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open_by_handle_at - open a file by a handle, based on a users data


The open_by_handle_at() system call is used to open a file given a file handle and mount point. The open_by_handle_at() call is similar to openat(), except that the former takes a file handle obtained from name_to_handle_at() instead of a pathname string.

The open_by_handle_at() provides a flexible and fast way of creating new file descriptors for an existing file without the overhead of a file system lookup. It is, however, more fragile than openat() since the target file system may not be available in the same state when it is used for the later operation.


  • mount_fd:int[K] - file descriptor of the directory at which to open the handle.
  • handle: struct file_handle*[U] - pointer to the file handle that was acquired by the name_to_handle_at system call.
  • flags: int[K] - file status flags to use when opening the handle. This can be used to control the permissions of the file being opened.

Available Tags

  • K - Originated from kernel-space.
  • U - Originated from user space (for example, pointer to user space memory used to get it)
  • TOCTOU - Vulnerable to TOCTOU (time of check, time of use)
  • OPT - Optional argument - might not always be available (passed with null value)




Kprobes + ftrace


Hooks are used to detect when the open_by_handle_at() syscall is called by userspace



Kprobes + ftrace


Hooks are used to detect when the open_by_handle_at() syscall is setting up the file descriptor.

Example Use Case

The open_by_handle_at() system call can be used to open files from a remote network system without needing to obtain the path of the file.


This system call is vulnerable to TOCTOU (time of check, time of use) attacks as the file handle may have been acquired from a different file system that may not be in the same state when the file is opened.

  • openat() - Open a file relative to a directory file descriptor
  • name_to_handle_at() - Convert a file name to handle

This document was automatically generated by OpenAI and needs review. It might not be accurate and might contain errors. The authors of Tracee recommend that the user reads the "events.go" source file to understand the events and their arguments better.