5-6 February 2018
Europe/Zurich timezone

Down the Rabbit Hole: Adventures in Bug-Hunting

6 Feb 2018, 10:45
31/3-004 - IT Amphitheatre (CERN)

31/3-004 - IT Amphitheatre


Show room on map


Crystal Chua (AARNet)


This talk covers a journey through fuzz-testing CERN's EOS file system with AFL, from compiling EOS with afl-gcc/afl-g++, to learning to use AFL, and finally, making sense of the results obtained.

Fuzzing is a software testing process that aims to find bugs, and subsequently potential security vulnerabilities, by attempting to trigger unexpected behaviour with random inputs. It is particularly effective on programs or libraries that handle file or input parsing as these areas are often susceptible to buffer overflow or other vulnerabilities, for example libxml2, ImageMagick and even the Bash shell.

This approach to automated bug discovery dates back to the early 1950s, and has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years as fuzzing tools become more sophisticated - and more importantly, easier to use. Of particular note is american fuzzy lop (AFL), a genetic fuzzer written by Michał Zalewski (lcamtuf@google), which has seen massive success - to date, it has been used in the discovery of over three hundred CVEs and many other non-exploitable bugs, in programs such as firefox, nginx, clang/llvm, and irssi.

Initial experimental fuzzing attempts against EOS with AFL have been promising, and it is hoped that further efforts to establish a process around this will be greatly beneficial in the long run.

Primary author

Presentation Materials