# Beacon Fuzz - Update #08

Beacon Fuzz - Progress Update #8:

Cloud fuzzing infrastructure, Teku integration,
BLS fuzzing, and slashing processing discrepancies.

# Beacon Fuzz - Update #08

Sigma Prime is leading the development and maintenance of beacon-fuzz, a differential fuzzing solution for Eth2 clients. This post is part of our series of status updates where we discuss current progress, interesting challenges encountered and direction for future work. See #00 and the repository's README for more context.

## Summary

• Slashing Processing Discrepancies
• BLS Differential Fuzzing
• Cloud Fuzzing Infrastructure
• Teku Integration
• Plans for a Custom Fuzzing Engine

## Discrepancies in Differential Fuzzing

While no directly exploitable bug was identified over the last few weeks with beaconfuzz_v2, our structural differential fuzzer has been performing quite well and uncovering some minor differences between implementations that we've investigated. This section describes two of these discrepancies.

### Difference in Proposer Slashing Processing

Refer to this issue for context and more detailed information.

The target fuzz_proposer_slashing-struct (structural differential fuzzer exercising the ProposerSlashing processing functions as part of beaconfuzz_v2) raised a difference between Lighthouse and Nimbus on one hand, and Prysm on the other, triggered with the following ProposerSlashing object:

ProposerSlashing {
slot: Slot(74),
proposer_index: 0,
parent_root: 0x000000000000002f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f,
state_root: 0x2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f,
body_root: 0x2f2f2f2f2f0000000a000000000000000000000100000000000075757514bbbb,
},
},
slot: Slot(74),
proposer_index: 0,
parent_root: 0x000000000000002f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f,
state_root: 0x2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f2f,
body_root: 0x2f2f2f2f2f0000000a000000000000000000000100000000000075757514bbbb,
},
signature: 0xa1baa9d1823b4965b4e4584a12b453c89b88b47b0c7aed4098cf2d5f094f09dbe15e00014eac00004601000000005655000000000075757500000014bbbbbbbb
},
}


Investigation of how clients handle this particular part of the state transition revealed that Prysm implements the process_proposer_slashing function slightly differently from Lighthouse and Nimbus. Let's take a look at how this particular function is defined in the eth2 spec:

def process_proposer_slashing(state: BeaconState, proposer_slashing: ProposerSlashing) -> None:

# Verify header proposer indices match
# Verify the headers are different
# Verify the proposer is slashable
assert is_slashable_validator(proposer, get_current_epoch(state))
# Verify signatures



As we can see, for a proposer slashing to be valid, the two block headers must be different (assert header_1 != header_2). A header is defined as the message field in a SignedBeaconBlock (i.e. a BeaconBlockHeader, see relevant SSZ container definition here).

The ProposerSlashing object produced by the structural differential fuzzer has two same headers, with different BLS signatures. After going through the Prysm codebase, we can notice that when processing a ProposerSlashing, The Prysm client compares the SignedBeaconBlockHeader instead of the BeaconBlockHeader:

...
return errors.New("expected slashing headers to differ")
}
...


As a result, this particular ProposerSlashing is deemed valid by Prysm because the BLS signature verification is disabled on beacon-fuzz for coverage optimisation and fuzzing speed purposes (i.e. every BLS signature check always returns true), while Lighthouse and Nimbus rejects it since they perform the spec check mentioned above (assert header_1 != header_2) on the BeaconBlockHeaders.

While this discrepancy is not directly exploitable per se, as it would require a malicious actor to be able to produce two different, valid BLS signatures for the same message (BeaconBlockHeader), it was quickly remediated by the Prysmatic Labs crew in this Pull Request.

Additionally, the Eth2 EF research team introduced additional test vectors to the specs repository to cover this particular scenario.

### Difference in Attester Slashing Processing

Refer to this issue for context and more detailed information.

