Follow @Openwall on Twitter for new release announcements and other news
[<prev] [next>] [thread-next>] [day] [month] [year] [list]
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2014 07:43:27 +0300
From: Alexander Cherepanov <>
Subject: Fuzzing objdump (PR 17512) and readelf (PR 17531)


I was privately asked how I fuzzed objdump in PR 17512 and I figured it 
could be interesting to others too. So here it is.

Short version: I used the most naive way.

Longer version: I started with the most simple approach I could get 
results with and improved it only a little bit so far. There was just no 
need for improvements -- until recently I was getting more crashes than 
I can analyze (i.e. run through valgrind:-). Thanks to the excellent 
work of Nick Clifton, crashes are harder to get now. But there is a long 
way to go.

Hardware resources: one several years old desktop. Previous batches of 
crashes required from minutes to half an hour to get. The last one is 
the result of one night.

binutils was built like `./configure && make`. Using address-sanitizer 
would probably improve the process.

Commands fuzzed: `objdump -x $file` in PR 17512[1] and `readelf -a 
$file` in PR 17531. Someone more familiar with binutils could choose a 
command involving more parsing and hence improve code coverage.


Fuzzer: zzuf with more-or-less default options. It was used like this:

   zzuf -s 0:1000000 -c -C 0 -q -T 5 -M 100 -j 4 objdump -x "$file" 2> log


   -s 0:1000000 -- seeds to try, change as you wish
   -c           -- only fuzz files specified in command line (just in case)
   -C 0         -- don't stop after the first crash
   -q           -- suppress output from objdump
   -T 5         -- limit cputime to not hang on infinite loops
   -M 100       -- limit memory to not eat all of it
   -j 4         -- number of simultaneous jobs

Another option of interest is -r -- ratio of changed bits.

After you get a crash like this:

   zzuf[s=1448,r=0.004]: signal 11 (SIGSEGV)

you can get a fuzzed sample with the following command:

   zzuf -s 1448 -r 0.004 < "$file" > fuzzed-file

In fact, I run zzuf from a script against different samples in batches 
of 10K seeds, then run random selection from found crashes under 
valgrind and collect unique errors. When crashes are rare it's possible 
to run all of them through valgrind. This part of the process is also 
quite naive but it you are fixing crashes as you find them it's not 
needed at all.

Samples: I started with clam.exe from ClamAV, then used 'main() { return 
0; }' compiled in different ways and then switched to samples from . Looking at code coverage 
and optimizing the set of samples could improve the process. My uploaded 
samples named as (\d+)-(0.004) are clam.exe zzufed with seed $1 and 
ratio $2, samples named as (\d+)-(\d+)-(0.004) are from 
radare2-regressions zzufed in the same way. If someone is interested I 
can provide a precise list.

License -- short version: AFAICT clam.exe is under GPLv2 and "was 
entirely written by hand using HIEW"[1], radare2-regressions is under 
GPLv3+. Feel free to use in testsuites etc.


Alexander Cherepanov

Powered by blists - more mailing lists

Please check out the Open Source Software Security Wiki, which is counterpart to this mailing list.

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