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Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2023 18:54:57 +0000
From: "Tol, Caner" <>
To: "" <>
CC: "Adiletta, Andrew" <>, "Sunar, Berk" <>,
	"Doroz, Yarkin" <>
Subject: Mayhem: Targeted Corruption of Register and Stack Variables

Our recent paper<> [AsiaCCS'24] describes a potential vulnerability where stack/register variables can be flipped via fault injection, affecting execution flow in security-sensitive code. There are mitigation strategies you may be interested in incorporating into your code:

 Take this vulnerable code, for example:

int auth = 0;

//password check code that sets auth variable

if(auth != 0)




The idea is that any bit can be flipped in auth, and it will result in a mis-authentication. We prove this is a potential vulnerability in OpenSSH, OpenSSL, MySQL, and SUDO. To mitigate this, it is important to have tight logic such that a single-bit flip will not result in unintended execution. For example:

int auth = 0xbe405d1a;

// password check code that sets auth variable to 0x23ab9701 is successful

If(auth == 0x23ab9701)

               return AUTH_SUCCESS;


               return AUTH_FAILURE;

In this case, the auth variable must be corrupted into the exact authentication pattern, which is fairly improbable.

We issued CVE-2023-42465 for SUDO for this vulnerability.

Here is the patch implemented in v1.9.15.

Paper link:

Caner Tol
Worcester Polytechnic Institute<>

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