[RFC PATCH] audit: improve audit queue handling when "audit=1" on cmdline

Paul Moore paul at paul-moore.com
Wed Jan 19 01:26:28 UTC 2022

When an admin enables audit at early boot via the "audit=1" kernel
command line the audit queue behavior is slightly different; the
audit subsystem goes to greater lengths to avoid dropping records,
which unfortunately can result in problems when the audit daemon is
forcibly stopped for an extended period of time.

This patch makes a number of changes designed to improve the audit
queuing behavior so that leaving the audit daemon in a stopped state
for an extended period does not cause a significant impact to the

- kauditd_send_queue() is now limited to looping through the
  passed queue only once per call.  This not only prevents the
  function from looping indefinitely when records are returned
  to the current queue, it also allows any recovery handling in
  kauditd_thread() to take place when kauditd_send_queue()

- Transient netlink send errors seen as -EAGAIN now cause the
  record to be returned to the retry queue instead of going to
  the hold queue.  The intention of the hold queue is to store,
  perhaps for an extended period of time, the events which led
  up to the audit daemon going offline.  The retry queue remains
  a temporary queue intended to protect against transient issues
  between the kernel and the audit daemon.

- The retry queue is now limited by the audit_backlog_limit
  setting, the same as the other queues.  This allows admins
  to bound the size of all of the audit queues on the system.

- kauditd_rehold_skb() now returns records to the end of the
  hold queue to ensure ordering is preserved in the face of
  recent changes to kauditd_send_queue().

Cc: stable at vger.kernel.org
Fixes: 5b52330bbfe63 ("audit: fix auditd/kernel connection state tracking")
Fixes: f4b3ee3c85551 ("audit: improve robustness of the audit queue handling")
Reported-by: Gaosheng Cui <cuigaosheng1 at huawei.com>
Signed-off-by: Paul Moore <paul at paul-moore.com>
 kernel/audit.c |   60 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++------------------
 1 file changed, 41 insertions(+), 19 deletions(-)

