Re: [PATCH RFC v3] random: getrandom(2): optionally block when CRNG is uninitialized

From: Ahmed S. Darwish
Date: Sun Sep 15 2019 - 06:56:26 EST

On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 12:40:27PM +0200, Willy Tarreau wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 12:02:01PM +0200, Ahmed S. Darwish wrote:
> > On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 11:30:57AM +0200, Willy Tarreau wrote:
> > > On Sun, Sep 15, 2019 at 10:59:07AM +0200, Lennart Poettering wrote:
> > > > If Linux lets all that stuff run with awful entropy then
> > > > you pretend things where secure while they actually aren't. It's much
> > > > better to fail loudly in that case, I am sure.
> > >
> > > This is precisely what this change permits : fail instead of block
> > > by default, and let applications decide based on the use case.
> > >
> >
> > Unfortunately, not exactly.
> >
> > Linus didn't want getrandom to return an error code / "to fail" in
> > that case, but to silently return CRNG-uninitialized /dev/urandom
> > data, to avoid user-space even working around the error code through
> > busy-loops.
> But with this EINVAL you have the information that it only filled
> the buffer with whatever it could, right ? At least that was the
> last point I manage to catch in the discussion. Otherwise if it's
> totally silent, I fear that it will reintroduce the problem in a
> different form (i.e. libc will say "our randoms are not reliable
> anymore, let us work around this and produce blocking, solid randoms
> again to help all our users").

V1 of the patch I posted did indeed return -EINVAL. Linus then
suggested that this might make still some user-space act smart and
just busy-loop around that, basically blocking the boot again:

So it was then requested to actually return what /dev/urandom would
return, so that user-space has no way whatsoever in knowing if
getrandom has failed. Then, it's the job of system integratos / BSP
builders to fix the inspect the big fat WARN on the kernel and fix

This is the core of Lennart's critqueue of V3 above.

> > I understand the rationale behind that, of course, and this is what
> > I've done so far in the V3 RFC.
> >
> > Nonetheless, this _will_, for example, make systemd-random-seed(8)
> > save week seeds under /var/lib/systemd/random-seed, since the kernel
> > didn't inform it about such weakness at all..
> Then I am confused because I understood that the goal was to return
> EINVAL or anything equivalent in which case the userspace knows what
> it has to deal with :-/

Yeah, the discussion moved a bit beyond that.