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Data breakpoints in JavaScript

2016 Jun 17, 5:44

The other day I had to debug a JavaScript UWA that was failing when trying to use an undefined property. In a previous OS build this code would run and the property was defined. I wanted something similar to windbg/cdb's ba command that lets me set a breakpoint on read or writes to a memory location so I could see what was creating the object in the previous OS build and what that code was doing now in the current OS build. I couldn't find such a breakpoint mechanism in Visual Studio or F12 so I wrote a little script to approximate JavaScript data breakpoints.

The script creates a stub object with a getter and setter. It actually performs the get or set but also calls debugger; to break in the debugger. In order to handle my case of needing to break when window.object1.object2 was created or accessed, I further had it recursively set up such stub objects for the matching property names.

Its not perfect because it is an enumerable property and shows up in hasOwnProperty and likely other places. But for your average code that checks for the existence of a property via if (object.property) it works well.

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Tweet from Windows Blogs

2016 Jun 10, 3:01
Using Device Portal to view debug logs for UWP http://blogs.windows.com/buildingapps/2016/06/10/using-device-portal-to-view-debug-logs-for-uwp/ 
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Tweet from Eric Lawrence

2016 Jun 2, 10:32
Chrome relaxes IDN display of Punycode (old restrictions were like IE) to match Firefox instead: https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=336973#c34 
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Cdb/Windbg Commands for Runtime Patching

2016 Feb 8, 1:47

You can use conditional breakpoints and debugging commands in windbg and cdb that together can amount to effectively patching a binary at runtime. This can be useful if you have symbols but you can't easily rebuild the binary. Or if the patch is small and the binary requires a great deal of time to rebuild.

Skipping code

If you want to skip a chunk of code you can set a breakpoint at the start address of the code to skip and set the breakpoint's command to change the instruction pointer register to point to the address at the end of the code to skip and go. Voila you're skipping over that code now. For example:

bp 0x6dd6879b "r @eip=0x6dd687c3 ; g"

Changing parameters

You may want to modify parameters or variables and this is simple of course. In the following example a conditional breakpoint ANDs out a bit from dwFlags. Now when we run its as if no one is passing in that flag.

bp wiwi!RelativeCrack "?? dwFlags &= 0xFDFFFFFF;g"

Slightly more difficult is to modify string values. If the new string length is the same size or smaller than the previous, you may be able to modify the string value in place. But if the string is longer or the string memory isn't writable, you'll need a new chunk of memory into which to write your new string. You can use .dvalloc to allocate some memory and ezu to write a string into the newly allocated memory. In the following example I then overwrite the register containing the parameter I want to modify:

.dvalloc 100
ezu 000002a9`d4eb0000 "mfcore.dll"
r rcx = 000002a9`d4eb0000

Calling functions

You can also use .call to actually make new calls to methods or functions. Read more about that on the Old New Thing: Stupid debugger tricks: Calling functions and methods. Again, all of this can be used in a breakpoint command to effectively patch a binary.

PermalinkCommentscdb debug technical windbg

Retweet of creativecommons

2015 Nov 24, 12:13
Why is a museum suing Wikipedia for sharing? http://www.communia-association.org/2015/11/24/why-is-a-museum-suing-wikipedia-for-sharing/ … via @communia_eu pic.twitter.com/yEgIuc31wi
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Tweet from David_Risney

2015 Nov 18, 8:29
Next up: hacking phones with inaudible sounds that exploit bugs in this software http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/11/beware-of-ads-that-use-inaudible-sound-to-link-your-phone-tv-tablet-and-pc/ …
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Tweet from David_Risney

2015 Sep 25, 12:21
Additional article info suggest the VW emissions cheating is likely intentional and not a bug http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-25/volkswagen-said-to-manage-faked-test-results-from-german-offices …
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Retweet of mlhaufe

