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Xen Security Advisory CVE-2017-8905 / XSA-215
possible memory corruption via failsafe callback
UPDATES IN VERSION 3
Under certain special conditions Xen reports an exception resulting
from returning to guest mode not via ordinary exception entry points,
but via a so call failsafe callback. This callback, unlike exception
handlers, takes 4 extra arguments on the stack (the saved data
selectors DS, ES, FS, and GS). Prior to placing exception or failsafe
callback frames on the guest kernel stack, Xen checks the linear
address range to not overlap with hypervisor space. The range spanned
by that check was mistakenly not covering these extra 4 slots.
A malicious or buggy 64-bit PV guest may be able to modify part of a
physical memory page not belonging to it, potentially allowing for all
of privilege escalation, host or other guest crashes, and information
64-bit Xen versions 4.6 and earlier are vulnerable. Xen versions 4.7
and later are not vulnerable.
Only x86 systems are affected. ARM systems are not vulnerable.
Only x86 systems with physical memory extending to a configuration
dependent boundary (5Tb or 3.5Tb) may be affected. Whether they are
actually affected depends on actual physical memory layout.
The vulnerability is only exposed to 64-bit PV guests. HVM guests and
32-bit PV guests can't exploit the vulnerability.
Running only HVM or 32-bit PV guests will avoid the vulnerability.
The vulnerability can be avoided if the guest kernel is controlled by
the host rather than guest administrator, provided that further steps
are taken to prevent the guest administrator from loading code into
the kernel (e.g. by disabling loadable modules etc) or from using
other mechanisms which allow them to run code at kernel privilege.
This issue was discovered by Jann Horn of Google Project Zero.
Applying the attached patch resolves this issue.
xsa215.patch Xen 4.6.x, Xen 4.5.x
$ sha256sum xsa215*
DEPLOYMENT DURING EMBARGO
Deployment of the patches and/or mitigations described above (or
others which are substantially similar) is permitted during the
embargo, even on public-facing systems with untrusted guest users and
But: Distribution of updated software is prohibited (except to other
members of the predisclosure list).
Predisclosure list members who wish to deploy significantly different
patches and/or mitigations, please contact the Xen Project Security
(Note: this during-embargo deployment notice is retained in
post-embargo publicly released Xen Project advisories, even though it
is then no longer applicable. This is to enable the community to have
oversight of the Xen Project Security Team's decisionmaking.)
For more information about permissible uses of embargoed information,
consult the Xen Project community's agreed Security Policy:
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