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UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer (UBSan) is a fast undefined behavior detector.
UBSan modifies the program at compile-time to catch various kinds of undefined
behavior during program execution, for example:
* Array subscript out of bounds, where the bounds can be statically determined
* Bitwise shifts that are out of bounds for their data type
* Dereferencing misaligned or null pointers
* Signed integer overflow
* Conversion to, from, or between floating-point types which would
overflow the destination
See the full list of available :ref:`checks <ubsan-checks>` below.
UBSan has an optional run-time library which provides better error reporting.
The checks have small runtime cost and no impact on address space layout or ABI.
How to build
Build LLVM/Clang with `CMake <>`_.
Use ``clang++`` to compile and link your program with ``-fsanitize=undefined``
flag. Make sure to use ``clang++`` (not ``ld``) as a linker, so that your
executable is linked with proper UBSan runtime libraries. You can use ``clang``
instead of ``clang++`` if you're compiling/linking C code.
.. code-block:: console
% cat
int main(int argc, char **argv) {
int k = 0x7fffffff;
k += argc;
return 0;
% clang++ -fsanitize=undefined
% ./a.out runtime error: signed integer overflow: 2147483647 + 1 cannot be represented in type 'int'
You can enable only a subset of :ref:`checks <ubsan-checks>` offered by UBSan,
and define the desired behavior for each kind of check:
* ``-fsanitize=...``: print a verbose error report and continue execution (default);
* ``-fno-sanitize-recover=...``: print a verbose error report and exit the program;
* ``-fsanitize-trap=...``: execute a trap instruction (doesn't require UBSan run-time support).
* ``-fno-sanitize=...``: disable any check, e.g., -fno-sanitize=alignment.
Note that the ``trap`` / ``recover`` options do not enable the corresponding
sanitizer, and in general need to be accompanied by a suitable ``-fsanitize=``
For example if you compile/link your program as:
.. code-block:: console
% clang++ -fsanitize=signed-integer-overflow,null,alignment -fno-sanitize-recover=null -fsanitize-trap=alignment
the program will continue execution after signed integer overflows, exit after
the first invalid use of a null pointer, and trap after the first use of misaligned
.. _ubsan-checks:
Available checks
Available checks are:
- ``-fsanitize=alignment``: Use of a misaligned pointer or creation
of a misaligned reference. Also sanitizes assume_aligned-like attributes.
- ``-fsanitize=bool``: Load of a ``bool`` value which is neither
``true`` nor ``false``.
- ``-fsanitize=builtin``: Passing invalid values to compiler builtins.
- ``-fsanitize=bounds``: Out of bounds array indexing, in cases
where the array bound can be statically determined. The check includes
``-fsanitize=array-bounds`` and ``-fsanitize=local-bounds``. Note that
``-fsanitize=local-bounds`` is not included in ``-fsanitize=undefined``.
- ``-fsanitize=enum``: Load of a value of an enumerated type which
is not in the range of representable values for that enumerated
- ``-fsanitize=float-cast-overflow``: Conversion to, from, or
between floating-point types which would overflow the
destination. Because the range of representable values for all
floating-point types supported by Clang is [-inf, +inf], the only
cases detected are conversions from floating point to integer types.
- ``-fsanitize=float-divide-by-zero``: Floating point division by
zero. This is undefined per the C and C++ standards, but is defined
by Clang (and by ISO/IEC/IEEE 60559 / IEEE 754) as producing either an
infinity or NaN value, so is not included in ``-fsanitize=undefined``.
- ``-fsanitize=function``: Indirect call of a function through a
function pointer of the wrong type (Darwin/Linux, C++ and x86/x86_64
- ``-fsanitize=implicit-unsigned-integer-truncation``,
``-fsanitize=implicit-signed-integer-truncation``: Implicit conversion from
integer of larger bit width to smaller bit width, if that results in data
loss. That is, if the demoted value, after casting back to the original
width, is not equal to the original value before the downcast.
The ``-fsanitize=implicit-unsigned-integer-truncation`` handles conversions
between two ``unsigned`` types, while
``-fsanitize=implicit-signed-integer-truncation`` handles the rest of the
conversions - when either one, or both of the types are signed.
Issues caught by these sanitizers are not undefined behavior,
but are often unintentional.
- ``-fsanitize=implicit-integer-sign-change``: Implicit conversion between
integer types, if that changes the sign of the value. That is, if the the
original value was negative and the new value is positive (or zero),
or the original value was positive, and the new value is negative.
Issues caught by this sanitizer are not undefined behavior,
but are often unintentional.
- ``-fsanitize=integer-divide-by-zero``: Integer division by zero.