2015 Jun 17, 4:45
Eich's Law: "If you are liberal in what you accept, others will utterly fail to be conservative in what they send." https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=310993 …
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Retweet of codinghorror

2015 Mar 26, 9:13
How Punch-Out save game passwords work, including bugs http://tomorrowcorporation.com/posts/retro-game-internals-punch-out-passwords …
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Retweet of dveditz

2015 Mar 19, 6:56
The joys of bug bounty programs: someone reported that port 21 was open on http://ftp.mozilla.org 
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Retweet of FioraAeterna

2015 Mar 7, 3:51
"This assert would've saved me hours of debugging. Why was it off?" *git blame* commit: "disable assert that caused test failures" *sobs*
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Retweet of theharmonyguy

2015 Feb 24, 7:41
2014 highlights from Facebook's bug bounty program: https://www.facebook.com/notes/1026610350686524/ …
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Tweet from David_Risney

2015 Jan 28, 3:09
Speedrunner Stephen Kiazyk demos Psychonauts bugs to dev team incl Tim Schafer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsDc1YVxHA0 … Funny reactions from the game's devs
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Debugging anecdote - the color transparent black breaks accessibility

2014 May 22, 10:36

Some time back while I was working on getting the Javascript Windows Store app platform running on Windows Phone (now available on the last Windows Phone release!) I had an interesting bug that in retrospect is amusing.

I had just finished a work item to get accessibility working for JS WinPhone apps when I got a new bug: With some set of JS apps, accessibility appeared to be totally broken. At that time in development the only mechanism we had to test accessibility was a test tool that runs on the PC, connects to the phone, and dumps out the accessibility tree of whatever app is running on the phone. In this bug, the tool would spin for a while and then timeout with an error and no accessibility information.

My first thought was this was an issue in my new accessibility code. However, debugging with breakpoints on my code I could see none of my code was run nor the code that should call it. The code that called that code was a more generic messaging system that hit my breakpoints constantly.

Rather than trying to work backward from the failure point, I decided to try and narrow down the repro and work forwards from there. One thing all the apps with the bug had in common was their usage of WinJS, but not all WinJS apps demonstrated the issue. Using a binary search approach on one such app I removed unrelated app code until all that was left was the app's usage of the WinJS AppBar and the bug still occurred. I replaced the WinJS AppBar usage with direct usage of the underlying AppBar WinRT APIs and continued.

Only some calls to the AppBar WinRT object produced the issue:

        var appBar = Windows.UI.WebUI.Core.WebUICommandBar.getForCurrentView(); 
// appBar.opacity = 1;
// appBar.closeDisplayMode = Windows.UI.WebUI.Core.WebUICommandBarClosedDisplayMode.default;
appBar.backgroundColor = Windows.UI.Colors.white; // Bug!
Just setting the background color appeared to cause the issue and I didn't even have to display the AppBar. Through additional trial and error I was blown away to discover that some colors I would set caused the issue and other colors did not. Black wouldn't cause the issue but transparent black would. So would aqua but not white.

I eventually realized that predefined WinRT color values like Windows.UI.Colors.aqua would cause the issue while JS literal based colors didn't cause the issue (Windows.UI.Color is a WinRT struct which projects in JS as a JS literal object with the struct members as JS object properties so its easy to write something like {r: 0, g: 0, b: 0, a: 0} to make a color) and I had been mixing both in my tests without realizing there would be a difference. I debugged into the backgroundColor property setter that consumed the WinRT color struct to see what was different between Windows.UI.Colors.black and {a: 1, r: 0, g: 0, b: 0} and found the two structs to be byte wise exactly the same.

On a hunch I tried my test app with only a reference to the color and otherwise no interaction with the AppBar and not doing anything with the actual reference to the color: Windows.UI.Colors.black;. This too caused the issue. I knew that the implementation for these WinRT const values live in a DLL and guessed that something in the code to create these predefined colors was causing the issue. I debugged in and no luck. Now I also have experienced crusty code that would do exciting things in its DllMain, the function that's called when a DLL is loaded into the process so I tried modifying my C++ code to simply LoadLibrary the DLL containing the WinRT color definition, windows.ui.xaml.dll and found the bug still occurred! A short lived moment of relief as the world seemed to make sense again.

