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Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2016 17:35:58 +0200
From: Hanno Böck <>
Subject: Update on MatrixSSL miscalculation (incomplete fix for

CVE-assigners: I think this could get a CVE as an incomplete fix for


I recently [1] reported how I found various bugs in the bignum
implementation of MatrixSSL, some of them leading to remotely
exploitable vulnerabilities.

One of the bugs was that the modular exponentiation function -
pstm_exptmod() - produced wrong results for some inputs . This wasn't
really fixed, but only worked around by restricting the allowed size of
the modulus. Not surprisingly it is still possible to find inputs that
cause miscalculations (code). I reported this to MatrixSSL on August

Recently MatrixSSL released another update (3.8.6) fixing several
vulnerabilities reported by Craig Young from Tripwire [2]. However the
pstm_exptmod() bug is still there.

It is unclear how exploitable such bugs are, but given that it's used
in the context of cryptographic functions handling secret key material
this is clearly a reason for concern.

MatrixSSL has long advertised itself as a safer alternative to OpenSSL,
because it didn't suffer from the same kind of high severity bugs. I
think it has been sufficiently shown that this was due to the fact that
nobody was looking. But what's more worrying is that bugs they knew
about for several months now don't get fixed properly.


Hanno Böck

GPG: FE73757FA60E4E21B937579FA5880072BBB51E42

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