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CASPER: Compiler-Assisted Securing of Programs at Runtime

Kc, Gaurav S.; Edwards, Stephen A.; Kaiser, Gail E.

Ensuring the security and integrity of computer systems deployed on the Internet is growing harder. This is especially true in the case of server systems based on open source projects like Linux, Apache, Sendmail, etc. since it is easier for a hacker to get access to the binary format of deployed applications if the source code to the software is publicly accessible. Often, having a binary copy of an application program is enough to help locate security vulnerabilities in the program. In the case of legacy systems where the source code is not available, advanced reverse-engineering and decompilation techniques can be used to construct attacks. This paper focuses on measures that reduce the effectiveness of hackers at conducting large-scale, distributed attacks. The first line of defense involves additional runtime checks that are able to counteract the majority of hacking attacks. Introducing diversity in deployed systems to severely diminish the probability of propagation to other systems helps to prevent effective attacks like the DDOS attack against the DNS root servers in October 21, 2002.

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Publisher
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Series
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-025-02
Published Here
April 21, 2011
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