#secure #memory #process #hardening

no-std secmem-proc

Process hardening through system APIs

2 releases

Uses new Rust 2021

0.1.1 Jan 8, 2022
0.1.0 Nov 3, 2021

#103 in Operating systems

24 downloads per month


707 lines

secmem-proc License: MIT OR Apache-2.0 secmem-proc on crates.io Source Code Repository

secmem-proc is a crate designed to harden a process against low-privileged attackers running on the same system trying to obtain secret memory contents of the current process. More specifically, the crate disables core dumps and tries to disable tracing on unix-like OSes.

Note: all the crate does is hardening, i.e. it tries to make attacks harder. It can by no means promise any security! In particular, when an attacker ptrace attaches to the process before harden_process is executed, it is game over for the process. This crate is no substitute for properly hardening your OS (configuration)!

Note that hardening the process also severely limits the ability to debug it. Therefore you are advised to only harden release builds, not debug builds.


In the below example the main function of some application calls the main hardening function provided by this crate: harden_process. This will perform all available hardening steps on the target platform. If an error is returned then one of the hardening steps failed and the process is quits at the return after printing an error to stdout.

fn main() {
    // call `secmem_proc::harden_process` before doing anything else, to harden the process
    // against low-privileged attackers trying to obtain secret parts of memory which will
    // be handled by the process
    if secmem_proc::harden_process().is_err() {
        println!("ERROR: could not harden process, exiting");
    // rest of your program

If you have the std feature enabled you can get more informative errors using harden_process_std_err instead of harden_process.

Cargo features

  • std (default): Enable functionality that requires std. Currently only required for Error implements and required for tests. This feature is enabled by default.
  • rlimit: Expose a minimal resource limit API in the rlimit module.
  • dev: This feature enables all features required to run the test-suite, and should only be enabled for that purpose.


  • Disable ptrace and core dumps on the process on linux using prctl
  • Disable ptrace and core dumps on the process on freebsd using procctl
  • Disable ptrace on macos using ptrace
  • Disable core dumps for the process on posix systems using rlimit
  • Set restricted DACL for the process on windows


  • add API allowing to set a custom DACL on windows
  • improve tests (how exactly?)