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The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

The Center for Education and Research in
Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

Yonghwi Kwon - Purdue University

Students: Spring 2022, unless noted otherwise, sessions will be virtual on Zoom.

A2C: Self Destructing Exploit Executions via Input Perturbation

Feb 22, 2017

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Malicious payload injection attacks have been a serious threat to software for decades. Unfortunately, protection against these attacks remains challenging due to the ever increasing diversity and sophistication of payload injection and triggering mechanisms used by adversaries.

In this talk, I will present A2C, a system that provides general protection against payload injection attacks. A2C is based on the observation that payloads are highly fragile and thus any mutation would likely break their functionalities. A2C mutates inputs from untrusted sources. Malicious payloads that reside in these inputs are hence mutated and broken. To assure that the program continues to function correctly when benign inputs are provided, A2C divides the state space into exploitable and post-exploitable sub-spaces, where the latter is much larger than the former, and decodes the mutated values only when they are transmitted from the former to the latter. A2C does not rely on any knowledge of malicious payloads or their injection and triggering mechanisms. Hence, its protection is general. We evaluate A2C with 30 real-world applications, including apache on a real-world work-load, and our results show that A2C effectively prevents a variety of payload injection attacks on these programs with reasonably low overhead.

About the Speaker

Yonghwi Kwon is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University. His research interests include dynamic/static binary analysis, reverse-engineering, and system security. In particular, he is interested in solving security and debugging problems using dynamic binary analysis and translation techniques.

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