Home → Magazine Archive → May 2017 (Vol. 60, No. 5) → MongoDB's Javascript Fuzzer → Abstract

MongoDB's Javascript Fuzzer

By Robert Guo

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 60 No. 5, Pages 43-47

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As MongoDB becomes more feature-rich and complex with time, the need to develop more sophisticated methods for finding bugs grows as well. Three years ago, MongDB added a home-grown JavaScript fuzzer to its toolkit, and it is now our most prolific bug-finding tool, responsible for detecting almost 200 bugs over the course of two release cycles. These bugs span a range of MongoDB components from sharding to the storage engine, with symptoms ranging from deadlocks to data inconsistency. The fuzzer runs as part of the continuous integration (CI) system, where it frequently catches bugs in newly committed code.

Fuzzing, or fuzz testing, is a technique for generating randomized, unexpected, and invalid input to a program to trigger untested code paths. Fuzzing was originally developed in the 1980s and has since proven to be effective at ensuring the stability of a wide range of systems, from file systems15 to distributed clusters10 to browsers.16 As people have attempted to make fuzzing more effective, two philosophies have emerged: smart and dumb fuzzing. As the state of the art evolves, the techniques that are used to implement fuzzers are being partitioned into categories, chief among them being generational and mutational.1 In many popular fuzzing tools, smart fuzzing corresponds to generational techniques, and dumb fuzzing to mutational techniques, but this is not an intrinsic relationship. Indeed, in our case at MongoDB, the situation is precisely reversed.


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