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Re: [Xen-devel] [PATCH v2] IOMMU: make DMA containment of quarantined devices optional

On 13.12.2019 15:24, Jürgen Groß wrote:
> On 13.12.19 15:11, Jan Beulich wrote:
>> On 13.12.2019 14:46, Jürgen Groß wrote:
>>> On 13.12.19 14:38, Jan Beulich wrote:
>>>> On 13.12.2019 14:31, Jürgen Groß wrote:
>>>>> Maybe I have misunderstood the current state, but I thought that it
>>>>> would just silently hide quirky devices without imposing a security
>>>>> risk. We would not learn which devices are quirky, but OTOH I doubt
>>>>> we'd get many reports about those in case your patch goes in.
>>>> We don't want or need such reports, that's not the point. The
>>>> security risk comes from the quirkiness of the devices - admins
>>>> may wrongly think all is well and expose quirky devices to not
>>>> sufficiently trusted guests. (I say this fully realizing that
>>>> exposing devices to untrusted guests is almost always a certain
>>>> level of risk.)
>>> Do we _know_ those devices are problematic from security standpoint?
>>> Normally the IOMMU should do the isolation just fine. If it doesn't
>>> then its not the quirky device which is problematic, but the IOMMU.
>>> I thought the problem was that the quirky devices would not stop all
>>> (read) DMA even when being unassigned from the guest resulting in
>>> fatal IOMMU faults. The dummy page should stop those faults to happen
>>> resulting in a more stable system.
>> IOMMU faults by themselves are not impacting stability (they will
>> add processing overhead, yes). The problem, according to Paul's
>> description, is that the occurrence of at least some forms of IOMMU
>> faults (not present ones as it seems, as opposed to permission
>> violation ones) is fatal to certain systems. Irrespective of the
>> sink page used after de-assignment a guest can arrange for IOMMU
>> faults to occur even while it still has the device assigned. Hence
>> it is important for the admin to know that their system (not the
>> the particular device) behaves in this undesirable way.
> So how does the admin learn this? Its not as if your patch would result
> in a system crash or hang all the time, right? This would be the case
> only if there either is a malicious (on purpose or due to a bug) guest
> which gets the device assigned, or if there happens to be a pending DMA
> operation when the device gets unassigned.

I didn't claim the change would cover all cases. All I am claiming
is that it increases the chances of admins becoming aware of reasons
not to pass through devices to certain guests.


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