Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-virtual (17 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-virtual] How to correctly configure mitigation of CVE-2018-3646 'Foreshadow-NG (VMM)' on Xen Dom0 host?
On 4/15/19 3:08 AM, Dario Faggioli wrote:

Not sure yet why I'm seeing UNKNOWN here,

I haven't checked the source code but that's, most likely, because the
checked tries to figure out whether the Linux kernel, on top of the
hardware where it's running, has the capability to --let's say-- issue
the L1D-Flush instructions, without taking into account the fact that
you may be running inside a Xen (PV) guest.

In fact, if you run this check from within a Xen dom0 (which you are,
aren't you?),

Yes, I am exec'ing this at the Dom0 shell.

you're inside a PV-guest, on top of Xen, and a PV-guest
can't do the L1D flush (basically because that would be pointless for

Which, IIUC, would be the case for ANY Xen PV-guest as well?

I do note that, cursorily testing the checker in a (hosted elsewhere) KVM guest, I see:

STATUS: NOT VULNERABLE (this system is not running an hypervisor)

which is a different result, though still in a Hypervisor-host's VM guest ...

So, this is all technically correct.
(2) Hardware-backed L1D flush supported: NO

Again, this is correct. As far as the dom0 PV kernel knows and see, the
hardware is not capable of that. That's because the view of the
hardware it has is filtered by Xen, and Xen let it believe (and that's
on purpose) that this is the situation.

even though

(XEN) [00000028c19f6e50] Hardware features: IBRS/IBPB STIBP

Exactly, and this is what is important to have in the logs and to
check, in order to know whether you have the L1TF mitigations in place.

To be clear, is the *existence* of "L1D_FLUSH" in that 'Hardware Features:' log line evidence that the feature is, in fact, *in use* as a Spectre mitigation?

What's missing in my config to mitigate/remove the CVE-2018-3646

There's nothing you're missing, as far as I can tell. What the problem
seems to be, is that does not treat the
case of this check being made within a Xen (PV) guest properly.

I'll check whether this is actually the case, and I'll to see about
fixing that, as soon as I find a minute.


Oh, BTW, you know this already, but let me also add this: if you are
running only PV guests, with the settings you've shown you are using,
you are indeed safe against L1TF.

Yep. And I do ... _mostly_. On occassion, I do run HVM guest, so fussing with this.

Generally, I'd like to get a handle on all the mitigations, in all use cases, and then make any decisions about performance-vs-security ...

If you are running HVM guests too, the only way to be totally and
absolutely safe is, for now, to disable hyperthreading (and that's the
case for KVM too, FWIW).

Sure. With the available 'compromise' of leaving it enabled, if one makes the call that the host/guest are under sufficiently secure control ...

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