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SubjectANN: syscalltrack 0.81 "Cruel Ducky" released
syscalltrack-0.81, the 13th alpha release of the Linux kernel system 
call tracker, is now available. syscalltrack supports version 2.4.x of
the Linux kernel on the i386 platform.

This release containes several important bug fixes and new features.

* What is syscalltrack?

syscalltrack is made of a pair of Linux kernel modules and supporting
user space environment which allow interception, logging and possibly
taking action upon system calls that match user defined
criteria. syscalltrack can operate either in "tweezers mode", where
only very specific operations are tracked, such as "only track and log
attempts to delete /etc/passwd", or in strace(1) compatible mode,
where all of the supported system calls are traced. syscalltrack can
do things that are impossible to do with the ptrace mechanism, because
its core operates in kernel space.

* Where can I get it?

Information on syscalltrack is available on the project's homepage:, and in the project's file

The source for the latest version can be downloaded directly from:
or any of the other sourceforge mirrors.

* Call for developers:

The syscalltrack project is looking for developers, both for kernel
space and user space. If you want to join in on the fun, get in touch
with us on the syscalltrack-hackers mailing list

* License and NO Warranty

syscalltrack is Free Software, licensed under the GNU General Public
License (GPL) version 2. The 'sct_ctrl_lib' library is licensed under
the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).

syscalltrack is in _alpha_ stages and comes with NO warranty. We put
it through extensive testing and routinely run it on our systems, but
if it breaks something, you get to keep all of the pieces.

* PGP Signature

All syscalltrack releases from now on will be signed. This release is
signed with my pgp public key, which you can get from or via
'gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 0xBFD537CB'

Happy syscalltracking!


New in version 0.81, "Cruel Ducky"

* This release includes support for matching against void pointers
(addresses). For example, you can match against msync's first
parameter, const void* start.

* This release re-enables support for tracking the shmat and msgrcv
calls, after fixing a bug in their tracking support.

* sctrace now supports strace's 'follow forks' mode.

* Implement tracking for the last two remaining syscalls, sys_vfork
and sys_bdflush.

* Make the userspace tools behave sensibly when the kernel modules
aren't loaded and complain to run, instead of giving obscure errors.

* Make sct_config complain about AFTER rules with FAIL actions. A FAIL
action is only valid in BEFORE rules.

* Add '-h' and '--help' support to sct_logctrl.

* Assorted other kernel modules bug fixes.


New in version 0.80, "Tanned Otter"

* This release contains support for multiple readers of the log
device. It is now possible to have two (or more) different log
device readers, e.g. one running in a terminal ('sctlog'), and the
other being a daemon reading directly from the log device and
parsing its output to warn about anomalities. Each log device reader
can set its own log device parameter, such as the log format and the
log buffer size. See sct_logctrl(1) and sctlog(1) for further

* Log output now goes to the log device by default, not to syslog. use
sctlog(1) (or 'cat /dev/sct_log') to see it.

* The user can now configure the 'max record length' of records
printed to the log device file. 'max record length' is useful when
logging the parameters for read() or write(), for example, because
the 'buffer' parameter could be very large and filled with garbage,
thus flooding the log device. This patch allows you to set the max
record length to something sane, so only the first bytes of the
buffer are printed, followed by '...'. Setting it to 0 disables it.

* This release disables support for the 'shmat', 'semctl' and
'msgrecv' system calls (muxed functions of the sys_ipc system call,
to be precise). It will be fixed and included in the next release.

* Make rules printed by 'sct_config download' look nicer.


New in version 0.75, "Boffing Hyrax"

* This release contains complete autotools support for the entire
syscalltrack system: kernel modules, libraries and
applications. Download, run './configure && make && sudo make install'
and everything should just work [famous last words]. The autotools
support includes automatic kernel version detection (which can
be overridden at configure time), correct user space compilation on
the various linux distributions, correct kernel modules compilation
(unlike the ad-hoc CFLAGS selection we had until now), support for UML
and 2.5 kernels, a working install and uninstall target (sct_load,
sct_config, sctrace, sct_unload are installed) and lots of other good

* This release also contains support for 'kill process' and 'suspend
process' actions. Until now, all you could do was log system call
invocations (that match a certain rule), or return error values from
them. Now you can set rules to kill any process that matches a rule
(tries to connect to a certain host, tries to delete a certain file,
or just does getpid() *muhahaha*), or, if you're feeling kinder and
gentler, just suspend it until you attach to it with a debugger.

* This release contains a fix a serious SMP race which would cause a
system call to fail with -ENOSYS in certain cases.

* More system calls supported: shutdown, getsockname, getpeername,
socketpair, send, sendto, recvfrom, shutdown, setsockopt,
getsockopt, sendmsg, recvmsg. adjtimex, capset and capget, ptrace,
stat64, lstat64 and fstat64.

* Fix a bug where bdflush() was incorrectly hijacked, leading to
the bdflush system call not working correctly.


