Mill Computing, Inc. Forums The Mill Architecture Security Reply To: Security

Ivan Godard
Keymaster
Post count: 629

We are working on a reference port of Linux/L4 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L4_microkernel). Other implementers will have their own approach; Windows on a Mill is an interesting idea 🙂

Turfs, threads, and portals (other than the first, created by the hardware) are built by trusted services, principally the loader. The critical steps include allocating turf and thread ids and blessing a hunk of address spaces with the Portal permission. Family members vary in the hardware help for these steps, but all unsafe parts of the work are done via MMIO, so only those with rights to the relevant MMIO regions can do it.

The software that does these steps will presumably have some notion of quantum, to prevent “portal bombs” such as you suggest. However, that’s all policy, and so not defined by the Mill architecture.

We have had no problem mapping Mill security to the C API. The general strategy is to use a user-space shim that is linked right into the app. The app calls the shim, and the shim does the portal call, any necessary passing of arguments, and so on. However, we are far from done with the work and may find a gotcha as we get further. If so we’ll deal with it then.

Callbacks are handled much like linking of dynamic libraries (.so files). hen you link to a dynlib on a conventional system, the app must itself export its callback entry points so the linker can fix up the calls in the library just like it fixes up the calls in the all to point to the entry points in the library; thgis is a fairly sophisticated use of the linker, but well known and quite routine.

On a Mill you do the same thing, only the exported entries are made into portal by the loader, rather than rewriting the code addresses. However, if you are a JIT so the entry address isn’t known at load time then the entry portals (in either direction) must point to trampoline code at fixed addresses, where the trampoline indirects to the moveable entry point. It costs one more cycle in and out, so no buig deal.

There’s currently no way to grants something unless you have the same access yourself. It’s doable – another permission bit – but we have no use case that needs it.

Ivan

  • This reply was modified 8 years, 6 months ago by  Ivan Godard.