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Collaborative Fuzzing


In this cooperative framework, the fuzzers collaborate using a centralized scheduler.


The project consists of three parts: 1) the cooperative framework, 2) a scheduler, and 3) the drivers for the fuzzers. In this framework, the scheduler selects input seeds to be scheduled on different fuzzers, by communicating this over the fuzzer driver. At the same time the centralized scheduler collects newly generated inputs from the fuzzers, and repeats the loop.

Cooperative framework

Communication happens over ZeroMQ. The seeds are send with a message consisting of the fuzzer type ID and the seed (which contains the seed input and an optional conditional to be solved).


The scheduler component selects seed inputs from the global queue, evaluates them, and schedules them to the fuzzers.

Fuzzer drivers

The fuzzer drivers implement the communcation mechanisms with the centralized scheduler. The communication happens over ZeroMQ.

Docker setup

Th easiest way is to setup the framework using docker.

The setup consists of the following components:

  • fuzzer-framework
  • fuzzer-{afl,qsy,aflfast,fairfuzz..}-{target}
  • fuzzer-generic-driver

How to run:

  1. Setup virtualenv
    • virtualenv --python=python3 venv
    • source venv/bin/activate
  2. Build the container docker images (+ install deps):
    • make all
  3. Install the collab_fuzz_xxx tools
    • cd runners && python install
  4. Test run (runs 1 afl instance and collab framework):
    • mkdir myrun && cd myrun && collab_fuzz_compose -f afl --scheduler=enfuzz -- objdump && docker-compose up
    • To run with more fuzzers (2 afl + qsym + fairfuzz + aflfast): collab_fuzz_runner -f afl afl qsym fairfuzz aflfast --scheduler=enfuzz -- who

Alternatively, to avoid the long building times, you can fetch the docker images from a remote repo. For example collab_fuzz_build --remote --pull-reqs to pull all images.

Extra info

The afl__generic_driver runs in a container (fuzzer-generic-driver). This container needs to be privileged and mount /var/run/docker.sock, such that it can control the container of the fuzzer to sync with.

Docker settings

The logs generated by the containers might eat up a lot of space on your machine. To avoid this, edit your daemon.json (typically /etc/docker/daemon.json) to contain something like:

    "log-level":        "error",
    "storage-driver":   "overlay2",
    "log-opts": {
	    "max-size": "512m"

Binutils Quickstart guide

At the moment the LAVA-M and GFT builds are broken. Binutils should still work, though.

Setup virtualenv

* ```virtualenv --python=python3 venv```
* ```source venv/bin/activate```

Build the framework (for now only supports binutils, other builds are broken):

make framework-binutils

Build fuzzer base images:

Remember the AFL/QSYM prerequisites (needed on every reboot):

echo 0 | sudo tee /proc/sys/kernel/yama/ptrace_scope
cd /sys/devices/system/cpu
echo performance | sudo tee cpu*/cpufreq/scaling_governor

Then build the docker images (we only build AFL for now):

cd docker && make fuzzer-afl

Build helper tools

make tools

You might need to install the collab_fuzz_runner tools in the following way:

cd runner && make collab_fuzz_runner

Build actual targets (for now only build binutils)

collab_fuzz_build -f afl -t objdump

Or to build all of binutils for all fuzzers: collab_fuzz_build -s binutils

Test it all (run objdump with afl)

mkdir tmp_run && cd tmp_run && collab_fuzz_compose -f afl -- objdump

And then try to start the campaign:

docker-compose up --abort-on-container-exit

To clean up the campaign after exiting (i.e., delete the volumes): docker-compose down -v


CollabFuzz was presented at EuroSec 2021. CollabFuzz: A Framework for Collaborative Fuzzing.

Video: available on YouTube


	title = {{CollabFuzz}: {A} {Framework} for {Collaborative} {Fuzzing}},
	booktitle = {{EuroSec}},
	author = {Österlund, Sebastian and Geretto, Elia and Jemmett, Andrea and Güler, Emre and Görz, Philipp and Holz, Thorsten and Giuffrida, Cristiano and Bos, Herbert},
	month = apr,
	year = {2021},

Related work

If you are interested in collaborative fuzzing, also check out our work on how to select the right set of fuzzers to use in a collaborative setting: Cupid: Automatic Fuzzer Selection for Collaborative Fuzzing. Code:


CollabFuzz: A Framework for Collaborative Fuzzing




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