Qualifier Challenge - NRFIN_00023

Original Versions

Known Vulnerabilities

  • CWE-122 - Heap-based Buffer Overflow
  • CWE-129 - Improper Validation of Array Index
  • CWE-190 - Integer Overflow or Wraparound
  • CWE-416 - Use After Free
  • CWE-822 - Untrusted Pointer Dereference
  • CWE-843 - Access of Resource Using Incompatible Type ('Type Confusion')
  • CWEs are listed as indicated by the challenge author.


  • ForAllSecure: 2.8
  • Disekt: 2.2
  • FuzzBOMB: 2.01
  • CodeJitsu: 0.0
  • Lekkertech: 0.0
  • TECHx: 0.0
  • Shellphish: 0.0
  • CSDS: 0.0
  • TrailofBits: 0.0
  • DeepRed: 0.0
  • The maximum score for each challenge in CQE is 4, following the CQE Scoring Document.

Passed consensus evaluation

Proved a POV in reference challenge

Defense against reference POVs

  • CodeJitsu: 100.0% - CB1
  • TECHx: 100.0% - CB1
  • CSDS: 100.0% - CB1
  • TrailofBits: 100.0% - CB1
  • DeepRed: 100.0% - CB1
  • ForAllSecure: 80.0% - CB1
  • Disekt: 20.0% - CB1
  • FuzzBOMB: 20.0% - CB1

No submission

  • Eighth Place Team
  • Eleventh Place Team
  • Fifth Place Team - Finalist
  • First Place Team - Finalist
  • Fourth Place Team - Finalist
  • Ninth Place Team
  • Second Place Team - Finalist
  • Seventh Place Team - Finalist
  • Sixth Place Team - Finalist
  • Tenth Place Team
  • Third Place Team - Finalist
  • Thirteenth Place Team
  • Twelfth Place Team

All Submissions

Author Information

"Maxwell Koo" info@narfindustries.com

DARPA performer group

Narf Industries (NRFIN)


This is an electronic trading system for matching buyers and sellers. Users can place buy and sell orders for various commodities and be automatically matched according to price, quantity and priority.

The system takes a series of commands in 20-byte packets, and produces textual output ending in a 4-byte sequence \x00\x00\x00\x00 on sucess, and \xff\xff\xff\xff on failure.

Feature List

The following commands are available: - List stocks (list all of the stocks with open orders in the system) - List orders (for a stock, list all open orders) - Place order (place a buy or sell limit order for a stock) - Check order (check the status of an order by ID) - Cancel order (cancel a previously placed order by ID)


The system uses heap addresses as ID numbers, trusting users to only check ID numbers for orders they have placed or have seen active from a list order command. There are several possible fixes, the one implemented checks all IDs to ensure they are members of the orders list. See src/stock.c:132-153. Challenges to patching involve a requirement for extra bookkeeping to ensure that supplied ID numbers are valid. This information exists in the unpatched program, but identifying the guards needed to validate ID numbers will involve a high-level understanding of the functioning of the program.

The system uses a user-controlled signed integer to represent an offset into an array without checking its lower bound, allowing accesses outside of the array. The implemented fix resolves this by computing an unsigned hash value. See src/stock.c:31-35. Patching will involve understanding which values will cause out-of-bound array accesses, understanding the mapping between string values and their hash values, and implementing guards to prevent invalid values from corrupting program state.

The system does not validate the length of stock symbol names before performing an unbounded copy to a heap-allocated buffer. The fix is to not use strcpy unsafely on untrusted input, instead using strncpy. See src/stock.c:123-127. This is an unbounded copy into a fixed-size buffer, patching will require adding in length checks to remove the possiblity of overflowing the buffer on unsafe operations such as strcpy.

The system uses heap allocated variables after freeing them. The implemented fix ensures that all references to heap-allocated chunks are removed prior to free-ing a chunk. See src/stock.c:88-92. Patching requires ensuring that all aliases of a heap-allocated chunk are removed when the chunk is freed, in order to ensure that dangling pointers aren't left into the freed chunk.

The system can be coerced to confuse a stock object as an order object or vice-versa.This can be addressed separately to the prior vulnerabilities through usage of mitigations and additional validations such as the simple tagging scheme implemented in the patched binary. See src/stock.[c|h] for all checks added against obj_tag. Patching will require detecting all operations which operate on one type object or another, and adding in the appropriate type checks.

Generic class of vulnerability

Dereference of untrusted pointer Integer overflow or wraparound Improper validation of array index Heap-based buffer overflow Use after free Access of resource using incompatible type

CWE classification

CWE-822 Dereference of untrusted pointer CWE-190 Integer overflow or wraparound CWE-129 Improper validation of array index CWE-122 Heap-based buffer overflow CWE-416 Use after free CWE-843 Access of resource using incompatible type


This CB is designed to contain several vulnerabilities of varying complexity in order to effectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a CRS.

  • The dereference of an untrusted pointer should be apparent through most rudimentary fuzzing approaches and from the leakage of a "heap-like" address for order IDs.

  • The signed integer array index is slightly harder to detect, requiring fuzzing which does not limit names to ascii values in order to generate a hash value which will trigger the vulnerability.

  • The buffer overflow, while perhaps apparent to a human auditor, will require an invalid argument value to be passed to the place order command (buy or sell argument is typically 0 or 1, needs to not contain nulls) along with strange prices and quantities to have an observable effect on the program's state.

  • The use-after-free bug requires analysis that spans multiple requests in order to create a sequence of commands which will cause program misbehavior, which are dependant on the global state of the program.

  • The type confusion vulnerability can be triggered in several different ways, but represents a distinct class of issue with this program.

Curated by Lunge Technology, LLC. Questions or comments? Send us email