An issue was discovered in Xen through 4.13.x, allowing x86 HVM guest OS users to cause a hypervisor crash. An inverted conditional in x86 HVM guests' dirty video RAM tracking code allows such guests to make Xen de-reference a pointer guaranteed to point at unmapped space. A malicious or buggy HVM guest may cause the hypervisor to crash, resulting in Denial of Service (DoS) affecting the entire host. Xen versions from 4.8 onwards are affected. Xen versions 4.7 and earlier are not affected. Only x86 systems are affected. Arm systems are not affected. Only x86 HVM guests using shadow paging can leverage the vulnerability. In addition, there needs to be an entity actively monitoring a guest's video frame buffer (typically for display purposes) in order for such a guest to be able to leverage the vulnerability. x86 PV guests, as well as x86 HVM guests using hardware assisted paging (HAP), cannot leverage the vulnerability.
For HVM guest explicitly configured to use shadow paging (e.g. via the
hap=0 xl domain configuration file parameter), changing to HAP (e.g. by setting
hap=1) will avoid exposing the vulnerability to those guests. HAP is the default (in upstream Xen), where the hardware supports it; so this mitigation is only applicable if HAP has been disabled by configuration.