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A ground-truth binary fuzzing benchmark suite based on real programs with real bugs.
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Magma: A Ground-Truth Fuzzing Benchmark

Magma is a collection of open-source libraries with widespread usage and a long history of security-critical bugs and vulnerabilities. In light of the need for better fuzzer evaluation, we front-ported bugs from previous bug reports to the latest versions of these libraries, which are constantly being updated with new patches and features, possibly introducing even more undiscovered bugs. This last fact allows us to continuously update Magma with new bugs as they are reported, instead of using old stale versions of the libraries.

For each ported bug, we added in-line (source-code-level) instrumentation to collect ground-truth information about bugs reached (buggy code executed) and triggered (fault condition satisfied by input). This instrumentation allows a monitoring utility to measure fuzzer progress in real time.

Included Libraries

So far, we have added the following libraries to Magma:

  1. libpng
  2. libtiff
  3. libxml2
  4. poppler

For each library, we build at least one executable program that consumes an input file and feeds it to the instrumented library. While these programs are not guaranteed to maximize library code coverage, they have proven useful as fuzz targets, since a majority of the reports for front-ported bugs in Magma mention that these programs can be used to trigger the bugs.


Magma is being continuously updated to add support for more fuzzing methods and applications. To that end, the near-future list of TODOs is the following:

  1. Add support for in-process fuzzers through stub functions.
  2. Add better instrumentation to collect information about bug distribution and complexity.
  3. Improve collection method for canary statistics. Currently, bug ID is the index of the bug counters in a fixed-size shared-memory array, and the size of the array is hard-coded and needs to be manually updated as more bugs are added.
  4. Add more bugs and libraries.
  5. Allow poppler to use the buggy versions of libpng and libtiff.
  6. Add processor affinity support to the benchd toolset.
  7. Replace the use of git apply with the GNU patch utility so that Magma can be distributed without a git dependency.

The long-term milestones of this project are:

  1. Implement an introspective system for collecting bug information, instead of in-line canaries.
  2. Set up an online continuous evaluation platform with live statistics for different fuzzers (à la oss-fuzz).
  3. Investigate seed selection methods for better seed coverage.
  4. Investigate binaries that maximize library coverage (à la FuzzGen).
  5. Add support for multithreaded libraries and make instrumentation thread-safe.
  6. Revamp the build system to make it more efficient. Currently, it could result in work being duplicated, like compiling the benchmark twice with the same compiler configuration or compiling all libraries twice just to change the MAGMA_STORAGE value (which only affects one object file).


Using Dockerfile

We provide a Dockerfile which contains all the steps to build Magma on an image of Ubuntu 18.04 and clone 6 popular fuzzers (AFL, AFLFast, MOpt-AFL, FairFuzz, honggfuzz, and Angora) in a directory structure which allows you to start running the benchmark against these fuzzers out-of-the-box.

To build the Dockerfile and run a Docker container:

sudo apt install
cd docker/
docker build -t magma .
docker create -it --cap-add=SYS_PTRACE --name magma_0 magma
docker start magma_0
docker exec -it magma_0 /bin/bash

The tool shipped with Magma references the directory structure of the Docker image, and can thus be launched directly to start fuzzing campaigns.

From Source

The following steps have been tested and verified to work out-of-the-box on Ubuntu 19.04, 18.04 LTS, and 16.04 LTS. We also tested Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, but the Ubuntu Trusty package repository has some missing or outdated dependencies; steps to build Magma on such platforms are not outlined in this README.

To build Magma, the following dependencies must first be installed:

cmake >=3.1.0
autoconf >=2.69-9
automake >=1.15.1

On Debian-based systems, after making sure the required versions are provided by your package repositories, copy and run the following command:

sudo apt install git make build-essential cmake autoconf automake \
    libtool pkgconf \
    zlib1g-dev liblzma-dev libfreetype6-dev libfontconfig1-dev \
    libjpeg-dev libopenjp2-7-dev python-dev

It suffices to get a shallow clone of Magma and its submodules:

git clone --depth 1 --recurse-submodules

Then, to build all of Magma, just run make all.

Custom Compilers and Flags

The provided build system supports the use of custom compilers, by specifying the environment variables CC and CXX. Additionally, compiler flags can be customized by exporting the variables CFLAGS, CXXFLAGS, LDFLAGS, and LIBS.

The HOST environment variable can also be set to specify the target build architecture. Currently, only x86 and x86_64 have been tested.

Magma Build Flags

Magma also supports a handful of flags to customize the canary configuration and behavior. The following environment variables control these configurations:

  • MAGMA_STORAGE: the name of the shared memory object where canary statistics will be stored. It is recommended to use a unique name for every launched campaign, to avoid data races on the same shmem object.
  • MAGMA_SUFFIX: a string suffix to add to the programs' names in the build dir to use as an identifier if needed.
  • MAGMA_ISAN: if defined, the Ideal Sanitization mode will be used for the canaries. Whenever a bug is triggered, the canary will send a SIGSEGV signal to the target, causing it to crash.
  • MAGMA_HARDEN: if defined, canaries will be hardened. In hardened mode, the access to shared memory is surrounded by a couple calls to mprotect, which first set the shmem object's page's permissions to RW, allowing the canary to report, and then set the permissions back to R. This way, an OOB memory write during the program execution would not overwrite campaign results.


Since Magma currently uses shared memory objects to extract and collect canary statistics, a monitoring utility must be running to create the shared memory region. This can be achieved either by running the simplified monitor in build/, which just creates the shmem object and prints its formatted contents, or by running the script in tools/benchd/ which logs periodic real-time statistics into a log file.

Then, the instrumented programs can be launched by fuzzers that allow their targets to access shared memory directly. Most gray-box fuzzers are thus compatible, since they rely on concrete execution. White-box fuzzers which rely symbolic execution tend to emulate the environment and system calls, which results in a closed system from which the monitoring utility cannot directly extract canary statistics.


In order to speed up the fuzzing process, canaries can be configured to use ISAN mode, but only when applicable. It is possible to forego the overhead of runtime sanitizers (like ASan, MSan, UBSan, etc...) when the fuzzer only relies on the SIGSEGV signal triggered by such sanitizers to detect faulty behavior. Instead, the canaries themselves could be used as indicators of faulty behavior, by configuring them to send such a signal when bug trigger conditions are satisfied.

Thus, by launching the campaigns using ISAN, more fuzzer executions can be performed within the same time duration, allowing you to collect information about bugs Reached and Triggered. To collect statistics about bugs Detected, it would then suffice, in a post-processing step, to recompile the benchmark binaries with the sanitizer of choice and launch the target program with the fuzzer's reported crashing inputs, listening for any sanitizer-triggered crashes.

Even though sanitizer crashes are the main fault symptoms, most fuzzers also configure a time limit and a memory limit, beyond which the program execution is considered faulty. It is then important to consider those as other forms of fault detection employed by the fuzzer and measure them during the post-processing step to make sure that no "crashing" (faulty) cases are misidentified.


The provided Dockerfile allows you to directly start running the benchmark against the deployed fuzzers by just running python3 in the tools/benchd/ directory.

Results will be saved in /root/campaigns, and the and scripts can be used to extract meaningful data from the fuzzer findings and monitor logs.

Known Issues

  • poppler does not compile in x86-32 with the current build system.
  • In order to run honggfuzz in Docker, the SYS_PTRACE capability must be added to the container at creation.
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