Complementary tools

Fuzzing should not be performed in isolation. Access to the source code and various types of instrumentation is a defender advantage that should not be taken lightly! Seldom is it the case in computer security that the defender has the advantage, and this gift should be used to full effect.

Instrumentation

Code coverage

Code coverage tools allow developers to measure which lines of code (and possibly branches) execute in a binary. This technique is frequently used to identify gaps in unit or functional testing coverage. It is also a very important metric for fuzzing.

If your fuzzer isn't running a line of code, how can it possibly find a bug on that line? Feedback using the source code is important and we need the help of our users and members to improve the tools. Some code coverage frameworks for popular languages are listed below.

Running code coverage tools during your fuzzing sessions can help you understand your testing gaps. This feedback can help you prioritize your other types of tests to mitigate these gaps.

Automatak uses code coverage analysis from partner source code to improve our fuzzing tools. If you identify gaps where you'd like to see the fuzzing tools provide enhanced coverage, please let us now.

Dynamic analysis

Dynamic analysis refers to analyzing the runtime properties of a piece of software using instrumentation. It is useful when combined with fuzzing to identify defects that may not cause an immediate crash such as:

The most effective tools of this type fully virtualize your software, tracking all OS calls and memory allocations. On Linux, Valgrind is an excellent example of such a tool:

The memcheck tool, in particular, is indispensable for detecting a wide range of memory problems.