The target fuzz_attester_slashing-struct (structural differential fuzzer exercising the AttesterSlashing processing functions as part of beaconfuzz_v2) raised a difference between Lighthouse and Prysm on one hand, and Nimbus on the other, triggered with the following AttesterSlashing object:

{
Attestation1: {
AttestingIndices:[1],
Data: {
Slot: 0,
Index: 0,
BeaconBlockRoot: 0x000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000006d000000,
Source: {
Epoch: 0,
Root: 0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
},
Target: {
Epoch: 2858902030909440,
Root: 0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
}
},
Signature: 0x000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
},
Attestation2:
{
AttestingIndices:[1, 281474976710658],
Data: {
Slot: 0,
Index: 0,
BeaconBlockRoot: 0x000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000006d000000,
Source: {
Epoch: 7143424,
Root: 0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
},
Target: {
Epoch: 0,
Root: 0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
}
},
Signature: 0x000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
},
}


As per the eth2 specification:

def process_attester_slashing(state: BeaconState, attester_slashing: AttesterSlashing) -> None:
attestation_1 = attester_slashing.attestation_1
attestation_2 = attester_slashing.attestation_2
assert is_slashable_attestation_data(attestation_1.data, attestation_2.data)
assert is_valid_indexed_attestation(state, attestation_1)
assert is_valid_indexed_attestation(state, attestation_2)

slashed_any = False
indices = set(attestation_1.attesting_indices).intersection(attestation_2.attesting_indices)
for index in sorted(indices):
if is_slashable_validator(state.validators[index], get_current_epoch(state)):
slash_validator(state, index)
slashed_any = True
assert slashed_any


The function is_valid_indexed_attestation is defined as follows:

python
def is_valid_indexed_attestation(state: BeaconState, indexed_attestation: IndexedAttestation) -> bool:
"""
Check if indexed_attestation is not empty, has sorted and unique indices and has a valid aggregate signature.
"""
# Verify indices are sorted and unique
indices = indexed_attestation.attesting_indices
if len(indices) == 0 or not indices == sorted(set(indices)):
return False
# Verify aggregate signature
pubkeys = [state.validators[i].pubkey for i in indices]
domain = get_domain(state, DOMAIN_BEACON_ATTESTER, indexed_attestation.data.target.epoch)
signing_root = compute_signing_root(indexed_attestation.data, domain)
return bls.FastAggregateVerify(pubkeys, signing_root, indexed_attestation.signature)


Investigation revealed that Lighthouse and Prysm perform the indexed attestation validation as part of their signature verification:

if verify_signatures.is_true() {
verify!(
indexed_attestation_signature_set(
state,
|i| get_pubkey_from_state(state, i),
&indexed_attestation.signature,
&indexed_attestation,
spec
)?
.verify(),
);
}


The closure |i| get_pubkey_from_state(state, i) would return an error for out-of-range attesting indices, however since fuzzing disables BLS verification, that particular check is not performed (the entire code block is skipped).

Similarly for Prysm (see snippet #1 and #2), when BLS signatures are disabled, PublicKeyFromBytes() returns an empty BLS signature, regardless of the attesting indices provided (therefore not checking for out-of-range attesting indices).

As a result, the AttesterSlashing object produced by the structural fuzzer is considered valid by Lighthouse and Prysm, with the associated state transition resulting in a post-BeaconState.

When analysing how Nimbus processes AttesterSlashings (see snippet #1 and #2), we can see that Nimbus performs an additional check on the attesting indices:

let num_validators = state.validators.lenu64
if anyIt(indexed_attestation.attesting_indices, it >= num_validators):
return err("indexed attestation: not all indices valid validators")


As a result, the AttesterSlashing generated by the structural fuzzer is rejected by Nimbus (since the second attesting index in the second IndexedAttestation causes the check above to fail).

While these discrepancies aren't directly exploitable, they demonstrate the efficiency of our structural differential fuzzer, highlighting subtle differences between implementations.

## BLS Differential Fuzzing

We've also written 10 dedicated fuzzers for the following BLS-12-381 libraries (refer to this Pull Request:

These fuzzers live in the bls-fuzz directory and exercise the serialization of public keys and signatures, along with elliptic curve additions and multiplications.

