Re: when to size_t for representing length instead of intâ?

From: none
Date: Sat Oct 15 2016 - 22:04:44 EST

Le 2016-10-14 01:37, Al Viro a ÃcritÂ:
On Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 12:12:43AM +0200, none wrote:

I wanted to known the rules in coding guidelines concerning the use of
It seems the signed int type is used most of the time for representing
string sizes, including in some parts written by Linus in /lib.
Theyâre can buffer overflows attack if ssize_t if larger than sizeof(int)
(though I agree this isnât the only way, but at least itÂs less error

Huh? size_t is the type of sizoef result; ssize_t is its signed counterpart.
With large strings, you can make buffer overflows by turning ints into negative values (this lead to cwe 195). However, they just crash the process and thus canât be used for remote code execution. So as long as the truncation canât lead to positive values thereâs nothing to fear (which mean using in instead of size_t is acceptable if the machine isnât big_endian).

So is it guaranteed for all current and future cpu architectures the Linux
kernel support that ssize_t will always be equal to sizeof(int)â?

Of course it isn't. Not true on any 64bit architecture we support...
No this is guaranteed, at least for amd64 because of -mcmodel=kernel
What attacks are, in your opinion, enabled by that fact? I'm sure that
libc (and C standard) folks would be very interested, considering that
e.g. strlen() is declared as function that takes a pointer to const char and
returns size_t...
Plenty attacks which leads to plenty types of cwe (192 or 190)â Basically you feed the software with a string which can fit in size_t but not in an unsigned int.
I call this âsize_t to positive int truncationâ attacks (too bad that thereâs no specific cwe for it). This rely on the following abi characteristicsÂ:
ââbeing able to get a variable representing the length of a string (which uses size_t because of malloc) to a positive value of a variable which use the âintâ type
ââbeing on little endian machine makes the remote execution easier (because bettes every odd values which count the number of times of sizeof(int) the buffer overflow will be positive).

But the best illustration of this is probably myself being listed in the top ten of because of that kind of bug in git :)