Shaleen Jain

· 1 min read

Fuzzing libVLC - Improvements

I have been making some few specific improvement to demux fuzz target and also working on the decoder target side by side which isn’t done yet.

Some general improvements that I have made for all fuzz targets is abstracting away and initializing the parent libvlc_instance_t object in LLVMFuzzerInitialize which obviously has some performance improvements as it isn’t created and destroyed on every run of the LLVMFuzzerTestOneInput.

🔗 fuzzer_common.c

#include <assert.h>

#include "fuzzer.h"
static libvlc_instance_t *p_libvlc;

extern int LLVMFuzzerInitialize(int *argc, char ***argv)
	setenv("VLC_PLUGIN_PATH", "../../modules", 1);
	p_libvlc = libvlc_new(0, NULL);
	assert(p_libvlc != NULL);
	return 0;

extern int LLVMFuzzerTestOneInput(const uint8_t *buf, size_t len) {
    return FuzzerTestOneInput(buf, len, p_libvlc);

void FuzzerCleanup(void)

Another benefit of this abstraction is that our fuzz targets are now completely agnostic to the fuzzing engine we use which has been libFuzzer until now. We can now use the exact same target with AFL by writing a driver, since AFL expects a main function, here is an example driver.

🔗 Dictionaries

At this point the demux fuzzer had found a few more bugs but it had kind of reached a saturation point in terms of the line coverage it had and it just wasn’t increasing any more significantly with new sample input.

So I decided instead of adding sample files of every possible video file format with different types of chunks and atoms that VLC supports, to create a keywords dictionary of magic values of the various file formats and feed it to the demux target. Libfuzzer has in-built support for dictionary files and can much more efficiently create structured inputs with it.

libFuzzer and AFL have the same syntax of dictionary files and the AFL project even has some excellent dictionaries for JPEG, PNG and GIF file formats. And you guessed it VLC can actually “Play” those files as well since ffmpeg provides their codec as well.

I’m still working on the dictionary and I’ll maybe post it once it’s completed or if it’s ever merged into the VLC codebase.

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