Saturday, May 4, 2024

Navigating the Syzkaller Experience: A Bug Chasing Adventure

Eisenbug hunting

Assigned with the task of chasing down a bug, an eisen one, I found myself delving into the intricate world of Syzkaller, that has been used to report it. Prompted by a report from a quality engineer tester and armed with only a kernel splat and a tarblob containing the documentation generated by Syzkaller supposed to reproduce the bug, I embarked on a journey of discovery.

Syzkaller, for the uninitiated, is a powerful tool designed for system call fuzzing and possibly discover new bugs in the Linux kernel. It utilizes a domain-specific language to describe syscalls that would deserve a shout, but I'm not yet good enough to describe it in details.
Back to the original task assignment, unwrap into the provided tarblob revealed a sparse landscape, with only a file named corpus.db to outstanding from others. Unclear on its significance, I initially assumed it to be a list of syscalls triggering the bug, only to learn that it referred to a set of minimal syscalls set inputs maximizing code coverage. Syzkaller is driven by the code coverage to direct the fuzzing, and the file is the current state of the coverage it found.

Undeterred, I resolved to set up a Syzkaller instance to unravel its mysteries and anticipate the bug-hunting process. Building Syzkaller from source was the first step, a process that required a fair amount of time.

In order to have the system ready to start the test you need:

  • syzkaller binaries for the target architecture (host and test machine)
  • qemu for the test machine architecture
  • Kernel image prepared for the test machine architecture
  • userspace system image for the test machine architecture

syzkaller build, is quite stright forward task:

git clone cd syzkaller make HOSTOS=linux HOSTARCH=amd64 TARGETOS=linux TARGETARCH=arm64 -j$(nproc)

But for the test, syzkaller ssh identity is also needed.

ssh-keygen -f ./id-rsa

and provide a configuration:

{ "name": "QEMU-aarch64", "target": "linux/arm64", "http": ":56700", "workdir": "/home/alessandro/go/src/syzkaller/2test/corpus", "kernel_obj": "/home/alessandro/src/linux-6.8.9", "syzkaller": "/home/alessandro/go/src/syzkaller/", "enable_syscalls" : ["seccomp", "geteuid", "getresuid", "getegid", "getgid", "getgroups", "getresgid"], "sshkey": "/home/alessandro/go/src/syzkaller/2test/id_rsa", "image": "/home/alessandro/src/buildroot-2024.02.1/output/images/rootfs.ext2", "procs": 8, "type": "qemu", "vm": { "count": 1, "qemu": "/usr/local/bin/qemu-system-aarch64", "kernel": "/home/alessandro/src/linux-6.8.9/arch/arm64/boot/Image", "cpu": 2, "mem": 2048 } }

With Syzkaller primed for action, I turned my attention to preparing a suitable testing environment. Opting for a qemu instance as the target and a kernel syscall as the quarry, I embarked on a test aimed at gaining insight into Syzkaller. In other words, I sought to observe Syzkaller's behavior when encountering a bug, without investing my entire life in the process of searching a new bug. I chose the seccomp syscall due to its relatively low frequency in common workloads.

Seccomp, a mechanism for filtering system calls, served as the perfect candidate for my bug-hunting expedition. Armed with kernel code modifications, I prepared the groundwork for testing.

To expedite the bug-finding process, I intentionally created one. The following patch generates a crash in the seccomp syscall for 16 PIDs every 256.

diff --git a/kernel/seccomp.c b/kernel/seccomp.c index aca7b437882e..a0da35780eb8 100644 --- a/kernel/seccomp.c +++ b/kernel/seccomp.c @@ -2071,6 +2071,7 @@ static long do_seccomp(unsigned int op, unsigned int flags, SYSCALL_DEFINE3(seccomp, unsigned int, op, unsigned int, flags, void __user *, uargs) { + if ((current->pid & 0xff)<0x10) BUG(); return do_seccomp(op, flags, uargs); }

Next came the task of creating the userspace, for which I turned to Buildroot a nice tool for generating custom Linux userspaces. Using it, I opted for generating cpio and ext2 images to complement the kernel image.

After generating the userspace with Buildroot, my next objective was to create a kernel image that included the cpio as the initramfs. Since the scenario didn't require an elaborate userspace, my strategy was to merge the userspace directly into the kernel image. However, it seemed I counted my chickens before they hatched, as the 'image' argument in the configuration is mandatory. This meant that embedding the initramfs into the kernel made no difference as I had hoped. Now, I'm considering proposing a patch for syzkaller to make the 'image' argument optional. For the record, if you're looking to embed the initramfs into the kernel, CONFIG_INITRAMFS_SOURCE is the kernel config you'll need. Testing the image, however, presented a new challenge: incorporating the key to facilitate Syzkaller's access to the Linux image.

In tackling this obstacle, I explored two approaches: creating a new package or employing a post-build hook. Opting for the latter, I utilized the BR2_ROOTFS_POST_BUILD_SCRIPT symbol to integrate the required SSH key into the root filesystem.

The successive test I made, presented a new hurdle: my setup made syzkaller panic. Debugging revealed that Syzkaller expected debugfs to be mounted at its customary location, if not there it simply crashes. I, then, updated the post-build script to ensure debugfs was properly mounted.

Note for syzkaller users who want to use buildroot to create the userspace: watch for debugfs to be properly mounted!

Now that I had a working system at last, I delved into experimenting with Syzkaller, an impressive piece of software. However, upon examining the results, it became evident that the "bug reproduction" feature fell short in reproducing the bug I had intentionally inserted into the system. It seems that Syzkaller only considers the bug's dependency on syscall inputs, neglecting the kernel's internal state. The rather straightforward bug I introduced, where the bug's behavior depends on the PID value, renders the Syzkaller bug reproduction feature ineffective.

This is what you got hitting on "reproducing" link

Syzkaller hit 'kernel BUG in sys_seccomp' bug. The bug is not reproducible.

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