Debugging into DllMain nothing interesting happened. There were interesting calls in there to be sure, but all of them behind conditions that were false. I was again stumped. On another hunch I tried renaming the DLL and only LoadLibrary'ing it and the bug went away. I took a different DLL renamed it windows.ui.xaml.dll and tried LoadLibrary'ing that and the bug came back. Just the name of the DLL was causing the issue.

I searched for the DLL name in our source code index and found hits in the accessibility tool. Grinning I opened the source to find that the accessibility tool's phone side service was trying to determine if a process belonged to a XAML app or not because XAML apps had a different accessibility contract. It did this by checking to see if windows.ui.xaml.dll was loaded in the target process.

At this point I got to fix my main issue and open several new bugs for the variety of problems I had just run into. This is a how to on writing software that is difficult to debug.

PermalinkCommentsbug debug javascript JS technical windows winrt

location.hash and location.search are bad and they should feel bad

2014 May 22, 9:25
The DOM location interface exposes the HTML document's URI parsed into its properties. However, it is ancient and has problems that bug me but otherwise rarely show up in the real world. Complaining about mostly theoretical issues is why blogging exists, so here goes:
  • The location object's search, hash, and protocol properties are all misnomers that lead to confusion about the correct terms:
    • The 'search' property returns the URI's query property. The query property isn't limited to containing search terms.
    • The 'hash' property returns the URI's fragment property. This one is just named after its delimiter. It should be called the fragment.
    • The 'protocol' property returns the URI's scheme property. A URI's scheme isn't necessarily a protocol. The http URI scheme of course uses the HTTP protocol, but the https URI scheme is the HTTP protocol over SSL/TLS - there is no HTTPS protocol. Similarly for something like mailto - there is no mailto wire protocol.
  • The 'hash' and 'search' location properties both return null in the case that their corresponding URI property doesn't exist or if its the empty string. A URI with no query property and a URI with an empty string query property that are otherwise the same, are not equal URIs and are allowed by HTTP to return different content. Similarly for the fragment. Unless the specific URI scheme defines otherwise, an empty query or hash isn't the same as no query or hash.
But like complaining about the number of minutes in an hour none of this can ever change without huge compat issues on the web. Accordingly I can only give my thanks to Anne van Kesteren and the awesome work on the URL standard moving towards a more sane (but still working practically within the constraints of compat) location object and URI parsing in the browser.
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The 5 Things To Do About the New Heartbleed Bug

2014 Apr 9, 9:06

Its time to get a password manager.

PermalinkCommentssecurity password technical

Debugging LoadLibrary Failures - Junfeng Zhang's Windows Programming Notes - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

2014 Feb 25, 2:22

How to turn on debug logging for LoadLibrary to diagnose failures. For example, see where in the dependency graph of a DLL LoadLibrary ran into issues.

PermalinkCommentstechnical win32 windows debugging loadlibrary

URI functions in Windows Store Applications

2013 Jul 25, 1:00PermalinkCommentsc# c++ javascript technical uri windows windows-runtime windows-store

Sci-fi short stories disguised as Internet docs

2013 May 29, 2:48
The recent short story Twitter API returning results that do not respect arrow of time by Tim May written as a Twitter bug report reminded me of a few other short sci-fi stories written in the style of some sort of Internet document:
PermalinkCommentscsc fiction sci-fi Scifi time-travel twitter

WinDbg .cmdtree file format reverse engineered | Debugging

2013 May 22, 3:34

Wrote some scripts that produce .cmdtree files. Nice to find this format definition.

PermalinkCommentsdebug windows windbg technical cmdtree
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