AddressSanitizer (ASan)

AddressSanitizer (ASan) is a fast memory error detector based on compiler instrumentation (LLVM). It is fully usable for Chrome on Android, Chrome OS, iOS simulator, Linux, Mac, and 64-bit Windows. Additional info on the tool itself is available at

For the memory leak detector built into ASan, see LeakSanitizer. If you want to debug memory leaks, please refer to the instructions on that page instead.

Buildbots and trybots

The Chromium Memory waterfall contains buildbots running Chromium tests under ASan on Linux (Linux ASan/LSan bots for the regular Linux build, Linux Chromium OS ASan for the chromeos=1 build running on Linux), macOS, Chromium OS. Linux and Linux Chromium OS bots run with --no-sandbox, but there's an extra Linux bot that enables the sandbox (but disables LeakSanitizer).

The trybots running Chromium tests on Linux and macOS are:

  • linux_chromium_asan_rel_ng
  • mac_chromium_asan_rel_ng
  • linux_chromium_chromeos_asan_rel_ng (the chromeos=1 build running on a Linux machine)

Pre-built Chrome binaries

You can grab fresh Chrome binaries built with ASan here. The lists of ASan binaries are very long, but you can filter down to more specific releases by specifying a prefix like linux-debug/asan-linux-debug-83. This is useful for finding a build for a specific revision, since filenames are of the form asan-<platform>-<buildtype>-<revision> (but not every revision has an archived ASan build). The get_asan_chrome helper script is a handy way to download builds; its --help flag provides usage instructions.

Build tests with ASan

Building with ASan is easy. Start by compiling base_unittests to verify the build is working for you (see below). Then, you can compile chrome, browser_tests, etc.. Make sure to compile release builds.

Configuring the build

Create an asan build directory by running:

gn args out/asan

Enter the following build variables in the editor that will pop up:

is_asan = true
is_debug = false  # Release build.

Build with:

ninja -C out/asan base_unittests

Reclient build

ASan builds should work seamlessly with Reclient; just add use_remoteexec=true in your “gn args”.

Build options

If you want your stack traces to be precise, you will have to disable inlining by setting the GN arg:

enable_full_stack_frames_for_profiling = true

Note that this incurs a significant performance hit. Please do not do this on buildbots.

If you're working on reproducing ClusterFuzz reports, you might want to add:

v8_enable_verify_heap = true

in order to enable the --verify-heap command line flag for v8 in Release builds.

Verify the ASan tool works

ATTENTION (Linux only): These instructions are for running ASan in a way that is compatible with the sandbox. However, this is not compatible with LeakSanitizer. If you want to debug memory leaks, please use the instructions on the LeakSanitizer page instead.

Now, check that the tool works. Run the following:

out/asan/base_unittests \
    --gtest_filter=ToolsSanityTest.DISABLED_AddressSanitizerLocalOOBCrashTest \

The test will crash with the following error report:

==26552== ERROR: AddressSanitizer stack-buffer-overflow on address \
0x7fff338adb14 at pc 0xac20a7 bp 0x7fff338adad0 sp 0x7fff338adac8
WRITE of size 4 at 0x7fff338adb14 thread T0
    #0 0xac20a7 in base::ToolsSanityTest_DISABLED_AddressSanitizerLocalOOBCrashTest_Test::TestBody() ???:0
    #1 0xcddbd6 in testing::Test::Run() testing/gtest/src/
    #2 0xcdf63b in testing::TestInfo::Run() testing/gtest/src/
... lots more stuff
Address 0x7fff338adb14 is located at offset 52 in frame \
base::ToolsSanityTest_DISABLED_AddressSanitizerLocalOOBCrashTest_Test::TestBody()> of T0's stack:
  This frame has 2 object(s):
    [32, 52) 'array'
    [96, 104) 'access'
==26552== ABORTING
... lots more stuff

Congrats, you have a working ASan build! 🙌

Run chrome under ASan

And finally, have fun with the out/Release/chrome binary. The filter script tools/valgrind/asan/ can be used to symbolize the output, although it shouldn't be necessary on Linux and Windows, where Chrome uses the llvm-symbolizer in its source tree by default.

ASan should perfectly work with Chrome‘s sandbox. You should only need to run with --no-sandbox on Linux if you’re debugging ASan. To get reports on Windows from sandboxed processes you will have to run with both --enable-logging and --log-file=d:\valid\path.log then inspect the logfile.

You may need to run with --disable-gpu on Linux with NVIDIA driver older than 295.20.

You will likely need to define environment variable G_SLICE=always-malloc to avoid crashes inside gtk. NSS_DISABLE_ARENA_FREE_LIST=1 and NSS_DISABLE_UNLOAD=1 are required as well.

When filing a bug found by AddressSanitizer, please add a label Stability-Memory-AddressSanitizer.

