blob: bf28ac0401f38a0c7bd5cec975c1bf5c76af34a0 [file] [log] [blame]
.. SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0
Memory Protection Keys
Memory Protection Keys provide a mechanism for enforcing page-based
protections, but without requiring modification of the page tables when an
application changes protection domains.
Pkeys Userspace (PKU) is a feature which can be found on:
* Intel server CPUs, Skylake and later
* Intel client CPUs, Tiger Lake (11th Gen Core) and later
* Future AMD CPUs
Pkeys work by dedicating 4 previously Reserved bits in each page table entry to
a "protection key", giving 16 possible keys.
Protections for each key are defined with a per-CPU user-accessible register
(PKRU). Each of these is a 32-bit register storing two bits (Access Disable
and Write Disable) for each of 16 keys.
Being a CPU register, PKRU is inherently thread-local, potentially giving each
thread a different set of protections from every other thread.
There are two instructions (RDPKRU/WRPKRU) for reading and writing to the
register. The feature is only available in 64-bit mode, even though there is
theoretically space in the PAE PTEs. These permissions are enforced on data
access only and have no effect on instruction fetches.
There are 3 system calls which directly interact with pkeys::
int pkey_alloc(unsigned long flags, unsigned long init_access_rights)
int pkey_free(int pkey);
int pkey_mprotect(unsigned long start, size_t len,
unsigned long prot, int pkey);
Before a pkey can be used, it must first be allocated with
pkey_alloc(). An application calls the WRPKRU instruction
directly in order to change access permissions to memory covered
with a key. In this example WRPKRU is wrapped by a C function
called pkey_set().
int real_prot = PROT_READ|PROT_WRITE;
pkey = pkey_alloc(0, PKEY_DISABLE_WRITE);
ret = pkey_mprotect(ptr, PAGE_SIZE, real_prot, pkey);
... application runs here
Now, if the application needs to update the data at 'ptr', it can
gain access, do the update, then remove its write access::
pkey_set(pkey, 0); // clear PKEY_DISABLE_WRITE
*ptr = foo; // assign something
pkey_set(pkey, PKEY_DISABLE_WRITE); // set PKEY_DISABLE_WRITE again
Now when it frees the memory, it will also free the pkey since it
is no longer in use::
munmap(ptr, PAGE_SIZE);
.. note:: pkey_set() is a wrapper for the RDPKRU and WRPKRU instructions.
An example implementation can be found in
The kernel attempts to make protection keys consistent with the
behavior of a plain mprotect(). For instance if you do this::
mprotect(ptr, size, PROT_NONE);
you can expect the same effects with protection keys when doing this::
pkey_mprotect(ptr, size, PROT_READ|PROT_WRITE, pkey);
That should be true whether something() is a direct access to 'ptr'
*ptr = foo;
or when the kernel does the access on the application's behalf like
with a read()::
read(fd, ptr, 1);
The kernel will send a SIGSEGV in both cases, but si_code will be set
to SEGV_PKERR when violating protection keys versus SEGV_ACCERR when
the plain mprotect() permissions are violated.