BPF verifier plays a crucial role in securing the system (though less so now that unprivileged BPF is disabled by default in both upstream and SLES), and bugs in the verifier has lead to privilege escalation vulnerabilities in the past (e.g. CVE-2021-3490).
One way to check whether the verifer has bugs to use model checking (a formal verification technique), in other words, build a abstract model of how the verifier operates, and then see if certain condition can occur (e.g. incorrect calculation during value tracking of registers) by giving both the model and condition to a solver.
Goal for this Hackweek
Learn how to use the Z3 Python binding (i.e. Z3Py) to build a model of (part of) the BPF verifier, probably the part that's related to value tracking using tristate numbers (aka tnum), and then check that the algorithm work as intended.
- Formal Methods for the Informal Engineer: Tutorial #1 - The Z3 Theorem Prover and its accompanying notebook is a great introduction into Z3
- Has a section specifically on model checking
- Software Verification and Analysis Using Z3 a great example of using Z3 for model checking
- Sound, Precise, and Fast Abstract Interpretation with Tristate Numbers - existing work that use formal verification to prove that the multiplication helper used for value tracking work as intended
- [PATCH v5 net-next 00/12] bpf: rewrite value tracking in verifier - initial patch set that adds tristate number to the verifier
This project is part of:
Hack Week 21