hardening-check [options] [ELF ...]
Examine a given set of ELF binaries and check for several security
hardening features, failing if they are not all found.
This utility checks a given list of ELF binaries for several security
hardening features that can be compiled into an executable. These
Position Independent Executable
This indicates that the executable was built in such a way
(PIE) that the "text" section of the program can be relocated
in memory. To take full advantage of this feature, the
executing kernel must support text Address Space Layout
This indicates that there is evidence that the ELF was compiled
with the gcc(1) option -fstack-protector (e.g. uses
__stack_chk_fail). The program will be resistant to having its
When an executable was built without any character arrays being
allocated on the stack, this check will lead to false alarms
(since there is no use of __stack_chk_fail), even though it was
compiled with the correct options.
Fortify Source functions
This indicates that the executable was compiled with
-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 and -O1 or higher. This causes certain
unsafe glibc functions with their safer counterparts (e.g.
strncpy instead of strcpy), or replaces calls that are
verifiable at runtime with the runtime-check version (e.g.
__memcpy_chk insteade of memcpy).
When an executable was built such that the fortified versions
of the glibc functions are not useful (e.g. use is verified as
safe at compile time, or use cannot be verified at runtime),
this check will lead to false alarms. In an effort to mitigate
this, the check will pass if any fortified function is found,
and will fail if only unfortified functions are found.
Uncheckable conditions also pass (e.g. no functions that could
be fortified are found, or not linked against glibc).
This indicates that the executable was build with -Wl,-z,relro
to have ELF markings (RELRO) that ask the runtime linker to
mark any regions of the relocation table as "read-only" if they
were resolved before execution begins. This reduces the
possible areas of memory in a program that can be used by an
attacker that performs a successful memory corruption exploit.
No not require that the checked binaries be built with the
No not require that the checked binaries be built with Fority
No not require that the checked binaries be built with RELRO.
No not require that the checked binaries be built with
Only report failures.
Report verbosely on failures.
After the report, display all external functions needed by the
Instead of the regular report, locate the libc for the first
ELF on the command line and report all the known "fortified"
functions exported by libc.
Enable colorized status output.
Switch reporting to lintian-check-parsable output.
--debug Report some debugging during processing.
--help, -h, -?
Print a brief help message and exit.
Print the manual page and exit.
When all checked binaries have all checkable hardening features
detected, this program will finish with an exit code of 0. If any check
fails, the exit code with be 1. Individual checks can be disabled via
command line options.
Kees Cook <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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