[libvirt] [Qemu-devel] libvirt/QEMU/SEV interaction

Daniel P. Berrange berrange at redhat.com
Mon Oct 2 09:11:36 UTC 2017

On Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 02:48:45PM -0500, Richard Relph wrote:
> On 9/29/17 2:34 PM, Michael S. Tsirkin wrote:
> > On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 02:06:10PM -0500, Richard Relph wrote:
> > > Whether the "BIOS" is a "static shim" as Michael suggests, or a full BIOS,
> > > or even a BIOS+kernel+initrd is really not too significant. What is
> > > significant is that the GO has a basis for trusting all code that is
> > > imported in to their VM by the CP. And that NONE of the code provided by the
> > > CP is "unknown" and unauditable by the GO. If the CP has a way to inject
> > > code unknown to the GO in to the guest VM, the trust model is broken and
> > > both GO and CP suffer the consequences.
> > 
> > Absolutely.
> > 
> > > When the CP needs to update the BIOS image, they will have to inform the GO
> > > and allow the GO to establish trust in the CP's new BIOS image somehow.
> > 
> > This GO update on every BIOS change is imho is not a workable model. You
> > want something like checking the BIOS signature instead. And since
> > hardware is all hash based, you need the shim to do it in software.
> A BIOS "signed" by the CP doesn't meet the security requirement. It is code
> that is "unknown" to the GO.
> The (legitimate) CP does NOT want to be in that position of trust. If they
> are, then some government somewhere is going to insist that they sign a BIOS
> that allows the government to spy on the GO's VMs, and steal secrets from
> it. Or some hacker admin will do it "for fun".
> How often do large public CPs really change their BIOSes? My sense is that
> large public CPs prefer stability over "latest and greatest".

It is hard to generalize, but from a RHEL POV, we typically do major updates
of the virt stack every ~6 months, and these will include BIOS updates. So if
a cloud vendor is following the RHEL update stream actively that's the kind
of cadence you'd expect.

The gotcha would come if there were out-of-band security updates for BIOS
which caused it to be updated before the 6 month window. Fortunately I've
not see these happen often, so I don't think its a fatal problem.

IOW, I tend to agree with you that this is not really a blocking problem to
the use of SEV in cloud. 

> And, perhaps more importantly, if a CP are able to sell a "more secure" VM,
> one that justifies a higher price per vCPU hour, wouldn't that warrant some
> changes in the "insecure" model being used today?


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