App Shield Programming Guide
This document provides instructions on using the DOCA App Shield API.
DOCA App Shield API offers a solution for strong intrusion detection capabilities using the DPU services to collect data from the host's memory. This solution provides intrusion detection and forensics investigation in a way that is:
- Robust against attacks on a host machine
- Able to detect a wide range of attacks (including zero-day attacks)
- Least disruptive to the execution of host application (where current detection solutions hinder the performance of host applications)
The App Shield detects attacks on critical services in a system. In many systems these services are responsible for assuring the integrity/privacy of the execution of other applications. For example, a scrubbing service is responsible for erasing the private data of users.
The following figure describes the relation between the DPU and the host memory where attacks may occur. The green squares are the assets that must resume operation unhindered. DOCA App Shield is responsible for acquiring information about processes to allow attack detection. To that end, DOCA App Shield exposes an API to the user allowing them to detect malicious activities (e.g., malicious processes, DLL files) by monitoring changes in critical memory parts directly from the Arm using DMA without involving the host OS or CPU.
- Create huge pages.
- Enable NVMe emulation on the firmware.
Run a config command on the host/VM. Refer to
doca_apsh_config for information on creating config files specific to the host/VM.
Run the following command to configure the DOCA:
# On the bluefield system, configure PF base address register and NVME emulation dpu> mlxconfig -d /dev/mst/mt41686_pciconf0 s PF_BAR2_SIZE=2 PF_BAR2_ENABLE=1 NVME_EMULATION_ENABLE=1 #Do Cold boot (from host) host> ipmitool power cycle ## repeat after every reboot # Allocate huge-pages dpu> rm -rf "/mnt/huge/*" dpu> echo 42 > /sys/devices/system/node/node0/hugepages/hugepages-32768kB/nr_hugepages dpu> \ if [ ! -d "/mnt/huge" ] ; then mkdir "/mnt/huge" fi dpu> mount -t hugetlbfs -o pagesize=32MB none "/mnt/huge" # Disable the mlnx-snap service dpu> systemctl stop mlnx_snap
For the library API reference, refer to the DOCA APSH API documentation in the NVIDIA DOCA Libraries API Reference Manual.
The pkg-config (
*.pc file) for the App Shield library is named
The following sections provide additional details about the library API.
To attach a DMA device name to App Shield, calling this function is mandatory and must be done before calling
doca_apsh_ctx [in]– App Shield opaque context struct
doca_dev [in]– struct for DOCA Device with DMA capabilities
For each initialized system, App Shield can retrieve the following information:
|Function Name||Functions Information||Functions Signature||Return Type|
|Get modules||Returns an array with information about the system modules (drivers) loaded into the kernel of the OS||
|Get processes||Returns an array with information about each processes running on the system||
|Get library||For a specified process, this function returns an array with information about each library loaded into this process||
|Get threads||For a specified process, this function returns an array with information about each thread running within this process||
|Get virtual memory areas/virtual address description||For a specified process, this function returns an array with information about each virtual memory area within this process||
|Get privileges||For a specified process, this function returns an array with information about each possible privilege for this process, as described here
Available for Windows only.
|Process attestation||For a specified process, this function attests the memory pages of the process according to a precomputed golden hash file given as an input
Single-threaded processes are supported at beta level.
|Attestation refresh||Refreshes a single attestation handler of a process with a new snapshot||
For each of the getter functions, a struct or an array of structs with the requested information is returned. To access this information, another getter function must be called specifying the exact information/attribute required from that struct.
const void *doca_apsh_proc_info_get(struct doca_apsh_proccess *process, enum doca_apsh_process_attr attr); const void *doca_apsh_module_info_get(struct doca_apsh_module *module, enum doca_apsh_module_attr attr); const void *doca_apsh_lib_info_get(struct doca_apsh_lib *lib, enum doca_apsh_lib_attr attr); const void *doca_apsh_thread_info_get(struct doca_apsh_thread *thread, enum doca_apsh_lib_attr attr); const void *doca_apsh_vad_info_get(struct doca_apsh_vad *vad, enum doca_apsh_vad_attr attr); const void *doca_apsh_attst_info_get(struct doca_apsh_attestation *attestation, enum doca_apsh_attestation_attr attr);
These are macros that cast the returned values according to the types specified in
const uint pid = doca_apsh_proc_info_get(processes[i], DOCA_APSH_PROCESS_PID);
All the required attributes are defined in
There are different structures in App Shield that must be used for a BlueField client to be able to introspect into a system running on the host side, whether it is a bare-metal machine or a virtual machine.
