Bazel Rules User Guide


Defining fuzz tests

The rule library provides support for writing in-process fuzz tests, which consist of a driver function that receives a generated input string and feeds it to the API under test. To make a complete fuzz test executable, the driver is linked with a fuzzing engine, which implements the test generation logic. The rule library provides out-of-the-box support for the most popular fuzzing engines (e.g., libFuzzer and Honggfuzz), and an extension mechanism to define new fuzzing engines.

A fuzzing rule wraps a raw fuzz test executable and provides additional tools, such as the specification of a corpus and dictionary and a launcher that knows how to invoke the fuzzing engine with the appropriate set of flags.

Defining fuzz tests

A fuzz test is specified using a cc_fuzz_test rule. In the most basic form, a fuzz test requires a source file that implements the fuzz driver entry point. Let's consider a simple example that fuzzes the RE2 regular expression library:

# BUILD file.

load("@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_defs.bzl", "cc_fuzz_test")

    name = "re2_fuzz_test",
    srcs = [""],
    deps = [

The fuzz driver implements the special LLVMFuzzerTestOneInput function that receives the fuzzer-generated string and uses it to drive the API under test:

// Implementation file.

#include <cstdint>
#include <cstddef>
#include <string>

#include "re2/re2.h"

extern "C" int LLVMFuzzerTestOneInput(const uint8_t* data, size_t size) {
    RE2 re(std::string(reinterpret_cast<const char*>(data), size), RE2::Quiet);
    return 0;

Building and running

To build a fuzz test, you need to specify which fuzzing engine and what instrumentation to use for tracking errors during the execution of the fuzzer. Let's build the RE2 fuzz test using libFuzzer and the Address Sanitizer (ASAN) instrumentation, which catches memory errors such as buffer overflows and use-after-frees:

$ bazel build -c opt --config=asan-libfuzzer //examples:re2_fuzz_test

You can directly invoke this fuzz test executable if you know libFuzzer's command line interface. But in practice, you don't have to. For each fuzz test <name>, the rules library generates a number of additional targets that provide higher-level functionality to simplify the interaction with the fuzz test.

One such target is <name>_run, which provides a simple engine-agnostic interface for invoking fuzz tests. Let's run our libFuzzer example:

$ bazel run -c opt --config=asan-libfuzzer //examples:re2_fuzz_test_run

The fuzz test will start running locally, and write the generated tests under a temporary path under /tmp/fuzzing. By default, the generated tests persist across runs, in order to make it easy to stop and resume runs (possibly under different engines and configurations).

Let's interrupt the fuzz test execution (Ctrl-C), and resume it using the Honggfuzz engine:

$ bazel run -c opt --config=asan-honggfuzz //examples:re2_fuzz_test_run

The <name>_run target accepts a number of engine-agnostic flags. For example, the following command runs the fuzz test with an execution timeout and on a clean slate (removing any previously generated tests). Note the extra -- separator between Bazel's own flags and the launcher flags:

$ bazel run -c opt --config=asan-libfuzzer //examples:re2_fuzz_test_run \
      -- --clean --timeout_secs=30

Specifying seed corpora

You can use the corpus attribute to specify a set of files that the fuzz test can use as a seed corpus when running in continuous fuzzing mode. The following example shows how to include all the files in a directory in the seed corpus:

    name = "fuzz_test",
    srcs = [""],
    corpus = glob(["fuzz_test_corpus/**"]),

Specifying a seed corpus is a best practice that helps the fuzzer make progress faster.

Specifying dictionaries

Similarly, you can speed up fuzzing by specifying a dictionary using the dicts attribute. A dictionary is a set of string tokens that the fuzzer can use to construct and mutate test inputs. The attribute accepts a list of files with one dictionary token per line specified in the AFL/libFuzzer format:

    name = "fuzz_test",
    srcs = [""],

The fuzz test launcher

Each fuzz test <fuzz_test> gets a <fuzz_test>_run target that can be used to launch the fuzzing executable in "continuous fuzzing" mode. The launcher provides a uniform command line interface regardless of the fuzzing engine or sanitizer used.

Currently, the launcher offers the following options:

  • --[no]clean: If set, cleans up the output directory of the target before fuzzing (default: 'false').
  • --fuzzing_output_root: The root directory for storing all generated artifacts during fuzzing. (default: '/tmp/fuzzing')
  • --[no]regression: If set, the script will trigger the target as a regression test. (default: 'false')
  • --timeout_secs: The maximum duration, in seconds, of the fuzzer run launched. (default: '0', a non-negative integer)

Built-in fuzzing engines

  • @rules_fuzzing//fuzzing/engines:libfuzzer provides libFuzzer support. Must be used with the libfuzzer engine instrumentation.

