The driver should assume that any data obtained from the device, whether by PIO or DMA, could have been corrupted. In particular, extreme care should be taken with pointers, memory offsets, or array indexes read or calculated from data supplied by the device. Such values can be malignant, meaning they can cause a kernel panic if dereferenced. All such values should be checked for range and alignment (if required) before use.
Even if a pointer is not malignant, it can still be misleading. For example, it can point at a valid instance of an object, but not the correct one. Where possible, the driver should cross-check the pointer with the pointed-to object, or otherwise validate the data obtained through it.
Other types of data can also be misleading, such as packet lengths, status words, or channel IDs. Each should be checked to the extent possible: a packet length can be range-checked to ensure that it is not negative or larger than the containing buffer; a status word can be checked for "impossible" bits; and a channel ID can be matched against a list of valid IDs.
Where a value is used to identify a Stream, the driver must ensure that the Stream still exists. The asynchronous nature of STREAMS processing means that a Stream can be dismantled while device interrupts are still outstanding.
The driver should not reread data from the device; the data should be read once, validated, and stored in the driver's local state. This avoids the hazard presented by data that, although correct when initially read and validated, is incorrect when reread later.
The driver should also ensure that all loops are bounded, so that a device returning a continuous BUSY status, or claiming that another buffer needs to be processed, does not lock up the entire system.