- ``-fsanitize=nonnull-attribute``: Passing null pointer as a function
parameter which is declared to never be null.
- ``-fsanitize=null``: Use of a null pointer or creation of a null
- ``-fsanitize=nullability-arg``: Passing null as a function parameter
which is annotated with ``_Nonnull``.
- ``-fsanitize=nullability-assign``: Assigning null to an lvalue which
is annotated with ``_Nonnull``.
- ``-fsanitize=nullability-return``: Returning null from a function with
a return type annotated with ``_Nonnull``.
- ``-fsanitize=objc-cast``: Invalid implicit cast of an ObjC object pointer
to an incompatible type. This is often unintentional, but is not undefined
behavior, therefore the check is not a part of the ``undefined`` group.
Currently only supported on Darwin.
- ``-fsanitize=object-size``: An attempt to potentially use bytes which
the optimizer can determine are not part of the object being accessed.
This will also detect some types of undefined behavior that may not
directly access memory, but are provably incorrect given the size of
the objects involved, such as invalid downcasts and calling methods on
invalid pointers. These checks are made in terms of
``__builtin_object_size``, and consequently may be able to detect more
problems at higher optimization levels.
- ``-fsanitize=pointer-overflow``: Performing pointer arithmetic which
overflows, or where either the old or new pointer value is a null pointer
(or in C, when they both are).
- ``-fsanitize=return``: In C++, reaching the end of a
value-returning function without returning a value.
- ``-fsanitize=returns-nonnull-attribute``: Returning null pointer
from a function which is declared to never return null.
- ``-fsanitize=shift``: Shift operators where the amount shifted is
greater or equal to the promoted bit-width of the left hand side
or less than zero, or where the left hand side is negative. For a
signed left shift, also checks for signed overflow in C, and for
unsigned overflow in C++. You can use ``-fsanitize=shift-base`` or
``-fsanitize=shift-exponent`` to check only left-hand side or
right-hand side of shift operation, respectively.
- ``-fsanitize=unsigned-shift-base``: check that an unsigned left-hand side of
a left shift operation doesn't overflow.
- ``-fsanitize=signed-integer-overflow``: Signed integer overflow, where the
result of a signed integer computation cannot be represented in its type.
This includes all the checks covered by ``-ftrapv``, as well as checks for
signed division overflow (``INT_MIN/-1``), but not checks for
lossy implicit conversions performed before the computation
(see ``-fsanitize=implicit-conversion``). Both of these two issues are
handled by ``-fsanitize=implicit-conversion`` group of checks.
- ``-fsanitize=unreachable``: If control flow reaches an unreachable
program point.
- ``-fsanitize=unsigned-integer-overflow``: Unsigned integer overflow, where
the result of an unsigned integer computation cannot be represented in its
type. Unlike signed integer overflow, this is not undefined behavior, but
it is often unintentional. This sanitizer does not check for lossy implicit
conversions performed before such a computation
(see ``-fsanitize=implicit-conversion``).
- ``-fsanitize=vla-bound``: A variable-length array whose bound
does not evaluate to a positive value.
- ``-fsanitize=vptr``: Use of an object whose vptr indicates that it is of
the wrong dynamic type, or that its lifetime has not begun or has ended.
Incompatible with ``-fno-rtti``. Link must be performed by ``clang++``, not
``clang``, to make sure C++-specific parts of the runtime library and C++
standard libraries are present.
You can also use the following check groups:
- ``-fsanitize=undefined``: All of the checks listed above other than
``float-divide-by-zero``, ``unsigned-integer-overflow``,
``implicit-conversion``, ``local-bounds`` and the ``nullability-*`` group
of checks.
- ``-fsanitize=undefined-trap``: Deprecated alias of
- ``-fsanitize=implicit-integer-truncation``: Catches lossy integral
conversions. Enables ``implicit-signed-integer-truncation`` and
- ``-fsanitize=implicit-integer-arithmetic-value-change``: Catches implicit
conversions that change the arithmetic value of the integer. Enables
``implicit-signed-integer-truncation`` and ``implicit-integer-sign-change``.
- ``-fsanitize=implicit-conversion``: Checks for suspicious
behavior of implicit conversions. Enables
``implicit-signed-integer-truncation``, and
- ``-fsanitize=integer``: Checks for undefined or suspicious integer
behavior (e.g. unsigned integer overflow).
Enables ``signed-integer-overflow``, ``unsigned-integer-overflow``,
``shift``, ``integer-divide-by-zero``,
``implicit-signed-integer-truncation``, and
- ``-fsanitize=nullability``: Enables ``nullability-arg``,
``nullability-assign``, and ``nullability-return``. While violating
nullability does not have undefined behavior, it is often unintentional,
so UBSan offers to catch it.
