Suggested Updates to the National Imagery Transmission Format (NITF) Specification

By Douglas Gastonguay-Goddard

August 19, 2020

The National Imagery Transmission Format (NITF) was brought to our attention under the DARPA SafeDocs program. In this program, we are using binary instrumentation and static analysis to understand parsers’ de facto file format specifications. The NITF format is a container format for other image files. It details a large amount of metadata, such as classification info for each file and sub-section. A single NITF file can contain, for example, multiple images, text annotations, and graphics.

This blog post shares our analysis of the format, and updates to the format that we have proposed to the NITF Technical Board. We focus on features or specification language that we believe are likely to lead to implementation errors and vulnerabilities.

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