The App Shield context structure is used to init the devices on the DPU required to start monitoring App Shield systems.
struct doca_apsh_ctx* doca_apsh_create(void);
doca_app_shield_ctx to work, a RegEx device and an RDMA device must be set, using these two functions:
doca_error_t doca_apsh_dma_dev_set(struct doca_apsh_ctx *ctx, struct doca_dev * dma_dev); doca_error_t doca_apsh_regex_dev_set(struct doca_apsh_ctx *ctx, struct doca_dev *regex_dev);
doca_error_t ret = doca_apsh_dma_dev_set(ctx, dma_dev);
After the above devices are set, the following function should be invoke:
doca_error_t doca_apsh_start(struct doca_apsh_ctx *ctx);
This establishes a connection to the devices. When App Shield lib is no longer needed, a destruction must be called to deallocate any allocated memory:
void doca_apsh_destroy(struct doca_apsh_ctx *ctx);
The system structure represents a system on the host that should be monitored. To instantiate an App Shield system, this function must be called:
struct doca_apsh_system *doca_apsh_system_create(struct doca_apsh_ctx *ctx);
doca_apsh_ctx instance may be associated with many App Shield systems.
The App Shield system has the following attributes:
- Layer – specifies the system type. Types: Bare metal, virtual machine, or a container (for future use).
- System DOCA Device – the remote device obtained from the DPU. The device should be connected to the host/VM and functions as a representor VF/PF. To query/obtain the DOCA device, refer to the NVIDIA DOCA Libraries API Reference Manual.
- System/symbol map – includes information about the OS that App Shield needs to introspect (e.g., Window 10 Build 18363/Linux Ubuntu 20.04) and the size and fields of the OS structures such as process struct, which helps App Shield with the memory forensic techniques it uses to access and analyze these structures in the host's memory. This can be obtained by running the
doca_apsh_config.pytool on the host.
- Memory regions – contains the allowed physical memory regions that App Shield can access. This information is needed since there are memory regions reserved by different PCIe devices. Some of these regions map device registers which change the device's state each time the regions (certain physical addresses in these regions) are read. These changes may confuse the device firmware and may, therefore, cause the system to crash/freeze. This must be avoided. This can be obtained by running the
doca_apsh_config.pytool on the host.
Each one of these attributes must be set by calling its suitable function:
doca_error_t doca_apsh_sys_system_layer_set(struct doca_apsh_system *system, enum doca_apsh_system_layer layer_type); doca_error_t doca_apsh_sys_dev_set(struct doca_apsh_system *system, struct doca_dev_remote *dev); doca_error_t doca_apsh_sys_os_symbol_map_set(struct doca_apsh_system *system, const char *system_os_symbol_map_path); doca_error_t doca_apsh_sys_mem_region_set(struct doca_apsh_system *system, const char *system_mem_region_path);
For each system, after all the attributes are set, the following function must be called to start App Shield system monitoring:
doca_error_t doca_apsh_system_start(struct doca_apsh_system *system);
Other functions can be called to retrieve information from the system’s memory after the App Shield system is started. These functions (also called capabilities) are expanded on in Capabilities Per System. When the App Shield system is no longer needed, a destruction must be called to deallocate internal system memory:
void doca_apsh_system_destroy(struct doca_apsh_system *system);
doca_apsh_config is used to get the config files necessary for running system analysis. Run the
doca_apsh_config tool once system is up.
/opt/mellanox/doca/tools/doca_apsh_config.py <pid> --os <os> --path <dwarf2json-path/pdbparse-to-json.py>
dwarf2json executable which can be found in https://github.com/volatilityfoundation/dwarf2json. Note that the executable must be compiled using Go Programming Language. For instructions, refer to the
The tool creates the following files:
- Symbol Map – this file changes once the system kernel is updated or the kernel module is installed. The file does not change on system reboot.
- Memory Regions – this file changes when adding/removing hardware or drivers that affect the system's memory map (e.g., when adding register addresses). The file does not change once the system is rebooted.
- hash.zip – this file is required for attestation API but is unnecessary for all other APIs. The zip file contains the required documentation to attest to a single process. The file changes on lib/executable update.
pid– the process ID of the hashed process
path– path to the
/opt/mellanox/doca/tools/doca_apsh_config.py 100 --os linux --path ./dwarf2json
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