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Safe C Library - README
This project's licensing restrictions are documented in the file 'COPYING'
under the root directory of this release. Basically it's MIT licensed.
This library implements the secure C11 Annex K functions on top of most libc
implementations, which are missing from them.
The ISO TR24731 Bounds Checking Interface documents indicate that the key
motivation for the new specification is to help mitigate the ever increasing
security attacks, specifically the buffer overrun.
The rationale document says ``Buffer overrun attacks continue to be a security
problem. Roughly 10% of vulnerability reports cataloged by CERT from
01/01/2005 to 07/01/2005 involved buffer overflows. Preventing buffer overruns
is the primary, but not the only, motivation for this technical report.''
The rationale document continues ``that these only mitigate, that is lessen,
security problems. When used properly, these functions decrease the danger
buffer overrun attacks. Source code may remain vulnerable due to other bugs
and security issues. The highest level of security is achieved by building in
layers of security utilizing multiple strategies.''
.The rationale document lists the following key points for TR24731:
- Guard against overflowing a buffer
- Do not produce unterminated strings
- Do not unexpectedly truncate strings
- Provide a library useful to existing code
- Preserve the null terminated string datatype
- Only require local edits to programs
- Library based solution
- Support compile-time checking
- Make failures obvious
- Zero buffers, null strings
- Runtime-constraint handler mechanism
- Support re-entrant code
- Consistent naming scheme
- Have a uniform pattern for the function parameters and return type
- Deference to existing technology
and the following can be added...
- provide a library of functions with like behavior
- provide a library of functions that promote and increase code safety and
- provide a library of functions that are efficient
The C11 Standard adopted many of these points, and added some secure
`_s` variants in the Annex K. The Microsoft Windows/MINGW secure API
did the same, but deviated in some functions from the standard.
Besides Windows (with its msvcrt, ucrt, reactos msvcrt and wine msvcrt
variants) only the unused stlport, Android's Bionic and Embarcadero
implemented this C11 secure Annex K API so far. They are still
missing from glibc, musl, FreeBSD, darwin and DragonFly libc, OpenBSD
libc, newlib, dietlibc, uClibc, minilibc.
Design Considerations
This library implements since 3.0 all functions defined in the
specifications. Included in the library are extensions to the specification
to provide a complementary set of functions with like behavior.
This library is meant to be used on top of all the existing libc's
which miss the secure C11 functions. Of course tighter integration
into the system libc would be better, esp. with the printf, scanf and
IO functions. See the seperate [libc-overview](doc/ document.
Austin Group Review of ISO/IEC WDTR 24731
C11 standard (ISO/IEC 9899:2011)
Stackoverflow discussion:
DrDobbs review
C17 reconsidered safeclib but looked only at the old incomplete Cisco version,
not our complete and fixed version.
* Use of errno
The TR24731 specification says an implementation may set errno for the
functions defined in the technical report, but is not required to.
This library does not set `errno` in most functions, only in
bsearch_s, fscanf_s, fwscanf_s, gets_s, gmtime_s, localtime_s,
scanf_s, sscanf_s, swscanf_s, strtok_s, vfscanf_s,
vfwscanf_s, vsscanf_s, vswscanf_s, wcstok_s, wscanf_s.
In most cases the safeclib extended ES* errors do not set errno, only
when the underlying insecure system call fails, errno is set. The
library does use `errno` return codes as required by functional APIs.
Specific Safe C String and Safe C Memory errno codes are defined in
the `safe_errno.h` file.
* Runtime-constraints
Per the spec, the library verifies that the calling program does not violate
the function's runtime-constraints. If a runtime-constraint is violated, the
library calls the currently registered runtime-constraint handler.
Per the spec, multiple runtime-constraint violations in the same call to a
library function result in only one call to the runtime-constraint handler.
The first violation encountered invokes the runtime-constraint handler.
With `--disable-constraint-handler` calling the runtime-constraint handler
can be disabled, saving some memory, but not much run-time performance.
The runtime-constraint handler might not return. If the handler does
return, the library function whose runtime-constraint was violated
returns an indication of failure as given by the function’s return.
With valid dest and dmax values, dest is cleared. With the optional
`--disable-null-slack` only the first value of dest is cleared,
otherwise the whole dest buffer.
The specification defines a new type. This type, rsize_t, is
conditionally defined in the safe_lib.h header file.
The specification defines the macro RSIZE_MAX which expands to a value
of type rsize_t. The specification uses RSIZE_MAX for both the string
functions and the memory functions. This implementation defines two
macros: RSIZE_MAX_STR and RSIZE_MAX_MEM. RSIZE_MAX_STR defines the
range limit for the safe string functions. RSIZE_MAX_MEM defines the
range limit for the safe memory functions. The point is that string
limits can and should be different from memory limits.
