Bug 1458874 (CVE-2017-10916, xsa220) - CVE-2017-10916 xsa220 xen: x86: PKRU and BND* leakage between vCPU-s (XSA-220)
Summary: CVE-2017-10916 xsa220 xen: x86: PKRU and BND* leakage between vCPU-s (XSA-220)
Alias: CVE-2017-10916, xsa220
Product: Security Response
Classification: Other
Component: vulnerability
Version: unspecified
Hardware: All
OS: Linux
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Red Hat Product Security
QA Contact:
Depends On: 1463247
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 2017-06-05 17:43 UTC by Adam Mariš
Modified: 2021-02-17 02:04 UTC (History)
13 users (show)

Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: If docs needed, set a value
Doc Text:
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2017-08-24 09:21:44 UTC

Attachments (Terms of Use)

Description Adam Mariš 2017-06-05 17:43:12 UTC

Memory Protection Extensions (MPX) and Protection Key (PKU) are features in
newer processors, whose state is intended to be per-thread and context
switched along with all other XSAVE state.

Xen's vCPU context switch code would save and restore the state only
if the guest had set the relevant XSTATE enable bits.  However,
surprisingly, the use of these features is not dependent (PKU) or may
not be dependent (MPX) on having the relevant XSTATE bits enabled.

VMs which use MPX or PKU, and context switch the state manually rather
than via XSAVE, will have the state leak between vCPUs (possibly,
between vCPUs in different guests).  This in turn corrupts state in
the destination vCPU, and hence may lead to weakened protections

Experimentally, MPX appears not to make any interaction with BND*
state if BNDCFGS.EN is set but XCR0.BND{CSR,REGS} are clear.  However,
the SDM is not clear in this case; therefore MPX is included in this
advisory as a precaution.


There is an information leak, of control information mentioning
pointers into guest address space; this may weaken address space
randomisation and make other attacks easier.

When an innocent guest acquires leaked state, it will run with
incorrect protection state.  This could weaken the protection intended
by the MPX or PKU features, making other attacks easier which would
otherwise be excluded; and the incorrect state could also cause a
denial of service by preventing legitimate accesses.


Xen 4.4 and earlier are not vulnerable, as they do not use or expose
MPX or PKU to guests.  Xen 4.5 and later expose MPX to guests.  Xen
4.7 and later expose PKU to guests.  Therefore, Xen 4.5 and later are

Only x86 hardware implementing the MPX or PKU features is vulnerable.
At the time of writing, these are Intel Skylake (and later) processors
for MPX, and Intel Skylake Server (and later) processors for PKU.

ARM hardware is not vulnerable.

The vulnerability is only exposed to HVM guests.  PV guests cannot
exploit the vulnerability.

Vulnerable guest operating systems
- ----------------------------------

Guests which use XSAVE for context switching PKU and MPX state are not
vulnerable to inbound corruption caused by another malicious domain.

With respect to PKU, the remaining outbound information leak is of no
conceivable consequence.  And, experimentally, MPX does not appear to
have a real vulnerability, even though the CPU documentation is not

Therefore we think that these guests (those which use XSAVE) are not

Linux uses XSAVE, so is therefore not vulnerable.


Passing "pku=0" on the hypervisor command line will avoid the PKU
vulnerability (by not advertising the feature to guests).

There is no corresponding option for the probably-theoretical MPX

External References:



Name: the Xen project
Upstream: Andrew Cooper (Citrix)

Comment 1 Adam Mariš 2017-06-20 12:35:49 UTC
Created xen tracking bugs for this issue:

Affects: fedora-all [bug 1463247]

Note You need to log in before you can comment on or make changes to this bug.