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I had an exam question on why security canaries should be short. I suspect that is so that the attacker has a harder time finding the canary. Is that right?

  • Why do you think it's harder to find (brute force?) a short canary? – domen Feb 17 at 11:50
  • I would think that you would want a security canary to be easy for an attacker to find, not hard. But then again maybe I am misunderstanding what you are talking about... – Conor Mancone Feb 17 at 13:28
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Presumably you are referring to stack canaries, which is a runtime construct and trivial to find. You want them to be short for performance reasons as they are compared every time a function returns.

You can find some more information of the performance of protection here: https://research.google/pubs/pub43809/

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