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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. In this paper, we consider the challenges that arise from the need to scale virtualized network functions (VNFs) at 100 Gbps line speed and beyond. Traditional VNF designs are monolithic in state management and scheduling: internally maintaining all states and operations associated with them. Without proper design considerations, it suffers from limitations when scaling at 100 Gbps link speed and beyond: the inability of efficient utilization of the cache because of the contention due to the frequent control plane activities, computational/memory-intensive tasks taking up CPU times, shares states causing the synchronization among the cores. We address these limitations by arguing for the need to granularly decompose a VNF into data/control components that are co-located within a server but can be independently scaled among the cores. To realize the approach, we design a "serverless" programming framework with novel abstraction to optimize the data components that must process packets at the line speed, reduce the contention of the data states and enable run-time scheduling of different components for improved resource utilization. The abstractions, combined with the runtime system that we design, help NFV developers focus on the logic and correctness of VNF programming without worrying about how VNFs may be scaled in or out. We evaluate our platform by comparing it with monolithic approaches using different workloads and by analyzing its advantages of separation on scalability, performance determinism, and feature velocity. 
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