Re: [RFC PATCH v2 00/11] x86: Support Intel Key Locker

From: Bae, Chang Seok
Date: Mon May 17 2021 - 18:20:43 EST

On May 17, 2021, at 11:45, Dan Williams <dan.j.williams@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Mon, May 17, 2021 at 11:21 AM Bae, Chang Seok
> <chang.seok.bae@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On May 15, 2021, at 11:01, Andy Lutomirski <luto@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> I certainly understand how KL is valuable in a context where
>>> a verified boot process installs some KL keys that are not subsequently
>>> accessible outside the KL ISA, but Linux does not really work like this.
>> Do you mind elaborating on the concern? I try to understand any issue with
>> PATCH3 [1], specifically.
> If I understand Andy's concern it is the observation that the weakest
> link in this facility is the initial key load. Yes, KL reduces
> exposure after that event, but the key loading process is still
> vulnerable. This question is similar to the concern between the Linux
> "encrypted-keys" and "trusted-keys" interface. The trusted-keys
> interface still has an attack window where the key is unwrapped in
> kernel space to decrypt the sub-keys, but that exposure need not cross
> the user-kernel boundary and can be time-limited to a given PCR state.
> The encrypted-keys interface maintains the private-key material
> outside the kernel where it has increased exposure. KL is effectively
> "encrypted-keys" and Andy is questioning whether this makes KL similar
> to the MKTME vs SGX / TDX situation.

I don’t fully grasp the MKTME vs SGX/TDX background, but LOADIWKEY provides a
hardware randomization option for the initial load. Then, the internal key is
unknown. Nonetheless, if one does not trust this randomization and decides
not to use it, then perhaps unavoidable is the key in memory sometime during

I think Dan just gave an example here, but FWIW, these “encrypted-keys” and
“trusted-keys” are for the kernel keyring service. I wish to clarify the
keyring service itself is not intended usage here. Instead, this series is
intended to focus on the kernel Crypto API, as this technology protects AES
keys during data transformation time.

>>> I'm wondering what people will use it for.
>> Mentioned above.
> I don't think this answers Andy's question. There is a distinction
> between what it can be used for and what people will deploy with it in
> practice given the "encrypted-keys"-like exposure. Clarify the end
> user benefit that motivates the kernel to carry this support.

The end-user of this series will benefit from key protection at data
transformation time and also be provided with matched performance as AES-NI