HTTP/2 C library and tools

Nghttp2 v1.55.1

We have released nghttp2 v1.55.1.

This release includes security advisory.

Security Advisory

CVE-2023-35945: HTTP/2 memory leak in nghttp2 codec

For more information, read the security advisory.

This CVE was filed by envoyproxy/envoy project, and has already been made public, and we did not take usual security procedure. See below why.


This release fixes memory leak that happens when PUSH_PROMISE or HEADERS frame cannot be sent, and nghttp2_on_stream_close_callback fails with a fatal error. For example, if GOAWAY frame has been received, a HEADERS frame that opens new stream cannot be sent.

This issue has already been made public via CVE-2023-35945 issued by envoyproxy/envoy project. During embargo period, the patch to fix this bug was accidentally submitted to nghttp2/nghttp2 repository. And they decided to disclose CVE early. I was notified just 1.5 hours before disclosure. I had no time to respond.

PoC described in CVE is quite simple, but I think it is not enough to trigger this bug. While it is true that receiving GOAWAY prevents a client from opening new stream, and nghttp2 enters error handling branch, in order to cause the memory leak, nghttp2_session_close_stream function must return a fatal error. nghttp2 defines 2 fatal error codes:


NGHTTP2_ERR_NOMEM, as its name suggests, indicates out of memory. It is unlikely that a process gets short of memory with this simple PoC scenario unless application does something memory heavy processing.

NGHTTP2_ERR_CALLBACK_FAILURE is returned from application defined callback function (nghttp2_on_stream_close_callback, in this case), which indicates something fatal happened inside a callback, and a connection must be closed immediately without any further action. As nghttp2_on_stream_close_error_callback documentation says, any error code other than 0 or NGHTTP2_ERR_CALLBACK_FAILURE is treated as fatal error code. More specifically, it is treated as if NGHTTP2_ERR_CALLBACK_FAILURE is returned. I guess that envoy returns NGHTTP2_ERR_CALLBACK_FAILURE or other error code which is translated into NGHTTP2_ERR_CALLBACK_FAILURE.