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July 29, 2022

GHSL-2022-053: Use-after-free in alias memory of the Arm Mali gpu kernel driver - CVE-2022-20186

Man Yue Mo

Coordinated Disclosure Timeline


Improper validation of input data can lead to free’d memory being accessible from the GPU, which can lead to arbitrary memory access.


Arm Mali

Tested Version

Android before June Security patch


Issue 1: Use-after-free in alias memory of the Arm Mali gpu kernel driver (GHSL-2022-053)

This is a vulnerability in the Arm Mali GPU driver that affects Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

In the kbase_mem_alias method, the number of pages for the alias region is computed by multiplying nents and stride, both are parameters supplied by the user using the KBASE_IOCTL_MEM_ALIAS ioctl call. The multiplication can overflow, resulting in an alias region with too few pages [1].

u64 kbase_mem_alias(struct kbase_context *kctx, u64 *flags, u64 stride,
		    u64 nents, struct base_mem_aliasing_info *ai,
		    u64 *num_pages)
	if ((nents * stride) > (U64_MAX / PAGE_SIZE))  //<---------- check can be bypassed when product overflow uint64_t
		/* 64-bit address range is the max */
		goto bad_size;
	/* calculate the number of pages this alias will cover */
	*num_pages = nents * stride;

For example, consider the following order of memory mapping in the GPU.

When the alias region is created, entries will be inserted into the GPU pagetable and the range of addresses between [AliasAddr, AliasAddr + 0x3000) will be now backed by the pages in region A, while [AliasAddr + stride, AliasAddr + stride + 0x3000) will be backed by the pages in region B. However, because [AliasAddr + 0x2000, AliasAddr + 0x3000) overlaps with region C, the pagetable entry inserted when region C is created will be overwritten and part of region C will now be backed by pages in region A. However, since this page is owned by region A, it’ll be free’d after both region A and the alias region are unmapped, while the pagetable entry for region C still points to the physical address of the page that is now free’d. This means if another process now allocates and maps memory to the Mali gpu, it may ended up reusing this free’d page that is still referenced in the pagetable of region C. In other words, by accessing region C with the GPU, the process can now access pages in another process that happens to have reclaimed this page.



This vulnerability can be exploited to achieve arbitrary kernel code execution from the app domain.



This issue was discovered and reported by GHSL team member @m-y-mo (Man Yue Mo).


You can contact the GHSL team at, please include a reference to GHSL-2022-053 in any communication regarding this issue.