New in version 0.74, "Hyperactive Iguana"

* Added a whole lot of new system calls. syscalltrack now supports
almost all of the system calls available on 2.4.x:
vhangup, wait4, swapoff, sysinfo, fsync, readv, writev, fdatasync,
msync, getpgid, fchdir, personality, bdflush, flock, setdomainname,
newuname, modify_ldt, mprotect, sigprocmask, create_module,
init_module, delete_module, get_kernel_syms, setfsuid16, setfsgid16,
llseek, quotactl, sysfs, getdents, select, sysctl, mlock, mlockall,
munlockall, munlockall, sched_setparam, sched_getapram,
sched_setscheduler, sched_getscheduler, sched_yield,
sched_get_priority_max, sched_get_priority_min,
sched_rr_get_interval, nanosleep, mremap, setresuid16, getresuid16,
query_module, poll, nfsservctl, setresgid16, getresgid16, prctl,
rt_sigpending, rt_sigtimedwait, rt_sigqueueinfo, chown16, getcwd,
sendfile,getrlimit, mmap2, stat64, lstat64, fstat64, lchown, getuid,
getgid, geteuid, getegid, setreuid, setregid, getgroups, setgroups,
fchown, setresuid, getresuid, setresgid, getresgid, chown, setgid,
setfsuid, setfsgid, pivot_root, mincore, madvise, getdents64, fnctl64,
gettid, tkill, sched_setaffinity, sched_getaffinity, sys_olduname
sys_ustat, old_select, getitimer, setitimer, uname. pread, pwrite,
truncate64, ftruncate64, readahead.

* Fix a bug where we wouldn't correctly print NULL system call
parameters. Now we print <NULL>.

* Add support for system calls with loff_t and long long parameters.

* Fix several bugs in sctrace.

* Fix several important bugs in the system call data file parser (used
in sctrace(1) and sct_config(1)) which prevented valid configuration
files from being accepted. Added much better error reporting.

* Numerous other bug fixes and internal cleanups.


New in version 0.73, "August Penguin"

* Added sctrace, an experimental strace(1) compatible tool based on
the syscalltrack framework. 'sctrace command' or 'sctrace -p pid'
will load rules matching the given executable (or pid) for all
supported system calls and log their invocation to the log file (or
log device).

* experimental logging device file, /dev/sct_log, and a utility to
control its behaviour, sct_logctrl. syscalltrack can now log system
call invocation either to syslog or directly to a device
file. Note that the format of information logged to the device file
will change in future versions (from text based to a binary

* Fixed a bug in the automatic code generated for system call stubs
for system calls which have a pointer parameter. This bug exists in
older syscalltrack versions and while it's harmless, users are still
encouraged to upgrade.

* Fixed a bug in the kernel module reference counting code when
deleting a single rule. This code path wasn't in use until

* Fix wrong usage of size_t and other portability cleanups. Fix
strstream/stringstream usage to work with gcc version before 3 and
after 3.

* Support all of the IPC system calls (contributed by Gilad

* More new syscalls: execve, statfs, fstatfs, newstat, newlstat,
newfstat, getrusage, getgroups16, old_readdir and old_mmap.

* a proof-of-concept GUI tool, gtksct(1).

* new man pages, courtesy of Baruch Even for the debian package of


Major new features for 0.72 (mostly a bug fix and new syscalls release)

* Many new system calls supported, including but not limited to
exit(1), fork(2), read(3) and write(4).

* Fixed bug when evaluating a buffer node and a bug with pattern
matching on a buffer node.

* Fixed bug when matching for a constant [filter_expression {1}] to
return true, as it should, instead of false, as it did.

* Fixed several in-kernel memory leaks and erronous kernel string


Major new features for 0.71 (mostly a bug fix and cleanup release)

* add a 'get rule count' and 'get rules' API to to the
sct_ctrl_lib. 'get rule count' will return the number of currently
registered rules, 'get rules' will return to user space from the
kernel a linked list of the before and after rules for each system

* Support for constants when specifying matching rules, for example,
O_RDONLY, O_EXCL and friends for open(2).

* Support for octal/hex numbers in filter expressions.

* Support for specifying and printing multiplex syscall ids as
"syscall:func", for example "102:5" for accept(2).

* Assorted internal cleanups, code refactoring, bug fixes and memory
leaks plugged, too many to list here. Documentation and header file
updates. See the ChangeLog for the gory details.


Major new features for 0.7

* Support for dynamic-cast of 'struct' syscall parameters when filtering
based on them, and for logging. See the relevant section in
doc/sct_config_manual.html for how to use this feature. Mostly useful now
for checking struct parameters in socket calls, so now its possible
to check if a client prorgam tries to connect to a given port or IP address,

* Support for 'fail syscall' actions - allows you to specify that a matching
syscall invocation will prematurely return a given error code (or '0')
before the system call is actually performed. Handle with care, as failing
the wrong syscall invocations might render your system unuseable. Good
usage example: TODO

* Support for convenience-macros in rule config files. Currently supported
macros include:

- ipaddr("") -> translates an IP address to an unsigned long
in network byte-order.
- htons(7) -> host to network byte-order for 'short' numbers.
- usernametoid("root") -> translates user name to UID.
- groupnametoid("wheel") -> translates group name to GID.

* Experimental Device-driver control support - the syscalltrack kernel module
can now be controlled via a device-file interface - specify "-c device_file"
when running 'sct_config' to use it. The interface is currently
functionaly-equivalent to the existing 'sysctl' interface - but it will be
enhanced in the future to support logging via a device-file interface,
getting rule list via the device-file interface, etc.

* Support for 'log_format' definition per rule, to override the global

* Initial correctness-testing script added. Currently only runs 2 tests -
will become more functional on the next release.

* Support for new system calls - waitpid, close and creat.

major bug fixes for version 0.7:

* Fixes for white-space parsing in 'sct_config'.

* Fix small memory leak when deserializing 'log' actions

* Fix bug in the kernel module that would leave dangling function pointers
in case a user cleared only the 'before' function pointer. This bug
wasn't triggered, since sct_config always erased _all_ rules, causing this
code path to remain yet unused.

Muli Ben-Yehuda

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