Bug #14837


ruby blocks due to unavoidable getrandom without GRND_NONBLOCK

Added by kevinoid (Kevin Locke) over 3 years ago. Updated over 3 years ago.

Target version:


Following the instructions in the Rubygems FAQ I added the following to ~/.bashrc:

if which ruby >/dev/null && which gem >/dev/null; then
    PATH="$(ruby -e 'puts Gem.user_dir')/bin:$PATH"

Unfortunately, this causes login to block for several seconds to minutes (depending on available entropy sources) because ruby -e 'puts Gem.user_dir' makes two getrandom syscalls without the GRND_NONBLOCK flag. On Linux v4.17-rc2 and later, this causes ruby, and therefore the login process, to block until the RNG is fully initialized.

Arguably Rubygems could provide/recommend a way to get the user GEM dir without invoking Ruby. That would solve the specific login problem reported above. However, since even ruby -v makes two getrandom syscalls, I suspect this may cause difficult to diagnose hangs in startup or login scripts for many users and that it is a desirable use case to support, which is why I am reporting it here.

Some relevant history: r51182 added getrandom, r51374 added GRND_NONBLOCK to address Bug #11395 (similar to this issue), r52808 removed GRND_NONBLOCK in some cases for SecureRandom.

Thanks for considering,

Updated by shevegen (Robert A. Heiler) over 3 years ago

Makes sense.

As for Gem.user_dir:

Arguably Rubygems could provide/recommend a way to get the user GEM
dir without invoking Ruby.

The other way may be to have ruby directly support it since gems are
also bundled with ruby (and bundler already is or soon-to-be is).

For example perhaps RbConfig.user_dir or something similar. I am not
necessarily suggesting this (and in any way, it should then go into
a new issue request), but I think various assumptions by rubygems
were also made when rubygems was more of a separate add-on.

Actions #2

Updated by nobu (Nobuyoshi Nakada) over 3 years ago

  • Backport changed from 2.3: UNKNOWN, 2.4: UNKNOWN, 2.5: UNKNOWN to 2.3: REQUIRED, 2.4: REQUIRED, 2.5: REQUIRED
Actions #3

Updated by nobu (Nobuyoshi Nakada) over 3 years ago

  • Status changed from Open to Closed

Applied in changeset trunk|r63624.

random.c: fix need_secure flags

  • random.c (fill_random_seed): do not need to be secure, to get
    rid of blocking at the start-up time.
    [ruby-core:87462] [Bug #14837]

  • random.c (random_raw_seed): expected to be a cryptographically
    secure, as documented.

Updated by shyouhei (Shyouhei Urabe) over 3 years ago

Let me leave a weak concern that I do not fully understand the impact of this changeset.

I recommend some reviews by cryptographic experts about it.

Updated by kevinoid (Kevin Locke) over 3 years ago

Thanks for the quick response and fix! Sorry I didn't see the changes sooner. (I didn't get an email notification, will investigate.)

If SecureRandom requires cryptographically random numbers, removing GRND_NONBLOCK will cause security issues when there is insufficient entropy, since it will get numbers which are insufficiently random. Is kosaki (Motohiro KOSAKI) still active? Perhaps he could weigh in since this effectively reverts his change to add GRND_NONBLOCK? I'll email him.

Updated by kevinoid (Kevin Locke) over 3 years ago

After re-reading the diff more closely I realized I had misunderstood. As I now understand, r63624 has the effect of adding GRND_NONBLOCK for Random.new_seed and the internal seeds and removing it for Random.urandom, which is probably what was originally intended in r52808. Seems like a good fix to me. The only potential issue I can see is that the internal seed is used to protect against hash table algorithmic complexity attacks (see r17465) so it might be possible to attack programs started before the system gains sufficient entropy to be unpredictable.

Thanks again!


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