Talos Vulnerability Report


Videolabs libmicrodns 0.1.0 resource record recursive label uncompression denial-of-service vulnerability

March 23, 2020
CVE Number



An exploitable denial-of-service vulnerability exists in the resource record-parsing functionality of Videolabs libmicrodns 0.1.0. When parsing compressed labels in mDNS messages, the compression pointer is followed without checking for recursion, 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-674: Uncontrolled Recursion


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-byte 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], which in turn calls rr_read_RR and then rr_decode.

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

 * Decodes a DN compressed format (RFC 1035)
 * e.g "\x03foo\x03bar\x00" gives "foo.bar"
static const uint8_t *
rr_decode(const uint8_t *ptr, size_t *n, const uint8_t *root, char **ss)
        char *s;

        s = *ss = malloc(MDNS_DN_MAXSZ);
        if (!s)
                return (NULL);

        if (*ptr == 0) {
                *s = '\0';
                return (ptr);
        while (*ptr) {                                                     // [4]
                size_t free_space;
                uint16_t len;

                free_space = *ss + MDNS_DN_MAXSZ - s;
                len = *ptr;

                /* resolve the offset of the pointer (RFC 1035-4.1.4) */
                if ((len & 0xC0) == 0xC0) {                                // [5]
                        const uint8_t *p;
                        char *buf;
                        size_t m;

                        if (*n < sizeof(len))
                                goto err;
                        len &= ~0xC0;
                        len = (len << 8) | *ptr;

                        p = root + len;
                        m = ptr - p + *n;                                  // [6]
                        rr_decode(p, &m, root, &buf);                      // [7]

The function rr_decode 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
  • ss: buffer used to build the domain name

At [4], the function loops for each character in the label and, if a pointer is found [5], the pointed label location and its maximum size is computed at [6], and the rr_decode function is called recursively [7].

Since there are no recursion checks, an attacker could send a message with a label which uses a pointer to point to itself, triggering an infinite recursion and exhausting the program’s stack, leading to a denial of service.


2020-01-30 - Vendor Disclosure

2020-03-20 - Vendor Patched
2020-03-23 - Public Release


Discovered by Claudio Bozzato of Cisco Talos.