ARM's AArch64 Adding Pointer Authentication Support To The Linux 4.21 Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Arm on 14 December 2018 at 09:53 AM EST. Add A Comment
ARM --
The 64-bit ARM architecture code (a.k.a ARM64 / AArch64) with the Linux 4.21 kernel is seeing pointer authentication added as a new security feature.

Pointer authentication can be supported by ARMv8.3 hardware and newer to allow for signing and authenticating of pointers against secret keys. The purpose of this pointer authentication is to mitigate ROP attacks and other potential buffer-overrun-style attacks. This ARM64_PTR_AUTH functionality will enable pointer authentication for all user-space processes and the presence of supported hardware is determined at run-time. ARM developers have been working on the plumbing for this Linux kernel support for it the past year.

In the core ARM64 tree ahead of Linux 4.21, it's now queued along with all of the other necessary infrastructure work.

Also for this next kernel on the AArch64 front is support for a 52-bit virtual address space and separately is also memory hot-plugging support.
Related News
About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

Popular News This Week