pscan - Man Page

Format string security checker for C source code


pscan [options]


pscan is a source code analysis tool which is designed to highlight potentially dangerous uses of variadic functions such as "printf", "syslog", etc. The scan works by looking for a one of a list of problem functions, and applying the following rule:

IF the last parameter of the function is the format string, AND the format string is NOT a static string, THEN complain.


The code will not report on some potention buffer overflows, because that is not its goal. For example the following code is potential dangerous:

 sprintf(static_buffer,  %s/.foorc", getenv("HOME"));"

This code could cause an issue as there is no immediately obvious bounds checking. However this is a safe usages with regards to format strings.

Return Values

If there are any errors found, pscan exits with status 1.


Alan DeKok <>