BACKPORT: mm: mmap: add new /proc tunable for mmap_base ASLR

Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) provides a barrier to
exploitation of user-space processes in the presence of security
vulnerabilities by making it more difficult to find desired code/data
which could help an attack.  This is done by adding a random offset to
the location of regions in the process address space, with a greater
range of potential offset values corresponding to better protection/a
larger search-space for brute force, but also to greater potential for

The offset added to the mmap_base address, which provides the basis for
the majority of the mappings for a process, is set once on process exec
in arch_pick_mmap_layout() and is done via hard-coded per-arch values,
which reflect, hopefully, the best compromise for all systems.  The
trade-off between increased entropy in the offset value generation and
the corresponding increased variability in address space fragmentation
is not absolute, however, and some platforms may tolerate higher amounts
of entropy.  This patch introduces both new Kconfig values and a sysctl
interface which may be used to change the amount of entropy used for
offset generation on a system.

The direct motivation for this change was in response to the
libstagefright vulnerabilities that affected Android, specifically to
information provided by Google's project zero at:

The attack presented therein, by Google's project zero, specifically
targeted the limited randomness used to generate the offset added to the
mmap_base address in order to craft a brute-force-based attack.
Concretely, the attack was against the mediaserver process, which was
limited to respawning every 5 seconds, on an arm device.  The hard-coded
8 bits used resulted in an average expected success rate of defeating
the mmap ASLR after just over 10 minutes (128 tries at 5 seconds a
piece).  With this patch, and an accompanying increase in the entropy
value to 16 bits, the same attack would take an average expected time of
over 45 hours (32768 tries), which makes it both less feasible and more
likely to be noticed.

The introduced Kconfig and sysctl options are limited by per-arch
minimum and maximum values, the minimum of which was chosen to match the
current hard-coded value and the maximum of which was chosen so as to
give the greatest flexibility without generating an invalid mmap_base
address, generally a 3-4 bits less than the number of bits in the
user-space accessible virtual address space.

When decided whether or not to change the default value, a system
developer should consider that mmap_base address could be placed
anywhere up to 2^(value) bits away from the non-randomized location,
which would introduce variable-sized areas above and below the mmap_base
address such that the maximum vm_area_struct size may be reduced,
preventing very large allocations.

This patch (of 4):

ASLR only uses as few as 8 bits to generate the random offset for the
mmap base address on 32 bit architectures.  This value was chosen to
prevent a poorly chosen value from dividing the address space in such a
way as to prevent large allocations.  This may not be an issue on all
platforms.  Allow the specification of a minimum number of bits so that
platforms desiring greater ASLR protection may determine where to place
the trade-off.

Signed-off-by: Daniel Cashman <>
Cc: Russell King <>
Acked-by: Kees Cook <>
Cc: Ingo Molnar <>
Cc: Jonathan Corbet <>
Cc: Don Zickus <>
Cc: Eric W. Biederman <>
Cc: Heinrich Schuchardt <>
Cc: Josh Poimboeuf <>
Cc: Kirill A. Shutemov <>
Cc: Naoya Horiguchi <>
Cc: Andrea Arcangeli <>
Cc: Mel Gorman <>
Cc: Thomas Gleixner <>
Cc: David Rientjes <>
Cc: Mark Salyzyn <>
Cc: Jeff Vander Stoep <>
Cc: Nick Kralevich <>
Cc: Catalin Marinas <>
Cc: Will Deacon <>
Cc: "H. Peter Anvin" <>
Cc: Hector Marco-Gisbert <>
Cc: Borislav Petkov <>
Cc: Ralf Baechle <>
Cc: Heiko Carstens <>
Cc: Martin Schwidefsky <>
Cc: Benjamin Herrenschmidt <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>

Bug: 27796957
Patchset: ASLR sysctl

(cherry picked from commit d07e22597d1d355829b7b18ac19afa912cf758d1)
Signed-off-by: Kees Cook <>
Change-Id: I4aaf45213e0a2ea9dcdac9462c081d6458245790
5 files changed