[MTE] Tagging Globals


We’re evaluating memory tagging (MTE) on some internal workloads.

We noticed that stack variables are tagged by an instrumentation pass and heap objects are handled by the allocator (Scudo).

How about global variables? We tried a simple case using -march=armv8a+memtag -fsanitize=memtag, but found no tagging:

Are we missing anything or tagging globals is still in progress?

int global_array[16];

int main(int argc, char **argv) {

global_array[1] = 0;

return global_array[argc + 16]; // BOOM


clang++ -O1 --target=aarch64-linux -march=armv8.5a+memtag -fsanitize=memtag test.cpp -S -o test.s

main: // @main


// %bb.0: // %entry

adrp x8, global_array

add x8, x8, :lo12:global_array

str wzr, [x8, #4]

add x8, x8, w0, sxtw #2

ldr w0, [x8, #64]



.size main, .Lfunc_end0-main

Hi Zhaoshi,

Currently there’s no global tagging instrumentation for MTE. We have a good idea about the implementation’s design - but no patches are ready to be shared at this stage.

If you’d like - I’d be more than happy to CC yourself and Stephen on any Phabricator reviews :).

Thanks for the update, Phillips.

Yes, please add me, Stephen and Ana (CCed) to Phabricator reviews.



I forgot to ask: do you have any timeline on sharing it through Phabricator?



Not at this stage – no.

We'd also be interested in participating in this discussion. For CHERI, we had to define relocations for initialising pointers that had to understand something about the object that they were pointing to. There is probably some commonality in the requirements here.



An outline: We’re thinking of a relocation-based approach, where all non-const global references (including globals with hidden visibility) are through the GOT. The relocation would be an extension to GLOB_DAT, with the addition that the dynamic loader is responsible for creating a random tag and inserting it into the GOT entry.

For MTE, the only data we need to know at load time is the size of the global, which would be encoded in the relocation addend.

There is a performance cost of indirecting through the GOT - but that’s the price of having fully dynamic tags.