[erlang-questions] binary_to_term and Leaking Atoms

Tony Arcieri <>
Fri Oct 2 23:12:55 CEST 2009


On Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 10:42 PM, Jayson Vantuyl <> wrote:

> I'm working on a network protocol.  The easy way to do it is just use
> term_to_binary and binary_to_term.  There is one problem, though.
>
> I don't necessarily trust the sender of these binaries.  It seems that
> decoding them should be relatively safe, except for the potential for
> someone to leak atoms by creating a large number of atoms until I run out of
> memory.  I presume this sort of thing is the reason that
> binary_to_existing_atom (and list_to_existing_atom) were created.
>
> A few questions:
>
> 1.  Is there any facility to "safely" decode binaries?
>

You might check out mojombo's BERT (Binary ERlang Term) serialization
format:

http://github.com/mojombo/ernie

-- 
Tony Arcieri
Medioh/Nagravision


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