# Using KLEE on Coreutils

A lot of our work over the last year was on identifying and fixing obstacles to using KLEE with Rust and the main technique we used for finding new obstacles was to try to use KLEE with different Rust programs and libraries. One of the largest suites of programs we tackled was the Rust CoreUtils library: a Rust rewrite and drop in replacement for the GNU CoreUtils suite that includes programs like ls, cp, df, cat, and about 90 other standard Unix shell commands.

This is a brief summary of how to use RVT and KLEE on the Rust CoreUtils. My goal is that, by the end, you should be able to run KLEE on Rust CoreUtils and, hopefully, any other applications of similar complexity. At least in this post, I am not going to try to show the best way to use KLEE or all of the things that you can do with KLEE although I make a few suggestions at the end if you want to explore yourself.

## Setup

The first step is to fetch RVT and build a docker image (this will take about 15-20 minutes).

# install docker
sudo apt-get install -y docker
sudo usermod -aG docker USER # you may have to log out and back in to make the last command take effect # install RVT and build a docker image git clone https://github.com/project-oak/rust-verification-tools.git rvt cd rvt docker/build # fetch uutils coreutils git clone https://github.com/uutils/coreutils  And, from now on, let’s run everything in docker. This ensures that you are using the right version of the Rust compiler, etc. docker/run  (Actually, I find it convenient to have two terminals open: one not using docker that I run an editor in and one inside docker where I execute commands.) ## Getting cargo-verify and KLEE to run on coreutils Let’s start with the first coreutils application: arch cd coreutils/src/uu/arch  Note that this is a good choice to start with because (as far as I know) the arch command cannot harm your system. If you go on to run ‘rm’ under KLEE, you should be ready for the fact that KLEE could ‘discover’ and execute commands like ‘rm -rf ..’ – deleting data you were wanting to keep. While running KLEE within Docker will help reduce the damage that can be done, you will want to build a more secure sandbox to run in before you try running all the coreutils applications in KLEE. To use KLEE on a Rust crate, you need to 1. Add some extra dependencies to the Cargo.toml file 2. Use RVT’s cargo-verify program to build the crate 3. Run KLEE on the resulting LLVM bitcode file The extra dependencies look like this and should be added to the end of coreutils/src/uu/arch/Cargo.toml. [target.'cfg(not(verify))'.dependencies] proptest = { version = "0.10" } [target.'cfg(verify)'.dependencies] propverify = { path="/home/rust-verification-tools/propverify" } [features] verifier-klee = ["propverify/verifier-klee"] verifier-crux = ["propverify/verifier-crux"] verifier-seahorn = ["propverify/verifier-seahorn"]  Note that these mention the PropTest property-based testing library, the Crux-MIR verifier and the SeaHorn verifier as well – I like to add the same text no matter what tool I am using but you could choose to omit propverify, verifier-crux and verifier-seahorn if you want a more minimal change. Note too that this assumes that you are running in Docker where we mount the Rust Verification Tools directory at “/home/rust-verification-tools/propverify”. Now we use RVT’s cargo-verify tool to build the crate and generate a bitcode file app.bc that is suitable for KLEE to use. cargo verify -v --bin arch -o app.bc  The -v flag increases verbosity which helps reduce anxiety a little since the command takes a minute or so to run. The --bin arch flag is required because the Cargo.toml file defines both a [lib] and a [[bin]] so we need to say that we want the bin. Finally, we run KLEE on the bitcode file klee --libc=klee --posix-runtime --disable-verify app.bc --sym-args 0 3 10 --sym-files 2 8  This produces a lot of output: warnings, output from the program being tested, etc. You may also have to use ctrl-C to quit KLEE: after a minute or so it doesn’t seem to produce any new output. We can slightly reduce the noise by explicitly disabling backtraces like this RUST_BACKTRACE=0 klee --libc=klee --posix-runtime --disable-verify app.bc --sym-args 0 3 10 --sym-files 2 8  This will eliminate all the messages about running with RUST_BACKTRACE=1 set. Let’s look at the remaining output a little at a time. The first three lines just tell us something about the KLEE configuration and can be ignored. KLEE: NOTE: Using POSIX model: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/klee/runtime/libkleeRuntimePOSIX64_Debug+Asserts.bca KLEE: output directory is "/home/rust-verification-tools/downloads/coreutils/src/uu/arch/klee-out-0" KLEE: Using STP solver backend  The next 20 lines or so are warnings that the bitcode file does not define some functions from the Rust runtime or standard libraries such as _Unwind_Backtrace and _ZN4core3fmt9Formatter15debug_upper_hex17h371aeb098993d32aE (which is