Rust Visibility and Fuzzing

Jul 25, 2020

Trying to fuzz a type that is defined with pub(crate) visibility using cargo-fuzz


Found this nice tip from @CecileTonglet

and later in the thread:

The difference between the tests/ directory outside the src/ and the tests modules inside the src/ is that in the latter your tests are inside the crate and can access everything. While if you make a tests/ directory it is like a separate crate

This helped me to understand better how & why to use pub(crate).

For a directory tree like:

├── Cargo.toml
└─ src
   └── snacks

a type within can be marked like:

pub(crate) struct Tacos {}
impl Tacos {}

and be reachable or visible to its crate but kept private from the external use via its use in

mod tacos;
use tacos::Tacos;


My goal is to target a private type that is exposed with pub(crate) for fuzzing. However fuzzing internal types isn’t supported natively. Here’s an issue I found asking about the same thing:

The only way I know of would be to have cfg blocks on the visibility keywords so they’re conditionally public or private

This seems to be the best option available to me for this specific case. Another approach is simply exposing internal modules like rustls which exposes “private” fuzzing targets under an internal module. The downsides are that it loses the benefit of rust’s privacy/visibility features.

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