The ``null``, ``alignment``, ``object-size``, ``local-bounds``, and ``vptr`` checks do not apply
to pointers to types with the ``volatile`` qualifier.
Minimal Runtime
There is a minimal UBSan runtime available suitable for use in production
environments. This runtime has a small attack surface. It only provides very
basic issue logging and deduplication, and does not support
``-fsanitize=function`` and ``-fsanitize=vptr`` checking.
To use the minimal runtime, add ``-fsanitize-minimal-runtime`` to the clang
command line options. For example, if you're used to compiling with
``-fsanitize=undefined``, you could enable the minimal runtime with
``-fsanitize=undefined -fsanitize-minimal-runtime``.
Stack traces and report symbolization
If you want UBSan to print symbolized stack trace for each error report, you
will need to:
#. Compile with ``-g`` and ``-fno-omit-frame-pointer`` to get proper debug
information in your binary.
#. Run your program with environment variable
#. Make sure ``llvm-symbolizer`` binary is in ``PATH``.
The default log file for diagnostics is "stderr". To log diagnostics to another
file, you can set ``UBSAN_OPTIONS=log_path=...``.
Silencing Unsigned Integer Overflow
To silence reports from unsigned integer overflow, you can set
``UBSAN_OPTIONS=silence_unsigned_overflow=1``. This feature, combined with
``-fsanitize-recover=unsigned-integer-overflow``, is particularly useful for
providing fuzzing signal without blowing up logs.
Issue Suppression
UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer is not expected to produce false positives.
If you see one, look again; most likely it is a true positive!
Disabling Instrumentation with ``__attribute__((no_sanitize("undefined")))``
You disable UBSan checks for particular functions with
``__attribute__((no_sanitize("undefined")))``. You can use all values of
``-fsanitize=`` flag in this attribute, e.g. if your function deliberately
contains possible signed integer overflow, you can use
This attribute may not be
supported by other compilers, so consider using it together with
``#if defined(__clang__)``.
Suppressing Errors in Recompiled Code (Ignorelist)
UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer supports ``src`` and ``fun`` entity types in
:doc:`SanitizerSpecialCaseList`, that can be used to suppress error reports
in the specified source files or functions.
Runtime suppressions
Sometimes you can suppress UBSan error reports for specific files, functions,
or libraries without recompiling the code. You need to pass a path to
suppression file in a ``UBSAN_OPTIONS`` environment variable.
.. code-block:: bash
You need to specify a :ref:`check <ubsan-checks>` you are suppressing and the
bug location. For example:
.. code-block:: bash
There are several limitations:
* Sometimes your binary must have enough debug info and/or symbol table, so
that the runtime could figure out source file or function name to match
against the suppression.
* It is only possible to suppress recoverable checks. For the example above,
you can additionally pass
``-fsanitize-recover=signed-integer-overflow,alignment,vptr``, although
most of UBSan checks are recoverable by default.
* Check groups (like ``undefined``) can't be used in suppressions file, only
fine-grained checks are supported.
Supported Platforms
UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer is supported on the following operating systems:
* Android
* Linux
* NetBSD
* FreeBSD
* OpenBSD
* macOS
* Windows
The runtime library is relatively portable and platform independent. If the OS
you need is not listed above, UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer may already work for
it, or could be made to work with a minor porting effort.
Current Status
UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer is available on selected platforms starting from LLVM
3.3. The test suite is integrated into the CMake build and can be run with
``check-ubsan`` command.
Additional Configuration
UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer adds static check data for each check unless it is
in trap mode. This check data includes the full file name. The option
``-fsanitize-undefined-strip-path-components=N`` can be used to trim this
information. If ``N`` is positive, file information emitted by
UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer will drop the first ``N`` components from the file
path. If ``N`` is negative, the last ``N`` components will be kept.
For a file called ``/code/library/file.cpp``, here is what would be emitted:
* Default (No flag, or ``-fsanitize-undefined-strip-path-components=0``): ``/code/library/file.cpp``
* ``-fsanitize-undefined-strip-path-components=1``: ``code/library/file.cpp``
* ``-fsanitize-undefined-strip-path-components=2``: ``library/file.cpp``
* ``-fsanitize-undefined-strip-path-components=-1``: ``file.cpp``
* ``-fsanitize-undefined-strip-path-components=-2``: ``library/file.cpp``
More Information
* From Oracle blog, including a discussion of error messages:
`Improving Application Security with UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer (UBSan) and GCC
* From LLVM project blog:
`What Every C Programmer Should Know About Undefined Behavior
* From John Regehr's *Embedded in Academia* blog:
`A Guide to Undefined Behavior in C and C++