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SubjectRE: [patch 00/38] x86/retbleed: Call depth tracking mitigation
On Sun, Jul 17 2022 at 09:45, David Laight wrote:
> From: Thomas Gleixner
>> 3) Utilize the retbleed return thunk mechanism by making the jump
>> target run-time configurable. Add the accounting counterpart and
>> stuff RSB on underflow in that alternate implementation.
> What happens to indirect calls?
> The above would imply that they miss the function entry thunk, but
> get the return one.
> Won't this lead to mis-counting of the RSB?

That's accounted in the indirect call thunk. This mitigation requires
retpolines enabled.

> I also thought that retpolines would trash the return stack?

No. They prevent that the CPU misspeculates an indirect call due to a
mistrained BTB.

> Using a single retpoline thunk would pretty much ensure that
> they are never correctly predicted from the BTB, but it only
> gives a single BTB entry that needs 'setting up' to get mis-
> prediction.


The intra function call in the retpoline is of course adding a RSB entry
which points to the speculation trap, but that gets popped immediately
after that by the return which goes to the called function.

But that does not prevent the RSB underflow problem. As I described the
RSB is a stack with depth 16. Call pushs, ret pops. So if speculation is
ahead and emptied the RSB while speculating down the rets then the next
speculated RET will fall back to other prediction mechanism which is
what the SKL specific retbleed variant exploits via BHB mistraining.

> I'm also sure I managed to infer from a document of instruction
> timings and architectures that some x86 cpu actually used the BTB
> for normal conditional jumps?

That's relevant to the problem at hand in which way?



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