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Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2019 07:14:52 -0700
From: Matthew Fernandez <>
Subject: Re: Thousands of vulnerabilities, almost no CVEs:

> On Jun 25, 2019, at 06:41, Bob Friesenhahn <> wrote:
> * Consumption of uninitialized data (e.g. image data) which is not
>   used to make important decisions.  This is usually due to unhandled
>   cases or error handling which does not quit immediately.

C/C++ compilers will infer backwards from uninitialized variable reads (undefined behavior in these languages) that preceding code is unreachable. For example, when moving from GCC 6 series to GCC 7 series we found one of our code bases would produce a binary that would only segfault when compiled at >= -O2. We root caused this to exactly the situation you describe: an error handling path that read uninitialized variables. The compiler appeared to infer backwards that the error check itself was a no-op as the true branch led to unconditional UB (this is my interpretation of its actions; I did not delve into the compiler’s internals).

I’m probably telling you things you already know and it sounds like you don’t consider such issues worth addressing, but I just wanted to point out that these are not theoretical. These cause real problems for users and, for open source software, you may not have full control over what toolchain/flags users build your code with.

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