* Compile-time constraints
With supporting compilers the dmax overflow checks and several more
are performed at compile-time. Currently only since clang-5 with
`diagnose_if` support. This checks similar to `_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2` if
the `__builtin_object_size` of the dest buffer is the same size as
dmax, and errors if dmax is too big. With the optional
`--enable-warn-dmax` it prints a warning if the sizes are different,
which is esp. practical as compile-time warning. It can be promoted
via the optional `--enable-error-dmax` to be fatal. On unsupported
compilers, the overflow check and optional equality warn-dmax check is
deferred to run-time. This check is only possible with
`__builtin_object_size` and `-O2` when the dest buffer size is known
at compile-time, otherwise only the simplier `dest == NULL`, `dmax ==
0` and `dmax > RSIZE_MAX` checks are performed.
* Header Files
The specification states the various functions would be added to
existing Standard C header files: stdio.h, string.h, etc. This
implementation separates the memory related functions into the
`safe_mem_lib.h` header, the string related functions into the
`safe_str_lib.h` header, and the rest into the `safe_lib.h`
header. There are also the internal `safe_compile.h`, `safe_config.h`
`safe_lib_errno.h` and `safe_types.h` headers, but they do not need to
be included.
The make file builds a single library `libsafec-VERSION.a` and `.so` in the
`src/.libs` directory.
Built but not installed are also libmemprims, libsafeccore and libstdunsafe.
It is possible to split the make such that a separate `` and
`` are built. It is also possible to integrate the prototypes
into the Standard C header files, but that may require changes to your
development tool chain.
Userspace Library
The build system for the userspace library is the well known *GNU build
system*, a.k.a. Autotools. This system is well understood and supported
by many different platforms and distributions which should allow this
library to be built on a wide variety of platforms. See the
xref:tested-platforms[``Tested Platforms''] section for details on what
platforms this library was tested on during its development.
* Building
For those familiar with autotools you can probably skip this part. For those
not and want to get right to building the code see below. And, for those that
need additional information see the 'INSTALL' file in the same directory.
.To build you do the following:
$ ./build-tools/
$ ./configure
$ make
`` only needs to be run if you are building from the git
repository. Optionally, you can do `make check` if you want to run the unit
* Installing
Installation must be preformed by `root`, an `Administrator' on most
systems. The following is used to install the library.
$ sudo make install
Safe Linux Kernel Module
The build for the kernel module has not been integrated into the autotools
build infrastructure. Consequently, you have to run a different makefile to
build the kernel module.
* Building
.To build do the following:
$ ./configure --disable-wchar
$ make -f Makefile.kernel
This assumes you are compiling on a Linux box and this makefile supports the
standard kernel build system infrastructure documented in:
NOTE: If you build the kernel module then wish to build the userspace library
or vice versa you will need to do a +make clean+ otherwise a +make check+
will fail to build.
* Installing
The kernel module will be found at the root of the source tree called
'slkm.ko'. The file 'testslkm.ko' are the unit tests run on the userspace
library but in Linux kernel module form to verify functionality within the
Tested Platforms
.The library has been tested on the following systems:
- Mac OS X 10.6-12 w/ Apple developer tools and macports (all gcc's + clang's)
- Linux Debian 9-11 amd64/i386 glibc 2.24 + 2.25 (all gcc's + clang's)
- Linux centos 7 amd64
- Linux Void amd64 musl-1.1.16
- x86_64-w64-mingw32 native and cross-compiled
- i686-w64-mingw32 native, and cross-compiled and tested under wine
- i386-mingw32 cross-compiled
- cygwin32 gcc (newlib)
- cygwin64 gcc -std=c99 (newlib)
- freebsd 10.3 amd64
- arm-linux-gnueabihf cross-compiled and tested under qemu (under darwin and debian)
- User Mode Linux (UML), Linux kernel version v3.5.3 w/ Debian Squeeze rootfs
with most available compilers. See `build-tools/`.
Known Issues
1. If you are building the library from the git repository you will have to
first run `build-tools/` which runs autoreconf to ``install'' the
autotools files and create the configure script.
- [[[1]]] Programming languages, their environments and system software
interfaces, Extensions to the C Library, Part I: Bounds-checking
interfaces, ISO/IEC TR 24731-1.
- [[[2]]] Rationale for TR 24731 Extensions to the C Library Part I:
Bounds-checking interfaces, ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG14 N1225.
- [[[3]]] The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7
- [[[4]]] CERT C Secure Coding Standard
- [[[5]]] C11 Standard (ISO/IEC 9899:2011) Annex K
- [[[6]]] DrDobbs review
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