Retrofitting Security in COTS Software with Binary Rewriting

Pádraig O'Sullivan; Kapil Anand; Aparna Kotha; Matthew Smithson; Rajeev Barua; Angelos D. Keromytis

Retrofitting Security in COTS Software with Binary Rewriting
O'Sullivan, Pádraig
Anand, Kapil
Kotha, Aparna
Smithson, Matthew
Barua, Rajeev
Keromytis, Angelos D.
Computer Science
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Future Challenges in Security and Privacy for Academia and Industry: 26th IFIP TC 11 International Information Security Conference, SEC 2011, Lucerne, Switzerland, June 7-9, 2011: Proceedings
We present a practical tool for inserting security features against low-level software attacks into third-party, proprietary or otherwise binary-only software. We are motivated by the inability of software users to select and use low-overhead protection schemes when source code is unavailable to them, by the lack of information as to what (if any) security mechanisms software producers have used in their toolchains, and the high overhead and inaccuracy of solutions that treat software as a black box. Our approach is based on SecondWrite, an advanced binary rewriter that operates without need for debugging information or other assist. Using SecondWrite, we insert a variety of defenses into program binaries. Although the defenses are generally well known, they have not generally been used together because they are implemented by different (non-integrated) tools. We are also the first to demonstrate the use of such mechanisms in the absence of source code availability. We experimentally evaluate the effectiveness and performance impact of our approach. We show that it stops all variants of low-level software attacks at a very low performance overhead, without impacting original program functionality.
Computer science
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Pádraig O'Sullivan, Kapil Anand, Aparna Kotha, Matthew Smithson, Rajeev Barua, Angelos D. Keromytis, 2011, Retrofitting Security in COTS Software with Binary Rewriting, Columbia University Academic Commons, http://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:10836.

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