diff --git a/kernel/audit.c b/kernel/audit.c
index e4bbe2c70c26..c45d3fe61466 100644
--- a/kernel/audit.c
+++ b/kernel/audit.c
@@ -541,20 +541,22 @@ static void kauditd_printk_skb(struct sk_buff *skb)
  * kauditd_rehold_skb - Handle a audit record send failure in the hold queue
  * @skb: audit record
+ * @error: error code (unused)
  * Description:
  * This should only be used by the kauditd_thread when it fails to flush the
  * hold queue.
-static void kauditd_rehold_skb(struct sk_buff *skb)
+static void kauditd_rehold_skb(struct sk_buff *skb, __always_unused int error)
-	/* put the record back in the queue at the same place */
-	skb_queue_head(&audit_hold_queue, skb);
+	/* put the record back in the queue */
+	skb_queue_tail(&audit_hold_queue, skb);
  * kauditd_hold_skb - Queue an audit record, waiting for auditd
  * @skb: audit record
+ * @error: error code
  * Description:
  * Queue the audit record, waiting for an instance of auditd.  When this
@@ -564,19 +566,31 @@ static void kauditd_rehold_skb(struct sk_buff *skb)
  * and queue it, if we have room.  If we want to hold on to the record, but we
  * don't have room, record a record lost message.
-static void kauditd_hold_skb(struct sk_buff *skb)
+static void kauditd_hold_skb(struct sk_buff *skb, int error)
 	/* at this point it is uncertain if we will ever send this to auditd so
 	 * try to send the message via printk before we go any further */
 	/* can we just silently drop the message? */
-	if (!audit_default) {
-		kfree_skb(skb);
-		return;
+	if (!audit_default)
+		goto drop;
+	/* the hold queue is only for when the daemon goes away completely,
+	 * not -EAGAIN failures; if we are in a -EAGAIN state requeue the
+	 * record on the retry queue unless it's full, in which case drop it
+	 */
+	if (error == -EAGAIN) {
+		if (!audit_backlog_limit ||
+		    skb_queue_len(&audit_retry_queue) < audit_backlog_limit) {
+			skb_queue_tail(&audit_retry_queue, skb);
+			return;
+		}
+		audit_log_lost("kauditd retry queue overflow");
+		goto drop;
-	/* if we have room, queue the message */
+	/* if we have room in the hold queue, queue the message */
 	if (!audit_backlog_limit ||
 	    skb_queue_len(&audit_hold_queue) < audit_backlog_limit) {
 		skb_queue_tail(&audit_hold_queue, skb);
@@ -585,24 +599,30 @@ static void kauditd_hold_skb(struct sk_buff *skb)
 	/* we have no other options - drop the message */
 	audit_log_lost("kauditd hold queue overflow");
  * kauditd_retry_skb - Queue an audit record, attempt to send again to auditd
  * @skb: audit record
+ * @error: error code (unused)
  * Description:
  * Not as serious as kauditd_hold_skb() as we still have a connected auditd,
  * but for some reason we are having problems sending it audit records so
  * queue the given record and attempt to resend.
-static void kauditd_retry_skb(struct sk_buff *skb)
+static void kauditd_retry_skb(struct sk_buff *skb, __always_unused int error)
-	/* NOTE: because records should only live in the retry queue for a
-	 * short period of time, before either being sent or moved to the hold
-	 * queue, we don't currently enforce a limit on this queue */
-	skb_queue_tail(&audit_retry_queue, skb);
+	if (!audit_backlog_limit ||
+	    skb_queue_len(&audit_retry_queue) < audit_backlog_limit) {
+		skb_queue_tail(&audit_retry_queue, skb);
+		return;
+	}
+	audit_log_lost("kauditd retry queue overflow");
+	kfree_skb(skb);
@@ -640,7 +660,7 @@ static void auditd_reset(const struct auditd_connection *ac)
 	/* flush the retry queue to the hold queue, but don't touch the main
 	 * queue since we need to process that normally for multicast */
 	while ((skb = skb_dequeue(&audit_retry_queue)))
-		kauditd_hold_skb(skb);
+		kauditd_hold_skb(skb, -ECONNREFUSED);
@@ -714,16 +734,18 @@ static int kauditd_send_queue(struct sock *sk, u32 portid,
 			      struct sk_buff_head *queue,
 			      unsigned int retry_limit,
 			      void (*skb_hook)(struct sk_buff *skb),
-			      void (*err_hook)(struct sk_buff *skb))
+			      void (*err_hook)(struct sk_buff *skb, int error))
 	int rc = 0;
-	struct sk_buff *skb;
+	struct sk_buff *skb = NULL;
+	struct sk_buff *skb_tail;
 	unsigned int failed = 0;
 	/* NOTE: kauditd_thread takes care of all our locking, we just use
 	 *       the netlink info passed to us (e.g. sk and portid) */
-	while ((skb = skb_dequeue(queue))) {
+	skb_tail = skb_peek_tail(queue);
+	while ((skb != skb_tail) && (skb = skb_dequeue(queue))) {
 		/* call the skb_hook for each skb we touch */
 		if (skb_hook)
@@ -731,7 +753,7 @@ static int kauditd_send_queue(struct sock *sk, u32 portid,
 		/* can we send to anyone via unicast? */
 		if (!sk) {
 			if (err_hook)
-				(*err_hook)(skb);
+				(*err_hook)(skb, -ECONNREFUSED);
@@ -745,7 +767,7 @@ static int kauditd_send_queue(struct sock *sk, u32 portid,
 			    rc == -ECONNREFUSED || rc == -EPERM) {
 				sk = NULL;
 				if (err_hook)
-					(*err_hook)(skb);
+					(*err_hook)(skb, rc);
 				if (rc == -EAGAIN)
 					rc = 0;
 				/* continue to drain the queue */

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