BSD News 08/01/2018

Last week in BSD

News: DragonFly BSD, NetBSD, BSDSec, HardenedBSD, Meltdown, Spectre, MirOS, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, BSDnow, 
Releases: HardenedBSD


NetBSD Security Advisory 2018-002: Local DoS in virecover
NetBSD Security Advisory 2018-001: Several vulnerabilities in context handling 


HardenedBSD-stable 10-STABLE v1000050.1

Downloads here, release notes here.


OpenBSD Response to the "Meltdown" Vulnerability

A message to tech@ from Philip Guenther (guenther@) provides the first public information from developers regarding the OpenBSD response to the recently announced CPU vulnerabilities:

 So, yes, we the OpenBSD developers are not totally asleep and a handful of
us are working out how to deal with Intel's fuck-up aka the Meltdown
attack.  While we have the advantage of less complexity in this area (e.g.,
no 32bit-on-64bit compat), there's still a pile of details to work through
about what has to be *always* in the page tables vs what can/should/must be
Read it.

Meltdown and Spectre and DragonFly

By now you’ve probably heard of the Meltdown/Spectre attacks.  (background rumors, technical note)  Matthew Dillon’s put together a Meltdown mitigation in DragonFly, done in four commits.
It’s turned off and on by the sysctl machdep.isolated_user_pmap – and defaults to on for Intel CPUs.  Buildworld tests show about a 4-5% performance hit, but that’s only one form of activity, measured, so there will surely be other effects.
Note that Spectre is not mitigated by this commit series, and as I understand it, cannot be realistically fixed in software.
Update: Matthew Dillon posted a summary to users@.

MirOS - The Intelpocalypse

The unveiling of the three new CPU bug classes, collected in the two brandbugs “Meltdown” and “Spectre”, has mostly shocked the BSDs; I’ve got it on some authority that even FreeBSD was not informed ahead of time, left alone the others. Thanks to laffer1 from MidnightBSD for a couple of heads-up warnings into our direction!
Here’s what I could gather until now (please do correct me if I’m wrong):
Meltdown is specific to Intel® CPUs with out-of-order execution, that is, all P6-class (Pentium Pro/MMX, Pentium Ⅱ, but not Pentium Ⅰ/MMX) or newer (except old Atom) CPUs. It appears to allow user processes to read kernel memory, but not across VMs, nor to attack a hypervisor. A variant for ARM exists but AMD’s x86 CPUs are supposedly safe. The KAISER/FUCKWIT/UASS/KPTI patches for Linux fix this, at huge performance cost on x86, not so much on ARM, and no cost for unaffected CPU models (runtime detected).
Spectre affects x86, ARM, POWER CPUs and possibly others. I’ve not yet found information on whether it is also limited to CPUs with out-of-order executions, but it seems likely. SPARC CPUs might be safe; Solaris/SPARC64 is safe due to the way its memory addressing works. If the OOO execution assumption is true, 80486 and P5 class x86 CPUs are also safe. This one does allow cross-VM and hypervisor attacks, so if the bare metal CPU is vulnerable, SOL. There does not yet seem to be a generic fix; some hint at having to patch the compiler and recompile everything with a workaround that has a performance cost, even if the CPU is not affected, or was fixed with a microcode update. AMD’s x86 CPUs are partially hit, one of the variants does not work on them.
“CERT recommends throwing away your CPU and buying an non-vulnerable one” (thanks to El Reg), but nobody states which CPUs are not vulnerable.
At the present time, we suggest any MirBSD/i386 instances that run on any CPU other than an 80486 or P5-class (Pentium Ⅰ or a non-PPro MMX) to be restricted to single user or trusted user access only, and no untrusted software including ECMAscript to be run on them.
Watch this space for updates. Oh, and, if you know what you’re (and I’m) talking about, please, again, do provide me with information necessary to provide those updates, both to MirBSD and to this space.

FreeBSD About the Meltdown and Spectre attacks

FreeBSD was made aware of the problems in late December 2017. We're working with CPU vendors and the published papers on these attacks to mitigate them on FreeBSD. Due to the fundamental nature of the attacks, no estimate is yet available for the publication date of patches.

HardenedBSD announcing the 2018 donation run

We've just published our goals for 2018. We've got a number of new goals planned, some that require new infrastructure. In 2018, we plan to migrate at least 90% of our infrastructure to a single data center in addition to expanding out existing infrastructure.

Hello, HelBUG

More user group news: Helsinki, Finland, has a new BSD User Group: HelBUG.  First meeting is February 7th.  There’s no mailing list/site that I know of, yet.

The long core dump | BSD Now 227

We walk through dumping a PS4 kernel in only 6 days, tell you the news that NetBSD 7.1.1 has been released, details on how to run FreeBSD on a Thinkpad T470 & there’s progress in OpenBSD’s pledge.

Code stuff

NetBSD: the LLVM Memory Sanitizer support work in progress
In Other BSDs for 2018/01/06



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