the mangled version of core::fmt::Formatter::debug_upper_hex). These often don’t matter and, in any case, they will not prevent us from running KLEE so ignore these as well. After that, there are about 18 warnings that the bitcode file does not define some system calls or C standard library functions such as __fgetc_unlocked or writev. Some of these functions are called by the application being tested so they might cause a problem that we will need to revisit later but, again, they will not prevent us from running KLEE so, for now, we will ignore them. KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: __fgetc_unlocked KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: __fputc_unlocked KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: __rdos_backtrace_create_state KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: __rdos_backtrace_pcinfo KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: __rdos_backtrace_syminfo KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: __xpg_strerror_r KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: dladdr KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: endutent KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: getenv KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: getutent KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: mprotect KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: realpath KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: setutent KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: sigaltstack KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: signal KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: sysconf KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: utmpname KLEE: WARNING: undefined reference to function: writev  At this stage, KLEE has finished loading the bitcode file and it is ready to start symbolic execution of the program being tested. Some of the first things that the program is going to do is to call some of those missing functions and each time it does so, it produces a warning message. As you might expect by now, we are going to ignore those. KLEE: WARNING ONCE: Alignment of memory from call "malloc" is not modelled. Using alignment of 8. KLEE: WARNING ONCE: calling external: syscall(4, 94432679386248, 94432641680800) at runtime/POSIX/fd.c:544 12 KLEE: WARNING ONCE: calling __klee_posix_wrapped_main with extra arguments. KLEE: WARNING ONCE: calling external: signal(13, 1) at [no debug info] KLEE: WARNING ONCE: calling external: sysconf(30) at [no debug info] KLEE: WARNING ONCE: sigaction: silently ignoring KLEE: WARNING ONCE: calling external: sigaltstack(0, 94432681267360) at [no debug info] KLEE: WARNING ONCE: Alignment of memory from call "realloc" is not modelled. Using alignment of 8. KLEE: WARNING ONCE: calling external: uname(94432689661152) at .cargo/registry/src/github.com-1ecc6299db9ec823/platform-info-0.1.0/src/unix.rs:36 16 KLEE: WARNING ONCE: calling external: getenv(94432682275392) at [no debug info]  There is then an error report about strlen. KLEE: ERROR: runtime/klee-libc/strlen.c:14: memory error: out of bound pointer KLEE: NOTE: now ignoring this error at this location  It appears that the Rust standard library runs the C function strlen on the output of getenv and, for reasons that I do not fully understand, this triggers an error. The error does not appear if we use --libc=uclibc instead of --libc=klee which suggests that this is a minor problem with KLEE’s libc support so we can either ignore it or switch to --libc=uclibc. Most of the rest of the output is either output from the application or consists of messages from KLEE. (The first time that I ran this, there were also a lot of panic messages due to finding bugs in the UTF-8 handling. Those have since been fixed.) arch 0.0.7 x86_64 arch 0.0.7arch 0.0.7KLEE: WARNING ONCE: skipping fork (memory cap exceeded) KLEE: WARNING: killing 2452 states (over memory cap: 2101MB) arch 0.0.7arch 0.0.7arch 0.0.7 arch 0.0.7arch 0.0.7arch 0.0.7arch 0.0.7arch 0.0.7  ## More aggressive use of KLEE At this point, we are able to run KLEE on a coreutils application. It runs ok but it is not reporting anything actionable so let’s look at KLEE documentation on testing the GNU coreutils applications. That page recommends the following command line  klee --simplify-sym-indices --write-cvcs --write-cov --output-module \
--max-memory=1000 --disable-inlining --optimize --use-forked-solver \
--use-cex-cache --libc=uclibc --posix-runtime \
--external-calls=all --only-output-states-covering-new \
--env-file=test.env --run-in-dir=/tmp/sandbox \
--max-sym-array-size=4096 --max-solver-time=30s --max-time=60min \
--watchdog --max-memory-inhibit=false --max-static-fork-pct=1 \
--max-static-solve-pct=1 --max-static-cpfork-pct=1 --switch-type=internal \
--search=random-path --search=nurs:covnew \
--use-batching-search --batch-instructions=10000 \
./paste.bc \
--sym-args 0 1 10 --sym-args 0 2 2 --sym-files 1 8 --sym-stdin 8 --sym-stdout