As a result, we've identified the following bugs/discrepancies affecting the BLST library:

These critical vulnerabilities would have allowed malicious actors to perform signature malleability attacks (i.e. producing two different signatures for the same message), with disastrous consequences for Eth2 (think RANDAO manipulation!).

Additionally, another non-critical discrepancy has been raised, please refer to this issue for further details.

## Cloud Fuzzing Infrastructure

Over the past few weeks, we've been deploying and running our fuzzers on a dedicated cloud infrastructure (AWS). We're currently using 16 EC2 instances running more than 30 fuzzers, including fuzzers targeting the various eth2 networking stacks.

At the moment, we're building, deploying and monitoring these fuzzers manually, with the help of some simple build scripts. We'll be working on an automated tooling over the next few weeks, with the help of DevOps experts.

## Teku Integration into beaconfuzz_v2

We've been working away at incorporating Teku into the beaconfuzz_v2 differential fuzzing. As this is the first client to be integrated with beaconfuzz_v2 that is written in an interpreted language, this involves an additional technical step of running the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to execute the Teku bytecode.

The Java Native Interface (JNI) is used to invoke and interact with the JVM. As this interface is designed for use with C or C++, it was not feasible to directly invoke the JNI from Rust. Instead, we incorporated some small C "glue code" to act as an intermediary.

While much of this "glue code" could be reused from the previous Teku integration as part of the C++ based beaconfuzz_v1, there were some nuances with regards to converting the C++ code to C and passing the result data directly to byte buffers managed by Rust (to avoid excessive allocations and memory use within C).

Refer to this pull request for the Rust & C side of the Teku integration. Though some more polishing and testing is needed before the PR can be merged, we can successfully execute Teku attestation processing as part of the existing differential fuzzer.

This integration has also involved some Java-based harness code (to expose relevant Teku state-transition operations), as well as modifications to Teku to allow disabling of BLS signature verification (for performance improvements and consistency with existing fuzzing harnesses). This was completed in Teku PRs #1444 and #2363 respectively.

By keeping all Java code in the Teku repository, we can take advantage of the Teku CI to detect breaking changes that require updates to the fuzzing harnesses, and it also allows the harnesses to be more easily reused for other projects.

Much thanks to the Teku team for their assistance with these modifications and in getting this functionality merged (of particular note was their help implementing unit tests for the harnesses, structuring the fuzzing harness project, and integrating it into the build system.)

## Custom Fuzzing Engine

We've also started exploring the possibility of building our own custom fuzzing engine (as opposed to relying on existing ones such as AFL, libFuzzer and Honggfuzz).

A custom fuzzing engine would have the following advantages:

• Coverage: Currently, our fuzzing targets use one BeaconState per run (selected randomly when these fuzzers initialize). This is due to a constraint in the way libFuzzer and other mutation-based fuzzing engines handle fuzzing inputs: each state transition function takes both a BeaconState and a consensus-object (e.g. Attestation, Deposit, and other SSZ containers). Traditional fuzzing engines only allow to mutate one input (in our case the consensus object as a SSZ container), forcing us to rely on the same BeaconState for all fuzzing cycles. By creating our own customized fuzzing engine, we can swap BeaconStates periodically (for example, every 1,000 fuzzing cycle)
• Speed: A custom fuzzing engine will also allow us to significantly increase the fuzzing speed by allowing us to load the BeaconStates in memory once per fuzzing initialisation (as opposed to loading them from disk for each client implementation exercised). Additionally, better multithreading management will also increase fuzzing speed.
• Custom Mutations: We're planning on using this Rust library as a base for our mutation algorithms, allowing us to alternate between structural and mutation-based fuzzing within the same targets.

## Next Steps

Over the next few weeks, the Beacon Fuzz team will be looking into:

• Fuzzing the new endpoints developed by the client teams as part of the weak subjectivity checkpoint syncing support;
• Enhancing the DevOps experience on our cloud fuzzing infrastructure;
• Potentially performing more BLS differential fuzzing, targeting different bindings.