Mirage OS Logo

MirageOS security advisory 01: netchannel 1.10.0

By Mindy Preston - 2019-03-21

MirageOS Security Advisory 01 - memory disclosure in mirage-net-xen

  • Module: netchannel
  • Announced: 2019-03-21
  • Credits: Thomas Leonard, Hannes Mehnert, Mindy Preston
  • Affects: netchannel = 1.10.0
  • Corrected: 2019-03-20 1.10.1 release

For general information regarding MirageOS Security Advisories, please visit https://mirage.io/security.


MirageOS is a library operating system using cooperative multitasking, which can be executed as a guest of the Xen hypervisor. Virtual devices, such as a network device, share memory between MirageOS and the hypervisor. To maintain adequate performance, the virtual device managing network communication between MirageOS and the Xen hypervisor maintains a shared pool of pages and reuses them for write requests.

Problem Description

In version 1.10.0 of netchannel, the API for handling network requests changed to provide higher-level network code with an interface for writing into memory directly. As part of this change, code paths which exposed memory taken from the shared page pool did not ensure that previous data had been cleared from the buffer. This error resulted in memory which the user did not overwrite staying resident in the buffer, and potentially being sent as part of unrelated network communication.

The mirage-tcpip library, which provides interfaces for higher-level operations like IPv4 and TCP header writes, assumes that buffers into which it writes have been zeroed, and therefore may not explicitly write some fields which are always zero. As a result, some packets written with netchannel v1.10.0 which were passed to mirage-tcpip with nonzero data will have incorrect checksums calculated and will be discarded by the receiver.


This issue discloses memory intended for another recipient and corrupts packets. Only version 1.10.0 of netchannel is affected. Version 1.10.1 fixes this issue.

Version 1.10.0 was available for less than one month and many upstream users had not yet updated their own API calls to use it. In particular, no version of qubes-mirage-firewall or its dependency mirage-nat compatible with version 1.10.0 was released.


No workaround is available.


Transmitting corrupt data and disclosing memory is fixed in version 1.10.1.

The recommended way to upgrade is:

opam update
opam upgrade netchannel

Or, explicitly:

opam upgrade
opam reinstall netchannel=1.10.1

Affected releases (version 1.10.0 of netchannel and mirage-net-xen) have been marked uninstallable in the opam repository.

Correction details

The following list contains the correction revision numbers for each affected branch.

Memory disclosure on transmit:

master: 6c7a13a5dae0f58dcc0653206a73fa3d8174b6d2

1.10.0: bd0382eabe17d0824c8ba854ec935d8a2e5f7489



You can find the latest version of this advisory online at https://mirage.io/blog/MSA01.

This advisory is signed using OpenPGP, you can verify the signature by downloading our public key from a keyserver (gpg --recv-key 4A732D757C0EDA74), downloading the raw markdown source of this advisory from GitHub and executing gpg --verify 01.txt.asc.