Typed Words

Espen Skoglund esk at ira.uka.de
Mon Apr 30 12:10:57 CEST 2007

F[Jonathan S Shapiro]
> This is a very small issue.
> If I understand the L4 specifications correctly, typed words
> provided by the sender are copied to the recipient. This allows the
> recipient to know what was sent.

> An observation:

> The transfer of typed words exposes sender-side address values to
> the receiver. This is a small security violation, since there is no
> valid use that the receiver can make of this information. It is
> probably not an important issue, except that we noticed an
> interaction with cross-model calls.

> If the IPC transport replaces these addresses with zero, it becomes
> possible to re-encode a 64-bit typed item word into a 32-bit typed
> item word without losing any useful information.

> This appears (to us) to be useful in the implementation of IPCs that
> cross from (e.g.) 64-bit sender to 32-bit receiver.

> It does not appear to us that the receiver loses any useful
> information if the sender address is zeroed or truncated. Have we
> missed something?

No, not that I can see anyway.  We had the same discussion during the
spec writeup and concluded that the appropriate thing was for the
address fields to be undefined on the receiver side.  I.e., the kernel
could either leave them as-is (e.g., if the trust relationship allows
for it) or zero them.  I don't think we actually spelled this out in
the spec, though.


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