Enhancing the Discovery and Mitigation of Vulnerabilities in Binary Programs

Ruoyu (Fish) Wang
University of California, Santa Barbara
Talk Series: 
02.27.2018 11:00 to 12:00
AVW 4172

In the computing landscape of the modern world, our devices and systems, including PCs, servers, industrial control systems, and smart/embedded devices, are increasingly relying on programs for which the source code is unavailable to end users, security analysts, and even manufacturers – termed “binary programs”. Oftentimes, binary programs are not fully secure, and through these devices and systems, vulnerabilities in binaries may have a broad impact on society. Because of the intrinsic complexity of programs, the discovery and mitigation of vulnerabilities in binaries is generally viewed as a difficult task. It is only more difficult due to the loss of information, especially semantics, through compilation and optimization. In this talk, I will present my research on improving the discovery and mitigation of vulnerabilities in binaries without requiring source code. I approach this goal from different angles. I will first discuss improvements on traditional vulnerability discovery techniques, such as fuzz testing, by complimenting them with assistance from either symbolic execution engines or intelligence from non-expert humans. I will then showcase a novel technique for static binary rewriting with extremely low overhead, which greatly reduces the performance impact of vulnerability mitigation and program hardening on binaries. These techniques are built upon the angr binary analysis platform, which I co-founded and maintain to help foster the future of binary analysis.