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Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2017 10:32:45 +0200
From: Hanno Böck <>
Subject: Re: libxslt math.random issue


On Thu, 6 Apr 2017 07:44:00 +0200
Marcus Meissner <> wrote:

> CVE-2015-9019 has been assigned to use of libexslt (in libxslt) usage
> of "math.random" without initializing the randomseed.

I have some questions and comments:

1. What's the use of the random number and what's the security impact
if it's not random? That's not explained
In case of the bugreport.
In case a cryptographically secure random number is required then using
rand()/srand() is a bad idea anyway.
(Unfortunately there's no secure random in the standard libc, but at
least glibc now has getrandom.).

2. This part of the patch looks a bit strange:

+	seed = time(NULL); /* just in case /dev/urandom is not there */
+	if (fd == -1) {
+		read (fd, &seed, sizeof(seed));
+		close (fd);
+	}

You're calling time() unconditionally, although it's kinda just a
fallback. Why not
+	if (fd == -1) {
+		read (fd, &seed, sizeof(seed));
+		close (fd);
+	} else {
+		seed = time(NULL);
+	}

(obviously using time is not a secure way to do random numbers, if
secure numbers are required cross-plattform you need to do this
otherwise anyway)

Hanno Böck

GPG: FE73757FA60E4E21B937579FA5880072BBB51E42

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