This needs a couple of minor changes to make it work with Rust.

1. Our application is called app.bc, not paste.bc

2. We need to add the --disable-verify flag from above and drop the --optimize flag to avoid some issues in KLEE.

3. We can omit --use-cex-cache, --switch-type, --search and --batch-instructions because those are the default values. But it’s worth knowing about them if you want to try non-default settings.

4. We can omit --write-cov and --write-cvcs unless we want to look at the files that they generate.

5. The above code expects you to create a “sandbox” to prevent your application from damaging your system. Since we don’t think arch can do any harm, let’s skip that extra complication. YOLO!

This results in the following command

klee --disable-verify --simplify-sym-indices \
--output-module --max-memory=1000 --disable-inlining \
--use-forked-solver --libc=uclibc --posix-runtime \
--external-calls=all --only-output-states-covering-new \
--max-sym-array-size=4096 --max-solver-time=30s --max-time=60min --watchdog \
--max-memory-inhibit=false --max-static-fork-pct=1 --max-static-solve-pct=1 \
--max-static-cpfork-pct=1 --use-batching-search --batch-instructions=10000 \
./app.bc \
--sym-args 0 1 10 --sym-args 0 2 2 --sym-files 1 8 --sym-stdin 8 --sym-stdout


This results in warning messages like before followed by a lot of variations on the following output

error: Found argument '' which wasn't expected, or isn't valid in this context

USAGE:
app.bc



Amongst this output, we will occasionally see error messages like the following

unexpected invalid UTF-8 code point',
note: run with RUST_BACKTRACE=1 environment variable to display a backtrace


Looking at line 1685 of parser.rs we see that expect is being used to check that an argument was correctly converted to a string.

self.did_you_mean_error(arg.to_str().expect(INVALID_UTF8), matcher, &args_rest2[..])


As the author clearly recognized, this will panic if the argument is not legal UTF-8. It is a matter of taste whether this is the best way to report an error in user input and therefore whether this is a bug or working as intended. (A similar error is reported for line 33 of the same file.)

After running for a while (I got bored before the 60 minute timeout was reached), it looks as though KLEE is not going to find any further problems with the arch command so let’s try some different commands.

(If you want to spend more time with this command, you might investigate the contents of the klee-last directory. This will now contain lots of files with names like test000037.ktest. You can use ktest-tool test000037.ktest to look at the input for this test. And, if you want to see what parts of the code have (not) been hit, you can also examine run.istats using kcachegrind using our Rust name demangling tool.)

## Testing other commands

To test some other command we can repeat the steps above by executing the following commands in any directory. (You will need to change the --bin argument to cargo-verify to match the directory name.)

cat >> Cargo.toml << "EOF"

[target.'cfg(not(verify))'.dependencies]
proptest = { version = "0.10" }

[target.'cfg(verify)'.dependencies]
propverify = { path="/home/rust-verification-tools/propverify" }

[features]
verifier-klee = ["propverify/verifier-klee"]
verifier-crux = ["propverify/verifier-crux"]
verifier-seahorn = ["propverify/verifier-seahorn"]
EOF

cargo verify -v --clean --bin base64 -o app.bc

klee --disable-verify --simplify-sym-indices \
--output-module --max-memory=1000 --disable-inlining \
--use-forked-solver --libc=uclibc --posix-runtime \
--external-calls=all --only-output-states-covering-new \
--max-sym-array-size=4096 --max-solver-time=30s --max-time=60min --watchdog \
--max-memory-inhibit=false --max-static-fork-pct=1 --max-static-solve-pct=1 \
--max-static-cpfork-pct=1 --use-batching-search --batch-instructions=10000 \
./app.bc \
--sym-args 0 1 10 --sym-args 0 2 2 --sym-files 1 8 --sym-stdin 8 --sym-stdout


When run in coreutils/src/uu/base64, this produces a lot of error messages such as the following (each report was repeated many times).

base64: : No such file or directory
base64: extra operand ''
�: No such file or directory
Input with broken encoding occurred! (s = '�')


When run in the coreutils/src/uu/ls directory, this produces a lot of error messages such as the following (each report was repeated many times).

Input with broken encoding occurred! (s = '�')
ls: cannot access '': No such file or directory
error: The argument '--ignore <PATTERN>...' requires a value but none was supplied
error: The argument '--wrap <wrap>' requires a value but none was supplied
error: The argument '--width <COLS>' requires a value but none was supplied


We are seeing a lot of error messages – does this mean that we are finding bugs?

KLEE is exploring lots of different paths through the code and checking if any of those paths can fail. In the process, it is finding and checking lots of error handling code and so we are seeing the programs correctly detect incorrect input, report errors in that input and quit. We would expect to see something similar if we were fuzz-testing the same programs with random input data.

## Wrapping up

At this point, we can now compile the Rust CoreUtils for use with KLEE and we can run KLEE on these binaries. We also found some minor issues with UTF-8 encoding that it might be worth fixing.

Some possible next steps are:

• Setup a sandbox and repeat the experience on all of the coreutils programs. See CoreUtils experiments

• Find a way to filter out all the benign error reports generated when you run KLEE. A simple starting point might just be to pipe the output through sort -u or to pipe it through grep -v 'Input with broken encoding' or similar.

• Explore the coverage information in klee-last/run.istats files to understand what is being covered and what is not being tested. See this blog post and this post.

• Use the ktest files in klee-last/test*.ktest to generate testcases that rerun any errors that you find or that rerun all of the inputs that KLEE generated to help you detect any regressions. See this post

• Explore KLEE’s search heuristics (i.e., --search=...) to get KLEE to explore different parts of the behaviour of the programs it checks. See this page

• At the moment, we are relying on KLEE’s built in ability to generate random command line arguments, input files, etc. and to test entire applications. If we are willing to write a bit of code, we could write test harnesses that probe individual parts of the applications. I believe that this would be much more effective and it is what our tools and libraries are primarily intended to do – but I will leave that to a future post.

Enjoy!

[This post was originally posted as part of the Rust verification project]

Written on July 14, 2021.
The opinions expressed are my own views and not my employer's.