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Creators/Authors contains: "Kangjie Lu"

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  1. Today‚Äôs software programs are bloating and have become extremely complex. As there is typically no internal isolation among modules in a program, a vulnerability can be exploited to corrupt the memory and take control of the whole program. Program modularization is thus a promising security mechanism that splits a complex program into smaller modules, so that memory-access instructions can be constrained from corrupting irrelevant modules. A general approach to realizing program modularization is dependence analysis which determines if an instruction is independent of specific code or data; and if so, it can be modularized. Unfortunately, dependence analysis in complex programs is generally considered infeasible, due to problems in data-flow analysis, such as unknown indirect-call targets, pointer aliasing, and path explosion. As a result, we have not seen practical automated program modularization built on dependence analysis. This paper presents a breakthrough---Type-based dependence analysis for Program Modularization (TyPM). Its goal is to determine which modules in a program can never pass a type of object (including references) to a memory-access instruction; therefore, objects of this type that are created by these modules can never be valid targets of the instruction. The idea is to employ a type-based analysis to first determine which types of data flows can take place between two modules, and then transitively resolve all dependent modules of a memory-access instruction, with respect to the specific type. Such an approach avoids the data-flow analysis and can be practical. We develop two important security applications based on TyPM: refining indirect-call targets and protecting critical data structures. We extensively evaluate TyPM with various system software, including an OS kernel, a hypervisor, UEFI firmware, and a browser. Results show that on average TyPM additionally refines indirect-call targets produced by the state of the art by 31%-91%. TyPM can also remove 99.9% of modules for memory-write instructions to prevent them from corrupting critical data structures in the Linux kernel. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 22, 2024
  2. null (Ed.)