Re: [PATCH v1 3/7] kernel/fork: always deny write access to current MM exe_file

From: David Hildenbrand
Date: Thu Aug 12 2021 - 08:39:13 EST

On 12.08.21 14:32, Christian Brauner wrote:
On Thu, Aug 12, 2021 at 12:13:44PM +0200, David Hildenbrand wrote:
On 12.08.21 12:05, Christian Brauner wrote:
[+Cc Andrei]

On Thu, Aug 12, 2021 at 10:43:44AM +0200, David Hildenbrand wrote:
We want to remove VM_DENYWRITE only currently only used when mapping the
executable during exec. During exec, we already deny_write_access() the
executable, however, after exec completes the VMAs mapped
with VM_DENYWRITE effectively keeps write access denied via

Let's deny write access when setting the MM exe_file. With this change, we
can remove VM_DENYWRITE for mapping executables.

This represents a minor user space visible change:
sys_prctl(PR_SET_MM_EXE_FILE) can now fail if the file is already
opened writable. Also, after sys_prctl(PR_SET_MM_EXE_FILE), the file

Just for completeness, this also affects PR_SET_MM_MAP when exe_fd is


cannot be opened writable. Note that we can already fail with -EACCES if
the file doesn't have execute permissions.

Signed-off-by: David Hildenbrand <david@xxxxxxxxxx>

The biggest user I know and that I'm involved in is CRIU which heavily
uses PR_SET_MM_MAP (with a fallback to PR_SET_MM_EXE_FILE on older
kernels) during restore. Afair, criu opens the exe fd as an O_PATH
during dump and thus will use the same flag during restore when
opening it. So that should be fine.


However, if I understand the consequences of this change correctly, a
problem could be restoring workloads that hold a writable fd open to
their exe file at dump time which would mean that during restore that fd
would be reopened writable causing CRIU to fail when setting the exe
file for the task to be restored.

If it's their exe file, then the existing VM_DENYWRITE handling would have
forbidden these workloads to open the fd of their exe file writable, right?


At least before doing any PR_SET_MM_MAP/PR_SET_MM_EXE_FILE. But that should
rule out quite a lot of cases we might be worried about, right?

Yes, it rules out the most obvious cases. The problem is really just
that we don't know how common weirder cases are. But that doesn't mean
we shouldn't try and risk it. This is a nice cleanup and playing
/proc/self/exe games isn't super common.

Right, and having the file your executing opened writable isn't something very common as well.

If we really run into problems, we could not protect the new file when issuing PR_SET_MM_MAP/PR_SET_MM_EXE_FILE. But I'd like to avoid that, if possible, because it feels like working around something that never should have worked that way and is quite inconsistent.


David / dhildenb