Since running through a series of exploits is pretty quick,
> this can probably all be done before the sysadmin ever notices.

It's not necessarily the sysadmin the attacker is racing against, but
against append-only logging and other defensive measures - which too
are programs.

> The _exploit() notifications could also be used to spam the syslogs.
> Although they are individually ratelimited, if there are enough
> _exploit() markers in the kernel then an annoying person can cycle
> through them all to generate large amounts of useless syslog.

AFAICS they are globally rate-limited, just like many other
attacker-triggerable printk()s the kernel may generate.



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