Talos Vulnerability Report


Videolabs libmicrodns 0.1.0 TXT record RDATA-parsing denial-of-service vulnerability

March 23, 2020
CVE Number



An exploitable denial-of-service vulnerability exists in the TXT record-parsing functionality of Videolabs libmicrodns 0.1.0. When parsing the RDATA section in a TXT record in mDNS messages, multiple integer overflows can be triggered, leading to a denial of service. An attacker can send an mDNS message to trigger this vulnerability.

Tested Versions

Videolabs libmicrodns 0.1.0

Product URLs


CVSSv3 Score

7.5 - CVSS:3.1/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:H


CWE-190: Integer Overflow or Wraparound


The libmicrodns library is an mDNS resolver that aims to be simple and compatible cross-platform.

The function mdns_recv reads and parses an mDNS message:

static int
mdns_recv(const struct mdns_conn* conn, struct mdns_hdr *hdr, struct rr_entry **entries)
        uint8_t buf[MDNS_PKT_MAXSZ];
        size_t num_entry, n;
        ssize_t length;
        struct rr_entry *entry;

        *entries = NULL;
        if ((length = recv(conn->sock, (char *) buf, sizeof(buf), 0)) < 0)       // [1]
                return (MDNS_NETERR);

        const uint8_t *ptr = mdns_read_header(buf, length, hdr);                 // [2]
        n = length;

        num_entry = hdr->num_qn + hdr->num_ans_rr + hdr->num_add_rr;
        for (size_t i = 0; i < num_entry; ++i) {
                entry = calloc(1, sizeof(struct rr_entry));
                if (!entry)
                        goto err;
                ptr = rr_read(ptr, &n, buf, entry, i >= hdr->num_qn);            // [3]
                if (!ptr) {
                        errno = ENOSPC;
                        goto err;
                entry->next = *entries;
                *entries = entry;

At [1], a message is read from the network. The 12-bytes mDNS header is then parsed at [2]. Based on the header info, the loop parses each resource record (“RR”) using the function rr_read [3].

const uint8_t *
rr_read(const uint8_t *ptr, size_t *n, const uint8_t *root, struct rr_entry *entry, int8_t ans)
        size_t skip;
        const uint8_t *p;

        p = ptr = rr_read_RR(ptr, n, root, entry, ans);               // [4]
        if (ans == 0) return ptr;

        for (size_t i = 0; i < rr_num; ++i) {
                if (rrs[i].type == entry->type) {
                        ptr = (*rrs[i].read)(ptr, n, root, entry);    // [5]
                        if (!ptr)
                                return (NULL);

The function rr_read_RR [4] reads the current resource record, except for the RDATA section. This is read by the loop at [5]. For each RR type, a different function is called. When the RR type is 0x10, the function rr_read_TXT is called at [5].

#define advance(x) ptr += x; *n -= x

static const uint8_t *
rr_read_TXT(const uint8_t *ptr, size_t *n, const uint8_t *root, struct rr_entry *entry)
        union rr_data *data = &entry->data;
        uint16_t len = entry->data_len;                         // [8]
        uint8_t l;

        if (*n == 0 || *n < len)
                return (NULL);

        for (; len > 0; len -= l + 1) {                         // [9]
                struct rr_data_txt *text;

                memcpy(&l, ptr, sizeof(l));                     // [6]
                if (*n < l)
                        return (NULL);
                text = malloc(sizeof(struct rr_data_txt));
                if (!text)
                        return (NULL);
                text->next = data->TXT;
                data->TXT = text;
                if (l > 0)
                        memcpy(text->txt, ptr, l);              // [7]
                text->txt[l] = '\0';
                advance(l);                                     // [10]
        return (ptr);

This function expects four parameters:

  • ptr: the pointer to the start of the label to parse
  • n: the number of remaining bytes in the message, starting from ptr
  • root: the pointer to the start of the mDNS message
  • entry: the entry struct, containing the parsed resource record

The function is supposed to extract each variable-length string from the RDATA section. In this case, it extracts a length in position 0 [6], and copies the data found in text->txt [7]. During this parsing, *n and len are decremented accordingly. In this loop, len tracks the number of characters left to read in the same RDATA section, as previously declared in the data_len field [8].

However, note that both *n and len are unsigned integers. This means that the loop will only stop when len is exactly equal to 0, or when *n is less than the length read in RDATA.

Also note that the advance macro is moving ptr forward and decrements *n (the number of bytes left in the packet) accordingly.

So, by making l at [6] equal to *n, and having at the same time len less than or equal to l, will cause *n to be 0 after [10], since we advance by l. Right after this, len overflows because l is bigger than len, making the loop itself cycle indefinitely. Then, a new l is read at [6], and advance is called again, making *n overflow. At this point both *n and len are overflown and the program will eventually crash with an out-of-bounds read at [7] or [6].


2020-01-30 - Vendor Disclosure
2020-03-20 - Vendor Patched
2020-03-23 - Public Release


Discovered by Claudio Bozzato of Cisco Talos.