IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems
Online ISSN : 1745-1361
Print ISSN : 0916-8532
Regular Section
Detecting Unsafe Raw Pointer Dereferencing Behavior in Rust
Zhijian HUANGYong Jun WANGJing LIU
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2018 Volume E101.D Issue 8 Pages 2150-2153


The rising systems programming language Rust is fast, efficient and memory safe. However, improperly dereferencing raw pointers in Rust causes new safety problems. In this paper, we present a detailed analysis into these problems and propose a practical hybrid approach to detecting unsafe raw pointer dereferencing behaviors. Our approach employs pattern matching to identify functions that can be used to generate illegal multiple mutable references (We define them as thief function) and instruments the dereferencing operation in order to perform dynamic checking at runtime. We implement a tool named UnsafeFencer and has successfully identified 52 thief functions in 28 real-world crates*, of which 13 public functions are verified to generate multiple mutable references.

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© 2018 The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers
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