Finding Memory Bugs with Google Address Sanitizer (ASAN) on Microcontrollers @McuOnEclipse

Erich Styger points out: Dangling pointers and memory corruption problems are nasty issues for any developer, and usually hard to find and locate in the code. Luckily Google has developed an open source tool to solve such issues: the Address Sanitizer (ASAN). The tool is available for x86 and other desktop style architectures, including Android and Linux. This article describes how ASAN can be used for an embedded target, e.g. ARM Cortex-M4 or similar.

ASAN is able to detect dangling pointer accesses (using a pointer on non-allocated memory or after the memory has been deallocated) or other illegal memory accesses which usually corrupt memory or are hard to find. The ASAN Google Wiki page shows different problems which can be detected. ASAN is part of GCC starting with version 4.8.

ASAN can be easily used with Embedded Linux systems, but it is not available (to my knowledge) for microcontrollers. In this article I present a simple approach how to use ASAN memory checks on an ARM Cortex-M microcontroller. An example project is available on GitHub with the NXP MCUXpresso IDE/SDK using the NXP K22FN512 (ARM Cortex-M4F) and can be easily adapted for any other microcontroller.

Read more in the article here and see the Google project on GitHub.


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