trashMemory [just curious]

  • Alexey Tatarsky

    Alexey Tatarsky - 2004-09-16


    I was looking through the Password Safe sources, and was surprized by how trashMemory() function works (it overwrites specified memory region several times, using different values as a filler).

    I understand why there's need to do such thing to a persistent storage such as HDD, but what is the reason for doing it with RAM-based buffers?

    Please forgive me this stupid question, and thanks in advance for your answer.


    • Rony Shapiro

      Rony Shapiro - 2004-10-17

      Actually, this is a pretty good question.

      I've inherited this function (and its use) from the codebase I've taken over, and I have every reason to believe that it's from the original version from Counterpane Labs.

      Whether this is a countermeasure against a known attack against DRAM or SRAM, or a carry-over from the known practice of "scrubbing" magnetic disk media this way, I really cannot say.

      Since this is by no means a performance bottleneck, I see no reason to remove it.


    • Alexey Tatarsky

      Alexey Tatarsky - 2004-10-30

      Thank you!
      I agree that it does no harm.


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