Failure to Initialize Output Buffers

Drivers should initialize all output buffers with zeros before returning them to the caller. Failing to initialize a buffer can result in garbage data in any uninitialized bytes.

In the following example, a driver returns garbage in unused bytes.

   case IOCTL_GET_NAME: {
      outputBufferLength = 
      outputBuffer = (PGET_NAME) Irp->AssociatedIrp.SystemBuffer;

      if (outputBufferLength >= sizeof(GET_NAME)) {
         length = outputBufferLength - sizeof(GET_NAME);

         ntStatus = IoGetDeviceProperty(

         outputBuffer->ActualLength =
                        length + sizeof(GET_NAME);

         Irp->IoStatus.Information = outputBufferLength;

      } else {
         ntStatus = STATUS_BUFFER_TOO_SMALL;

Setting IoStatus.Information to the output buffer size causes the whole output buffer to be returned to the caller. The I/O manager does not initialize the data beyond the size of the input buffer—the input and output buffers overlap for a buffered request. Because the system support routine IoGetDeviceProperty does not write the entire buffer, this IOCTL returns uninitialized data to the caller.

Some drivers use the Information field to return codes that provide extra details about I/O requests. Before doing so, such drivers should check the IRP flags to ensure that IRP_INPUT_OPERATION is not set. When this flag is not set, the IOCTL or FSCTL does not have an output buffer, so the Information field need not supply a buffer size. In this case. the driver can safely use the Information field to return its own code.