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From: Vincent Mailhol <>
To: Marc Kleine-Budde <>,
	Oliver Hartkopp <>,
Cc: Vincent Mailhol <>,
Subject: Re: [net-rfc 04/16] can: dev: can_get_len(): add a helper function to get the correct length of Classical frames
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 01:07:39 +0900
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

> On 20.10.20 13:30, Vincent Mailhol wrote:
>>> On 19.10.20 21:05, Marc Kleine-Budde wrote:
>>>> From: Vincent Mailhol <>
>>>> In classical CAN, the length of the data (i.e. CAN payload) is not
>>>> always equal to the DLC! If the frame is a Remote Transmission Request
>>>> (RTR), data length is always zero regardless of DLC value and else, if
>>>> the DLC is greater than 8, the length is 8. Contrary to common belief,
>>>> ISO 11898-1 Chapter (DLC field) do allow DLCs greater than 8
>>>> for Classical Frames and specifies that those DLCs shall indicate that
>>>> the data field is 8 bytes long.
>>>> Above facts are widely unknown and so many developpers uses the "len"
>>>> field of "struct canfd_frame" to get the length of classical CAN
>>>> frames: this is incorrect!
> No it is not. This is intentional.
> When implementing the CAN FD support we mainly fixed the problem that 
> the DLC (data length *CODE*) and the plain data length have often been 
> used as a synonym by the programmers.
> As the can_dlc value inside the Linux world is always 0..8 it was in 
> fact always a 'length in byte' value. And it was safe to use it in this way.
> When CAN FD showed up we decided NOT to provide the DLC value but a 
> nominal 'len' value 0..64 which allows to maintain the existing access 
> patterns (e.g. with a for() statement).
> See:
> page 56ff
>>>> This patch introduces function get_can_len() which can be used in
>>>> remediation. The function takes the SKB as an input in order to be
>>>> able to determine if the frame is classical or FD.
>>>> Signed-off-by: Vincent Mailhol <>
>>>> Link:
>>>> [mkl: renamed get_can_len() -> can_get_len()]
>>>> Signed-off-by: Marc Kleine-Budde <>
>>>> ---
>>>>    include/linux/can/dev.h | 23 +++++++++++++++++++++++
>>>>    1 file changed, 23 insertions(+)
>>>> diff --git a/include/linux/can/dev.h b/include/linux/can/dev.h
>>>> index 41ff31795320..2bb132fc6d88 100644
>>>> --- a/include/linux/can/dev.h
>>>> +++ b/include/linux/can/dev.h
>>>> @@ -192,6 +192,29 @@ u8 can_dlc2len(u8 can_dlc);
>>>>    /* map the sanitized data length to an appropriate data length code */
>>>>    u8 can_len2dlc(u8 len);
>>>> +/*
>>>> + * can_get_len(skb) - get the length of the CAN payload.
>>>> + *
>>>> + * In classical CAN, the length of the data (i.e. CAN payload) is not
>>>> + * always equal to the DLC! If the frame is a Remote Transmission
>>>> + * Request (RTR), data length is always zero regardless of DLC value
>>>> + * and else, if the DLC is greater than 8, the length is 8. Contrary
>>>> + * to common belief, ISO 11898-1 Chapter (DLC field) do allow
>>>> + * DLCs greater than 8 for Classical Frames and specifies that those
>>>> + * DLCs shall indicate that the data field is 8 bytes long.
>>>> + */
>>>> +static inline u8 can_get_len(const struct sk_buff *skb)
>>>> +{
>>>> +     const struct canfd_frame *cf = (const struct canfd_frame *)skb->data;
>>>> +
>>>> +     if (can_is_canfd_skb(skb))
>>>> +             return min_t(u8, cf->len, CANFD_MAX_DLEN);
>>>> +     else if (cf->can_id & CAN_RTR_FLAG)
>>>> +             return 0;
>>>> +     else
>>>> +             return min_t(u8, cf->len, CAN_MAX_DLEN);
>>>> +}
>>> The main idea behind this patch and patch 05/16 is to provide a correct
>>> statistic in the tx bytes, right?
>>> A simple test for the CAN_RTR_FLAG will do the job as all the length
>>> sanitizing is already done in the tx path by can_dropped_invalid_skb()
>>> in all known drivers right *before* the skb is stored in the echo skb array.
>>> IMO there's no need for a separate helper function. Maybe a macro which
>>> should have something with 'payload' in its name - to determine the tx
