High Performance Linux

Friday, November 29, 2013

Calling Closed Kernel Functions in Linux Kernel Modules

Linux kernel exports by EXPORT_SYMBOL and Co. some its functions. Such functions can be used in loadable kernel modules. However, other functions, e.g. ip_rcv() or tcp_v4_rcv(), are closed. If you need some of these functions, then you can write trivial kernel patch which just exports the functions. We do this in our Synchronous Sockets.

However, there is more simple method. Linux kernel has nice kallsyms interface, which provides you addresses of kernel symbols. So firstly, you can just grep required symbol:

    $ grep '\<ip_rcv\>' /proc/kallsyms
    ffffffff8143590a T ip_rcv

And call this from a shell script and pass it somehow to your module which needs to call the function.

Hopefully, Linux kernel exports interface to kallsyms, so GPL-licensed modules can use it to find desired symbols.

Recently, we've written simple Linux kernel module which makes Nginx HTTP server working in Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) mode - you can attach a machine with Nginx to SPAN port of you router and Nginx thinks that it gets traffic from real clients and operate with them in common way. To do this we had to generate custon TCP ACK, FIN and RST segments and pass them directly to Linux TCP code. We did this with tcp_do_rcv() call. So lets see how to call the closed function from loadable kernel module:

    static int (*tcp_v4_rcv_ptr)(struct sk_buff *);

    static void *
        unsigned long tcp_v4_rcv_addr = 0;

        int get_tcp_v4_rcv(void *data, const char *namebuf,
                           struct module *owner, unsigned long addr)
            if (strcmp(namebuf, "tcp_v4_rcv"))
                return 0;
            *(unsigned long *)data = addr;
            return 1;

        kallsyms_on_each_symbol(get_tcp_v4_rcv, &tcp_v4_rcv_addr);

        return (void *)tcp_v4_rcv_addr;

    tcp_v4_rcv_ptr = wd_get_tcp_v4_rcv_ptr();

    /* Call tcp_v4_rcv() and pass the packet directly to TCP code. */

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