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1.2.1 Dec 31, 2020

#22 in Development tools

MIT license


crates.io license

Analyzer of security features in executable binaries

binary-security-check is a command line utility that analyzes executable binaries looking for features that make the executable more secure, or less prone to some vulnerabilities.

Installation instructions

In order to use this tool on your computer, you need to build it from sources:

  1. If you don't have a Rust toolchain installed, then install one. I recommend installing the latest stable toolchain for your computer.

  2. Install a C toolchain for your computer. For example on Debian Linux:

    sudo apt-get install build-essential
  3. Build the sources:

    cargo install binary-security-check
  4. You should be able to run the tool directly:

    binary-security-check -h

Supported formats

Different executable formats are currently supported:

  • ELF format in 32-bits and 64-bits variants. It is used, for instance, in Linux and BSD executable programs and shared libraries. These files usually have either no extension, or the .so extension.
  • Archive format, used in static libraries storing object files. It is used, for example, in Linux and Windows static libraries. These files usually have one of the following extensions: .a, .lib, etc.
  • PE32 format (32-bits variant) and PE32+ format (64-bits variant) used by Windows executable programs and shared libraries. These files usually have one of the following extensions: .exe, .scr, .dll, .sys, etc. 16-bits executable binaries are not supported.

Reported security features:

The list of security features analyzed by binary-security-check depends on the analyzed format. Each security feature has a keyword identifying it in the report.

For the ELF format, the analyzed features are:

  • Address Space Layout Randomization: ASLR option.
  • Stack smashing protection: STACK-PROT option.
  • Executable pages become read-only after relocation: READ-ONLY-RELOC option.
  • Imported symbols are bound immediately during the loading of the binary: IMMEDIATE-BIND option.
  • Potentially unsafe C library functions calls are replaced with more secure variants: FORTIFY-SOURCE option.

For the Archive format, the analyzed features are:

  • Stack smashing protection: STACK-PROT option.

For PE32 and PE32+ formats, the analyzed features are:

  • Address Space Layout Randomization: ASLR, ASLR-EXPENSIVE, ASLR-LOW-ENTROPY-LT-2GB, ASLR-LOW-ENTROPY, ASLR-LT-2GB options.
  • Data Execution Prevention: DATA-EXEC-PREVENT option.
  • Control Flow Guard: CONTROL-FLOW-GUARD option.
  • Handling of addresses larger than 2 Gigabytes: HANDLES-ADDR-GT-2GB option.
  • Executable has a check sum of its data: CHECKSUM option.
  • Only allow running inside AppContainer: RUNS-IN-APP-CONTAINER option.
  • Integrity verification is required based on digital signature: VERIFY-DIGITAL-CERT option.
  • Manifest files must be considered when loading executable: CONSIDER-MANIFEST option.
  • Safe Structured Exception Handling: SAFE-SEH option.

Reporting format

The program can analyze multiple binary files. For each file, it displays the file path, and the status of the checked security features.

The status of the security feature in the binary is indicated by a letter before the keyword:

  • + means the feature is present/supported.
  • ! means the feature is absent/unsupported.
  • ~ means the feature is probably present/supported.
  • ? means the feature status is unknown.

For example, !ASLR means the binary does not support Address Space Layout Randomization.


Usage: binary-security-check [OPTIONS] <INPUT_FILES>...

          Binary files to analyze

  -v, --verbose
          Verbose logging
  -c, --color <COLOR>
          Use color in standard output [default: auto] [possible values: auto, always, never]
  -l, --libc <LIBC>
          Path of the C runtime library file
  -s, --sysroot <SYSROOT>
          Path of the system root for finding the corresponding C runtime library
  -i, --libc-spec <LIBC_SPEC>
          Use an internal list of checked functions as specified by a specification
          [possible values: lsb1, lsb1dot1, lsb1dot2, lsb1dot3, lsb2, lsb2dot0dot1, lsb2dot1, lsb3,
          lsb3dot1, lsb3dot2, lsb4, lsb4dot1, lsb5]
  -n, --no-libc
          Assume that input files do not use any C runtime libraries
  -h, --help
          Print help
  -V, --version
          Print version

If --libc-spec is specified, then its value can be one of the following versions
of the Linux Standard Base specifications:
- lsb1: LSB 1.0.0.
- lsb1dot1: LSB 1.1.0.
- lsb1dot2: LSB 1.2.0.
- lsb1dot3: LSB 1.3.0.
- lsb2: LSB 2.0.0.
- lsb2dot0dot1: LSB 2.0.1.
- lsb2dot1: LSB 2.1.0.
- lsb3: LSB 3.0.0.
- lsb3dot1: LSB 3.1.0.
- lsb3dot2: LSB 3.2.0.
- lsb4: LSB 4.0.0.
- lsb4dot1: LSB 4.1.0.
- lsb5: LSB 5.0.0.

By default, this tool tries to automatically locate the C library in the
following directories:
- /lib/
- /usr/lib/
- /lib64/
- /usr/lib64/
- /lib32/
- /usr/lib32/

The tools "readelf" and "ldd" can be used to help find the path of the C library
needed by the analyzed files, which is given by the --libc parameter.

Miscellaneous features

  • Runs on multiple platforms, including Linux, FreeBSD and Windows.
  • Supports all binary executable formats independently of which platform is used to run the tool.
  • Operates in parallel when sensible.
  • Output colored text.
  • Support multiple ways to identify binary's dependent C library (if there is one), including Linux Standard Base (LSB) specifications.
  • Designed to be easily extensible.


Copyright 2018-2024 Koutheir Attouchi. See the LICENSE.txt file at the top-level directory of this distribution. Licensed under the MIT license. This file may not be copied, modified, or distributed except according to those terms.


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