CVE-2023-25588 is a noteworthy vulnerability that was recently discovered in Binutils. The impact of this flaw is that it could potentially lead to application crashes and local denial of service (DoS) scenarios. This vulnerability stems from an uninitialized field the_bfd in the asymbol struct, specifically in the bfd_mach_o_get_synthetic_symtab function.

In this post, we will analyze the vulnerability, provide a code snippet that demonstrates the problem, and discuss the implications of exploiting this vulnerability. We will also include links to original references and resources for further information.

Vulnerability Analysis

Binutils is a collection of binary tools that are widely used in the GNU ecosystem for various tasks such as manipulating object files and assembling source code. The flaw emerges due to the field the_bfd of the asymbol struct being uninitialized in the bfd_mach_o_get_synthetic_symtab function.

Here is a code snippet that highlights the issue

asection *
bfd_mach_o_get_synthetic_symtab (bfd *abfd)
  asymbol *sym;
  for (..)
    sym = bfd_minisymbols_to_symbols (abfd, FALSE, syms, &count);

In the loop where


is called, the


field of the


struct is not initialized. This could lead to memory corruption and, ultimately, application crashes or even local denial of service scenarios.

Exploit Details

An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by supplying a crafted binary file that triggers the flaw when processed by any application using the vulnerable code from Binutils. By causing an application crash, the attacker could achieve a local denial of service, rendering critical services inoperable and disrupting the target system.

It is important to note that this vulnerability may be exploited only if an attacker has local access to the affected system. However, it could still have serious repercussions, particularly in multi-user environments and cloud-based systems where multiple users may share a single host.

Original References and Resources

The original discovery, analysis, and disclosure of this vulnerability were carried out in coordination with the following resources and organizations:

1. CVE-2023-25588 - The official CVE entry, where you can find the detailed technical information about the vulnerability.

2. Binutils Homepage - The official homepage of the Binutils project, where you can find more information about the binary tools, documentation, and source code.

3. GNU Security Advisories - A collection of security advisories and announcements related to GNU software projects, including Binutils.

In order to mitigate and remediate this vulnerability, we recommend the following steps

1. Update Binutils to the latest available version, which contains the necessary patches to address this vulnerability.

2. Monitor the official communication channels and repositories for any additional security advisories, patches, and updates related to this or similar vulnerabilities.

3. Ensure proper access controls are in place on systems utilizing Binutils, limiting the possibility of unauthorized file manipulation or code execution.


CVE-2023-25588, a vulnerability discovered in Binutils, highlights the importance of securing the software development tools and utilities we rely on. The uninitialized field the_bfd in the asymbol struct can cause application crashes and local denial of service, which can have significant impact on affected systems.

By staying informed about such vulnerabilities, monitoring communication channels for relevant security advisories, and diligently applying patches and updates as needed, we can mitigate the risks associated with this and similar flaws, helping to ensure a secure computing environment for all.


Published on: 09/14/2023 21:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 09/20/2023 17:10:00 UTC