ASan runtime options

ASan's behavior can be changed by exporting the ASAN_OPTIONS env var. Some of the useful options are listed on this page, others can be obtained from running an ASanified binary with ASAN_OPTIONS=help=1. Note that Chromium sets its own defaults for some options, so the default behavior may be different from that observed in other projects. See build/sanitizers/ for more details.

NaCl support under ASan

On Linux (and soon on macOS) you can build and run Chromium with NaCl under ASan. Untrusted code (nexe) itself is not instrumented with ASan in this mode, but everything else is.

To do this, remove enable_nacl=false from your, and define NACL_DANGEROUS_SKIP_QUALIFICATION_TEST=1 in your environment at run time.

Pipe chromium output (stderr) through tools/valgrind/asan/ `pwd`/ to get function names and line numbers in ASan reports. If you're seeing crashes within nacl_helper_bootstrap, try deleting out/Release/nacl_helper.

Building on iOS

It‘s possible to build and run Chrome tests for iOS simulator (which are x86 binaries essentially) under ASan. Note that you’ll need a Chrome iOS checkout for that. It isn't currently possible to build iOS binaries targeting ARM.

Configure your build with is_asan = true as described above. Replace your build directory as needed:

ninja -C out/Release-iphonesimulator base_unittests
out/Release-iphonesimulator/iossim -d "iPhone" -s 7.0 \
    out/Release-iphonesimulator/ \
    --gtest_filter=ToolsSanityTest.DISABLED_AddressSanitizerLocalOOBCrashTest \
    --gtest_also_run_disabled_tests 2>&1 |

You'll see the same report as shown above (see the “Verify the ASan tool works” section), with a number of iOS-specific frames.

Building on Android

Follow AndroidBuildInstructions with minor changes:


Use build/android/ to symbolize stack from adb logcat. It needs the --output-directory argument and takes care of translating the device path to the unstripped binary in the output directory.

Building with v8_target_arch=“arm”

This is needed to detect addressability bugs in the ARM code emitted by V8 and running on an instrumented ARM emulator in a 32-bit x86 Linux Chromium. You probably don't want this, and these instructions have bitrotted because they still reference GYP. If you do this successfully, please update! See for some context.

First, you need to install the 32-bit chroot environment using the build/ script (as described in Second, install the build deps:

precise32 build/  \
    # assuming your schroot wrapper is called 'precise32'

You'll need to make two symlinks to avoid linking errors:

sudo ln -s $CHROOT/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libc_nonshared.a \
sudo ln -s $CHROOT/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libpthread_nonshared.a \

Now configure and build your Chrome:

GYP_GENERATOR_FLAGS="output_dir=out_asan_chroot" GYP_DEFINES="asan=1 \
    disable_nacl=1 v8_target_arch=arm sysroot=/var/lib/chroot/precise32bit/ \
    chroot_cmd=precise32 host_arch=x86_64 target_arch=ia32" gclient runhooks
ninja -C out_asan_chroot/Release chrome

Note: disable_nacl=1 is needed for now.

Running on Chrome OS

For the linux-chromeos “emulator” build, run Asan following the instructions above, just like you would for Linux.

For Chromebook hardware, add is_asan = true to your and build. deploy_chrome with --mount and --nostrip. ASan logs can be found in /var/log/asan/.

To catch crashes in gdb:

  • Edit /etc/chrome_dev.conf and add ASAN_OPTIONS=abort_on_error=1
  • restart ui
  • gdb -p 12345 # Find the pid from /var/log/chrome/chrome

When you trigger the crash, you'll get a SIGABRT in gdb. bt will show the stack.

See Chrome OS stack traces for more details.


AsanCoverage is a minimalistic code coverage implementation built into ASan. For general information see To use AsanCoverage in Chromium, add use_sanitizer_coverage = true to your GN args. See also the sanitizer_coverage_flags variable for configuring it.

Chrome must be terminated gracefully in order for coverage to work. Either close the browser, or SIGTERM the browser process. Do not do killall chrome or send SIGKILL.

kill <browser_process_pid>

The gpu.*.sancov.packed file contains coverage data for the GPU process, whereas the zygote.*.sancov.packed file contains coverage data for the renderers (but not the zygote process). Unpack them to regular .sancov files like so:

$ $LLVM/projects/compiler-rt/lib/sanitizer_common/scripts/ unpack \
    *.sancov.packed unpacking gpu.6916123572022919124.sancov.packed extracting chrome.22610.sancov unpacking zygote.13651804083035800069.sancov.packed extracting extracting chrome.12.sancov extracting extracting chrome.10.sancov

Now, e.g., to list the offsets of covered functions in the binary in renderer with pid 10:

$ $LLVM/projects/compiler-rt/lib/sanitizer_common/scripts/ print \