Re: eBPF verifier thoughts (Re: [PATCH v15 net-next 00/11] eBPF syscall, verifier, testsuite)

From: Andy Lutomirski
Date: Fri Sep 26 2014 - 16:42:28 EST

On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 1:09 PM, Alexei Starovoitov <ast@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 12:51 PM, Andy Lutomirski <luto@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 12:34 PM, Andy Lutomirski <luto@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> To add one more point:
>> With the current verifier design, it's impossible to write a userspace
>> tool that can take an eBPF program and check it. The verification is
>> far too context-dependent for that to be possible. I won't go so far
>> as to say that a userspace tool needs to *exist*, but I strongly
>> object to exposing a verification algorithm that *precludes* writing
>> such a tool.
> that's just not true.
> why is it not possible?

Because the types of referenced objects aren't encoded in the blob
that a user program loads, unless I'm missing something.

>> I think that the eBPF program format needs to encode all context
>> needed for verification. Then verification should check that the
>> program is compliant with the context and that the context is correct.
>> The former could, in principle, be done in userspace, too.
> one can have maps and other future objects equally
> represented in user space. Nothing stops doing exactly the same
> logic there.

But the eBPF binary doesn't encode this information. In fact, the
caller of an ebpf syscall may not even have access to this

I really think that the information needed to check type safety should
be encapsulated in the program.

>> Here, "context" includes the program type (i.e. what type R1 hasis),
>> the key and value sizes of all referenced maps, the fact that the maps
>> are maps (damnit, "every object implements exactly the same interface
>> and is called a 'map'" is a bad type system*), and possible also
>> things like the intended stack size and any other relevant details
>> about the entry calling convention.
> Andy, I'm not sure where you're going with this.
> Sounds like you want to redesign the whole thing?
> How long it will take?
> Did you consider all the cases I did?
> I think I understand your concerns. What I don't understand
> why you think we cannot address them step by step.
> imo what this does covers a ton of use cases.
> Some futuristic stuff may be better and may be not.
> But here I have it working, tested and proven over many
> use cases, whereas some future unclear stuff will take
> unknown amount of time to redesign...

I think this is addressable as a smallish change on top of your code.
Rather than looking up a map when you need to learn its key and value
size, I think that all you need to do is to look in a program section
for the key and value size (and the fact that it's a map) and confirm
that the referenced map *matches* the stored values.


Andy Lutomirski
AMA Capital Management, LLC
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