Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [<thread-prev] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2024 12:27:16 -0500
From: Rich Felker <>
To: Andy Caldwell <>
Cc: "" <>
Subject: Re: RE: [EXTERNAL] Re: [PATCH] fix avoidable segfault
 in catclose

On Fri, Jan 26, 2024 at 05:13:13PM +0000, Andy Caldwell wrote:
> > > > And it has been musl policy to crash on invalid args since the beginning.
> > >
> > > The current implementation doesn't (necessarily) crash/trap on an
> > > invalid argument, instead it invokes (C-language spec-defined) UB
> > > itself (it dereferences `(uint32_t*)((char*)cat) + 8)`, which, in the
> > > case of the `-1` handle is the address 0x7, which in turn, not being a
> > > valid address, is UB to dereference). If you're lucky (or are
> > > compiling without optimizations/inlining) the compiler will emit a MOV
> > > that will trigger an access violation and hence a SEGV, if
> > 
> > In general, it's impossible to test for "is this pointer valid?"
> > 
> > There are certain special cases we could test for, but unless there is a particularly
> > convincing reason that they could lead to runaway wrong
> > execution/vulnerabilities prior to naturally trapping, we have not considered
> > littering the code with these kinds of checks to be a worthwhile trade-off.
> >
> > > you're unlucky the compiler will make wild assumptions about the value
> > > of the variable passed as the arg (and for example in your first code
> > > snippet, simply delete the `if` statement, meaning `use_cat` gets
> > > called even when `catopen` fails potentially corrupting user
> > > data/state).
> > 
> > I have no idea what you're talking about there. The compiler cannot make that
> > kind of transformation (lifting code that could produce undefined behavior, side
> > effects, etc. out of a conditional).
> It's a hypothetical, but something like the following is valid for the compiler to do:
> * inline the catclose (e.g. in LTO for a static link)
> * consider the `if` statement and ask "what if `cat` is `-1`
> * look forward to the pointer dereference (confirming that `cat` can't change in the interim)
> * realise that `0x7` is not a valid pointer on the target platform so UB is inevitable if `cat` is `-1`
> * optimize out the comparison since UB frees the compiler of any responsibilities

You have the logic backwards. In the case where cat==(cat_t)-1,
catclose is not called on the abstract machine, so no conclusions can
be drawn from anything catclose would do.


Powered by blists - more mailing lists

Confused about mailing lists and their use? Read about mailing lists on Wikipedia and check out these guidelines on proper formatting of your messages.