[cfe-dev] Security fail (memset being optimized away)

Jonny Grant via cfe-dev cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org
Fri Jan 4 07:54:30 PST 2019

On 04/01/2019 15:41, myLC at gmx.de wrote:
> On 1/4/19 3:47 PM, Jonny Grant wrote:
>  > ...
>> Maybe add an abort()  ?
>> eg
>> inline void check_memset(void *s, int c, size_t n);
>> {
>>      const char * buf = (char*)buf;
>>      memset(2, 0, n);
>>      if(0 != *buf)
>>      {
>>          abort();
>>      }
>> }
> I'm afraid, that won't cut it either. On the "Compiler Explorer"
> website ( https://godbolt.org/ ) you can see that many compilers
> implement "their own" inlined version of memset - especially
> when you turn on "max optimizations" (-O3). The compiler might
> simply decide to only clear the first byte as the rest is not
> being access anyhow...

Did you verify that in practice with my code? (optimising out memset)

I've not not time to run tests on godbolt.org

>> Or use a for loop to verify all bytes are now 0.
> The compiler knows that the buffer has to be all zeros as it
> knows, it just cleared it before. This is basically a more
> complicated version of:
> {
>      int a = 0;
>      if( a != 0 )
>          abort();
> }
> This can never call abort and will therefore be removed
> completely.

Compilers are not static analysers, they don't know when ram addresses 
were touched as far as I am aware. Do you have a source for this 

If you don't want to use libc memset() if you feel it might be lost, 
write your own. Or put those functions in a library that is not 
optimised at all.

Whatever you do. verify how it looks after compilation to be sure. Share 
your results, I'm interested to hear.

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