>>> byte statistics based on CAN_RTR_FLAG ...
>> Actually, the main idea is not only to provide a valid length for the
>> tx statistics.
>> First fact is that many of the drivers (if not all?) will have the
>> same issue for the rx statistics as well, so this helper function can
>> be beneficial in other locations as well but that is not yet the main
>> point.
> Many drivers do not use the the return value of can_get_echo_skb() - and 
> yes, THAT should be fixed.
>> What bugs me the most, is that there is a global misunderstanding of
>> the definition of the Classical CAN frame's DLC in the kernel.
> No it is not (as described above).
> There is a clear separation that the DLC is only available in the driver 
> for putting the DLC into the CAN controller and retrieving it from there.
> Everything else (starting from the skb content) is a plain length 
> information.
>> ISO 11898-1:2015 tells us in section "DLC field" that, I
>> quote: "[...]  *This DLC shall consist of 4 bit*. The admissible
>> number of data bytes for Classical Frames shall range from 0 to
>> 8. DLCs in the range of 0 to 7 shall indicate data fields of length of
>> 0 byte to 7 byte. In Classical Frames, *all other DLCs shall indicate
>> that the data field is 8 bytes long*. [...]"
>> So the DLC is a 4 bits value (meaning from 0 to 15) and all values
>> from 8 to 15 designate a data length of 8.
>> The real idea is to have an ISO 11898-1 compliant function to retrieve
>> the length.
> This is done on driver level using several helper functions like:
> get_can_dlc()
> get_canfd_dlc()
> and conversions like
> can_dlc2len()
> can_len2dlc()
>> That said, I hear your comment that the DLC is sanitized in
>> can_dropped_invalid_skb(). However, what bothers me is that this
>> sanitazation is done on false assumptions: Classical frames with DLC
>> greater than 8 and lower or equal to 15, which are valid by the
>> standard, are being discarded.
> Yes. But we don't talk about a DLC value here. We talk about a plain 
> length value.
>> To give you the full picture, I plan to send a RFC to fix this DLC
>> issue to allow Classical CAN frame with DLCs between 9 and 15 to be
>> sent and received in Socket CAN.
> Ehm - no. This is a pointless feature to allow values that have no 
> effect and might only happen on the wire (not even on the CAN controller 
> register level).
> The standard only defined how the CAN controller should react when it 
> gets these out-of-range values from the wire. The values 9 - 15 are not 
> distinguishable. Everything means 8.
>>  This can_get_len() function is one
>> piece of it, however, because I also found the bad RTR length issue, I
>> thought to introduce this one in advance. Sorry for the lack of
>> context.
>> The RFC I am thinking of will not be trivial. The main reason is that
>> the macro CAN_MAX_DLC which is incorrectly set to 8 instead of 15 is
>> exposed to the user land in include/linux/can.h. Modifying it would be
>> a no-go because we do not want to break user space. The direction
>> would be to have a socket option to set the maximum DLC to 15 on
>> demand and to keep it to 8 by default (this way, niche users who needs
>> this can do so but other people are not impacted).
>> One question you might ask is: "why should be allow DLC greater than
>> 8?". One concrete use case is security testing. In order to check for
>> vulnerabilities, we want to send such frames for test coverage
>> (especially during fuzz testing). Aside of that I do not know other
>> use cases. I am not aware of any OEM that would use this in production
>> but I still want to push to have this option in the kernel just for
>> the security testing reason.
> ??? Sorry but no.
> You can create a DLC of 13 for Classical CAN. And your CAN controller 
> gets 8 bytes from it and says to the network layer: Here is a CAN frame 
> with 8 bytes payload.
> Have you ever read out a CAN controller register and found a value 
> greater than 8 on the register of the DLC value?
> I believe you didn't. The CAN controller sees the DLC but provides 8 
> bytes as DLC=8.

