kexec: add sysctl to disable kexec_load

For general-purpose (i.e.  distro) kernel builds it makes sense to build
with CONFIG_KEXEC to allow end users to choose what kind of things they
want to do with kexec.  However, in the face of trying to lock down a
system with such a kernel, there needs to be a way to disable kexec_load
(much like module loading can be disabled).  Without this, it is too easy
for the root user to modify kernel memory even when CONFIG_STRICT_DEVMEM
and modules_disabled are set.  With this change, it is still possible to
load an image for use later, then disable kexec_load so the image (or lack
of image) can't be altered.

The intention is for using this in environments where "perfect"
enforcement is hard.  Without a verified boot, along with verified
modules, and along with verified kexec, this is trying to give a system a
better chance to defend itself (or at least grow the window of
discoverability) against attack in the face of a privilege escalation.

In my mind, I consider several boot scenarios:

1) Verified boot of read-only verified root fs loading fd-based
   verification of kexec images.
2) Secure boot of writable root fs loading signed kexec images.
3) Regular boot loading kexec (e.g. kcrash) image early and locking it.
4) Regular boot with no control of kexec image at all.

1 and 2 don't exist yet, but will soon once the verified kexec series has
landed.  4 is the state of things now.  The gap between 2 and 4 is too
large, so this change creates scenario 3, a middle-ground above 4 when 2
and 1 are not possible for a system.

Signed-off-by: Kees Cook <>
Acked-by: Rik van Riel <>
Cc: Vivek Goyal <>
Cc: Eric Biederman <>
Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <>
Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <>
4 files changed