A recently discovered vulnerability in the Binutils objdump utility, tagged with CVE-identifier CVE-2022-47696, allows attackers to exploit a weakness in the compare_symbols function to cause a denial of service or potentially other unspecified impacts. This vulnerability affects Binutils objdump versions prior to 2.39.3.

Understanding the Issue

CVE-2022-47696 has been identified in the Binutils objdump, which is an essential utility for binary file analysis. Objdump helps developers and security researchers to reverse-engineer and analyze binary files by displaying information about their structure and contents. The affected function, compare_symbols, is part of this utility's core functionality. Attackers can exploit this weakness in the function to trigger a denial of service or potentially other unexpected behaviors that could lead to compromise.

A code snippet of the vulnerable compare_symbols function in Binutils objdump is shown below

static int
compare_symbols (const PTR ap, const PTR bp)
  const symbol_info *a = (const symbol_info *) ap;
  const symbol_info *b = (const symbol_info *) bp;

  if (nondynamic && (a->type == '!' || b->type == '!'))
    return ;

  // ... additional code ...

Exploit Details

To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker needs to craft a specific input file that, when processed by a vulnerable version of the Binutils objdump tool, triggers the issue in the compare_symbols function. This may cause the affected function to mishandle certain symbol comparisons, resulting in a denial of service or other unintended behaviors that could impact the stability and functionality of the system or application using objdump.

It is essential to note that exploiting this vulnerability may require specialized knowledge and understanding of binary file formats, as well as access to the specific vulnerable versions of the affected software. Developers and users should prioritize applying the necessary patches and updates as they become available.

Original References

The vulnerability was initially reported and documented by the concerned parties involved in the development and maintenance of Binutils. For more information about CVE-2022-47696 and details about affected versions and patches, please refer to these original references:

1. NVD - CVE-2022-47696: https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2022-47696
2. Binutils Homepage: https://www.gnu.org/software/binutils/
3. Binutils Repository: https://sourceware.org/git/gitweb.cgi?p=binutils-gdb.git;a=blob;f=bfd/doc/binutils.texi

Mitigation and Recommendations

To mitigate the risks associated with CVE-2022-47696, developers and users should take the following steps:

1. Update to Binutils version 2.39.3 or later, where the vulnerability has been fixed. The latest Binutils release can be downloaded from the official project homepage: https://www.gnu.org/software/binutils/
2. Be cautious when using the vulnerable objdump tool on untrusted binary files. Limit the use of objdump to trusted inputs and sources where possible, to minimize the risk of exploiting the vulnerability.
3. Keep your software and systems updated with the latest security patches and fixes to maintain a strong security posture.


CVE-2022-47696 highlights the importance of staying informed about known vulnerabilities and applying software updates in a timely manner. By understanding the details of this vulnerability and taking appropriate action, developers and IT professionals can help minimize the risks associated with this issue and maintain a secure environment for themselves and their users.


Published on: 08/22/2023 19:16:00 UTC
Last modified on: 08/26/2023 02:15:00 UTC