livepatch: Fix subtle race with coming and going modules

There is a notifier that handles live patches for coming and going modules.
It takes klp_mutex lock to avoid races with coming and going patches but
it does not keep the lock all the time. Therefore the following races are

  1. The notifier is called sometime in STATE_MODULE_COMING. The module
     is visible by find_module() in this state all the time. It means that
     new patch can be registered and enabled even before the notifier is
     called. It might create wrong order of stacked patches, see below
     for an example.

   2. New patch could still see the module in the GOING state even after
      the notifier has been called. It will try to initialize the related
      object structures but the module could disappear at any time. There
      will stay mess in the structures. It might even cause an invalid
      memory access.

This patch solves the problem by adding a boolean variable into struct module.
The value is true after the coming and before the going handler is called.
New patches need to be applied when the value is true and they need to ignore
the module when the value is false.

Note that we need to know state of all modules on the system. The races are
related to new patches. Therefore we do not know what modules will get

Also note that we could not simply ignore going modules. The code from the
module could be called even in the GOING state until mod->exit() finishes.
If we start supporting patches with semantic changes between function
calls, we need to apply new patches to any still usable code.
See below for an example.

Finally note that the patch solves only the situation when a new patch is
registered. There are no such problems when the patch is being removed.
It does not matter who disable the patch first, whether the normal
disable_patch() or the module notifier. There is nothing to do
once the patch is disabled.

Alternative solutions:

+ reject new patches when a patched module is coming or going; this is ugly

+ wait with adding new patch until the module leaves the COMING and GOING
  states; this might be dangerous and complicated; we would need to release
  kgr_lock in the middle of the patch registration to avoid a deadlock
  with the coming and going handlers; also we might need a waitqueue for
  each module which seems to be even bigger overhead than the boolean

+ stop modules from entering COMING and GOING states; wait until modules
  leave these states when they are already there; looks complicated; we would
  need to ignore the module that asked to stop the others to avoid a deadlock;
  also it is unclear what to do when two modules asked to stop others and
  both are in COMING state (situation when two new patches are applied)

+ always register/enable new patches and fix up the potential mess (registered
  patches order) in klp_module_init(); this is nasty and prone to regressions
  in the future development

+ add another MODULE_STATE where the kallsyms are visible but the module is not
  used yet; this looks too complex; the module states are checked on "many"

Example of patch stacking breakage:

The notifier could _not_ _simply_ ignore already initialized module objects.
For example, let's have three patches (P1, P2, P3) for functions a() and b()
where a() is from vmcore and b() is from a module M. Something like:

	a()	b()
P1	a1()	b1()
P2	a2()	b2()
P3	a3()	b3(3)

If you load the module M after all patches are registered and enabled.
The ftrace ops for function a() and b() has listed the functions in this

	ops_a->func_stack -> list(a3,a2,a1)
	ops_b->func_stack -> list(b3,b2,b1)

, so the pointer to b3() is the first and will be used.

Then you might have the following scenario. Let's start with state when patches
P1 and P2 are registered and enabled but the module M is not loaded. Then ftrace
ops for b() does not exist. Then we get into the following race:

CPU0					CPU1



  mod->state = MODULE_STATE_COMING;


					# STATE 1


					# STATE 2

The ftrace ops for a() and b() then looks:


	ops_a->func_stack -> list(a3,a2,a1);
	ops_b->func_stack -> list(b3);

	ops_a->func_stack -> list(a3,a2,a1);
	ops_b->func_stack -> list(b2,b1,b3);

therefore, b2() is used for the module but a3() is used for vmcore
because they were the last added.

Example of the race with going modules:

CPU0					CPU1

delete_module()  #SYSCALL

     mod->state = MODULE_STATE_GOING;



					#save place to switch universe

					b()     # from module that is going
					  a()   # from core (patched)


Note that the function b() can be called until we call mod->exit().

If we do not apply patch against b() because it is in MODULE_STATE_GOING,
it will call patched a() with modified semantic and things might get wrong.

[ use one boolean instead of two]
Signed-off-by: Petr Mladek <>
Acked-by: Josh Poimboeuf <>
Acked-by: Rusty Russell <>
Signed-off-by: Jiri Kosina <>
diff --git a/include/linux/module.h b/include/linux/module.h
index b653d7c..7232fde 100644
--- a/include/linux/module.h
+++ b/include/linux/module.h
@@ -344,6 +344,10 @@
 	unsigned long *ftrace_callsites;
+	bool klp_alive;
 	/* What modules depend on me? */
 	struct list_head source_list;
diff --git a/kernel/livepatch/core.c b/kernel/livepatch/core.c
index 01ca088..3f9f1d6 100644
--- a/kernel/livepatch/core.c
+++ b/kernel/livepatch/core.c
@@ -89,16 +89,28 @@
 /* sets obj->mod if object is not vmlinux and module is found */
 static void klp_find_object_module(struct klp_object *obj)
+	struct module *mod;
 	if (!klp_is_module(obj))
-	 * We don't need to take a reference on the module here because we have
-	 * the klp_mutex, which is also taken by the module notifier.  This
-	 * prevents any module from unloading until we release the klp_mutex.
+	 * We do not want to block removal of patched modules and therefore
+	 * we do not take a reference here. The patches are removed by
+	 * a going module handler instead.
-	obj->mod = find_module(obj->name);
+	mod = find_module(obj->name);
+	/*
+	 * Do not mess work of the module coming and going notifiers.
+	 * Note that the patch might still be needed before the going handler
+	 * is called. Module functions can be called even in the GOING state
+	 * until mod->exit() finishes. This is especially important for
+	 * patches that modify semantic of the functions.
+	 */
+	if (mod && mod->klp_alive)
+		obj->mod = mod;
@@ -767,6 +779,7 @@
 		return -EINVAL;
 	obj->state = KLP_DISABLED;
+	obj->mod = NULL;
@@ -961,6 +974,15 @@
+	/*
+	 * Each module has to know that the notifier has been called.
+	 * We never know what module will get patched by a new patch.
+	 */
+	if (action == MODULE_STATE_COMING)
+		mod->klp_alive = true;
+		mod->klp_alive = false;
 	list_for_each_entry(patch, &klp_patches, list) {
 		for (obj = patch->objs; obj->funcs; obj++) {
 			if (!klp_is_module(obj) || strcmp(obj->name, mod->name))