Then you believed wrong :-)

To back up my claim, I can quote the M_CAN specification from Bosch:

In section 2.4.2 "Rx Buffer and FIFO Element" it is written, I quote:

R1A/B Bits 19:16 DLC[3:0]: Data Length Code
	0-8=CAN + CAN FD: received frame has 0-8 data bytes
	9-15=CAN: *received frame has 8 data bytes*
	9-15=CAN FD: received frame has 12/16/20/24/32/48/64 data bytes

So here, you have an example of a DLC register of a classical CAN RX
frame which can contains values from 9 to 15.

I also did the test. I can send a CAN with a DLC of 13 on one
controller and the other ones correctly received a frame of 8 bytes
with a DLC of 13.

The ISO 11898-1 does not differentiate between the DLC on the wire,
the DLC in the microcontroller's register or the DLC at the
application level. The text I quoted holds for all scenarios in the
same way as the CAN ID and the data are the same on the wire and at
the application level (excluding bit stuffing of course). If you can
provide a citation from the ISO that contradicts this, I would
immediately recognize being wrong.

After, I am not saying that absolutely all the controllers will allow
DLC greater than 8. I would not be surprised to see some controllers
attempting to do some sanitization (which would violate the ISO) and
maybe you did your testing on such controllers. Only thing I can tell
is that all the controllers I studied allowed it (I can give more
examples upon request).

As for security testing, I worked as a security consultant in the
automotive industry for the last three years and with our colleagues,
we witnessed some ECUs that would completely stop responding after
receiving some DLCs greater than 8 due to some buffer overflow. This
is a real thing which can be found in production, I think it would be
great to be able to test that using socket CAN.

Some professional tools such as the CAN testing suite of Defensics by
Synopsys also include these kind of tests. Because Socket CAN does not
support this, Synopsys actually recommends to use the proprietary
drivers from the Peak controller which do allow this (unfortunately,
the Defensics documentation is not available publicly so I can not
give you a link to support my claim on that last example).

>> I hope that you now understand the full idea behind this patch. If you
>> agree with my comments, please reconsider adding that patch.
> I don't believe it would be a good idea.
>> If I
>> failed to convince you and if you prefer to first see the full
>> picture, then I am OK to go with the simple test for the CAN_RTR_FLAG
>> as you suggested in your other patch and will come back to you later
>> on the MAX DLC topic when ready.
>I hope I was able to convince you :-)

Unfortunately not but I appreciate that you spent your time to answer
me in such details :-)

I hope that I could highlight in this answer that I am more than just
a hobbyist who got exited after ready the ISO and that I know this
subject. What I explain here is well known in the niche community of
automotive security researcher but outside of it I just think that
people are not aware of it.

>> Thanks for reading me until the end!
> I did my very best.

So did I :-)

Yours sincerely,
Vincent Mailhol

  parent reply index

Thread overview: 45+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-10-19 19:05 [RFC]: can 2020-10-19 Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 01/16] can: proc: can_remove_proc(): silence remove_proc_entry warning Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 02/16] can: rx-offload: don't call kfree_skb() from IRQ context Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 03/16] can: dev: can_get_echo_skb(): prevent call to kfree_skb() in hard " Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 04/16] can: dev: can_get_len(): add a helper function to get the correct length of Classical frames Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 20:35   ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-20  6:35     ` Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-20 11:30       ` Vincent Mailhol
2020-10-20 11:48         ` Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-20 12:38         ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-20 15:02           ` Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-20 16:07           ` Vincent Mailhol [this message]
2020-10-20 17:04             ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-20 18:50               ` Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-21  0:52               ` Vincent Mailhol
2020-10-21  6:23                 ` Vincent MAILHOL
2020-10-21  7:11                   ` Joakim Zhang
2020-10-21  7:21                     ` Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-21  7:48                       ` Joakim Zhang
2020-10-21  9:21                   ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-21  9:48                     ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-21 11:55                     ` Vincent MAILHOL
2020-10-21 17:52                       ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-22  3:30                         ` Vincent MAILHOL
2020-10-22  7:15                           ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-22 12:23                             ` Vincent MAILHOL
2020-10-22 13:28                               ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-22 15:46                                 ` Vincent MAILHOL
2020-10-22 17:06                                   ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-23 10:36                                     ` Vincent MAILHOL
2020-10-23 16:47                                       ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-24  5:25                                         ` Vincent MAILHOL
2020-10-24 11:31                                           ` Oliver Hartkopp
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 05/16] can: dev: __can_get_echo_skb(): fix the returned length of CAN frame Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 06/16] can: can_create_echo_skb(): fix echo skb generation: always use skb_clone() Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 07/16] can: j1939: j1939_sk_bind(): return failure if netdev is down Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 08/16] can: isotp: Explain PDU in CAN_ISOTP help text Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 09/16] can: isotp: enable RX timeout handling in listen-only mode Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 10/16] can: ti_hecc: add missed clk_disable_unprepare() in error path Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 11/16] can: xilinx_can: handle failure cases of pm_runtime_get_sync Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 12/16] can: peak_usb: fix timestamp wrapping Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 13/16] can: peak_canfd: fix echo management when loopback is on Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 14/16] can: mcp251xfd: mcp251xfd_regmap_crc_read(): increase severity of CRC read error messages Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 15/16] can: mcp251xfd: mcp251xfd_regmap_nocrc_read(): fix semicolon.cocci warnings Marc Kleine-Budde
2020-10-19 19:05 ` [net-rfc 16/16] can: mcp251xfd: remove unneeded break Marc Kleine-Budde

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