  • @rules_fuzzing//fuzzing/engines:honggfuzz provides Honggfuzz support. Must be used with the honggfuzz engine instrumentation. Requires importing its dependencies using the honggfuzz_dependencies() WORKSPACE function.

  • @rules_fuzzing//fuzzing/engines:replay provides a simple engine that just executes a set of test files. It can be combined with a sanitizer and can be used for regression tests or replaying crashes.

  • @rules_fuzzing_oss_fuzz//:oss_fuzz_engine provides a fuzzing engine that reflects the environment configuration of an OSS-Fuzz build. This engine is useful in the script of an OSS-Fuzz project. Requires importing its dependencies using the oss_fuzz_dependencies() WORKSPACE function.

Configuration flags

The fuzzing rules library defines the following Bazel configuration flags that affect how a fuzz test is built:

  • --@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_engine specifies the fuzzing engine used to build and run the fuzz test. This flag should point to a cc_fuzzing_engine target.

  • --@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_engine_instrumentation specifies the engine-specific instrumentation to use. Valid values are:

    • none: No instrumentation.
    • libfuzzer: The libFuzzer-specific instrumentation. It should be used in conjunction with the @rules_fuzzing//fuzzing/engines:libfuzzer engine.
    • honggfuzz: The Honggfuzz-specific instrumentation. It should be used in conjunction with the @rules_fuzzing//fuzzing/engines:honggfuzz engine.
    • oss-fuzz: The instrumentation captured from the environment during an OSS-Fuzz build. It uses the $FUZZING_CFLAGS and $FUZZING_CXXFLAGS variables, if set, or falls back to $CFLAGS and $CXXFLAGS otherwise.
  • --@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_engine_sanitizer specifies the sanitizer configuration used to detect bugs. Valid values are:

  • --@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_fuzzing_build_mode is a bool flag that specifies whether the special FUZZING_BUILD_MODE_UNSAFE_FOR_PRODUCTION macro is defined during the build. This is turned on by default and most users should not need to change this flag.

Integrating in your project

Configuring the .bazelrc file

Each fuzz test is built with a fuzzing engine and instrumentation specified as build setting flags. For example, running a fuzz test in the libFuzzer / ASAN configuration would look like:

$ bazel test \
    --//fuzzing:cc_engine=//fuzzing/engines:libfuzzer \
    --@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_engine_instrumentation=libfuzzer \
    --@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_engine_sanitizer=asan \

This command is clearly too verbose to be used manually, so we recommend combining these options as a --config setting in your project's .bazelrc file. For the example above, we can define an asan-libfuzzer config setting as follows:

build:asan-libfuzzer --//fuzzing:cc_engine=//fuzzing/engines:libfuzzer
build:asan-libfuzzer --@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_engine_instrumentation=libfuzzer
build:asan-libfuzzer --@rules_fuzzing//fuzzing:cc_engine_sanitizer=asan

To run your fuzz test, now you can simply invoke:

$ bazel test --config=asan-libfuzzer //examples:re2_fuzz_test

You can add to your .bazelrc file as many configurations as you need. Feel free to use the .bazelrc file of this repository as a starting point.

Advanced topics

Defining fuzzing engines

TODO: The documentation for this feature is coming soon.

A fuzzing engine launcher script receives configuration through the following environment variables:

Variable Description
FUZZER_BINARY The path to the fuzz target executable.
FUZZER_TIMEOUT_SECS If set, a positive integer representing the timeout in seconds for the entire fuzzer run.
FUZZER_IS_REGRESSION Set to 1 if the fuzzer should run in regression mode (just execute the input tests), or 0 if this is a continuous fuzzer run.
FUZZER_DICTIONARY_PATH If set, provides a path to a fuzzing dictionary file.
FUZZER_SEED_CORPUS_DIR If set, provides a directory path to a seed corpus.
FUZZER_OUTPUT_ROOT A writable path that can be used by the fuzzer during its execution (e.g., as a workspace or for generated artifacts). See the variables below for specific categories of output.
FUZZER_OUTPUT_CORPUS_DIR A path under FUZZER_OUTPUT_ROOT where the new generated tests should be stored.
FUZZER_ARTIFACTS_DIR A path under FUZZER_OUTPUT_ROOT where generated crashes and other relevant artifacts should be stored.

Rule reference