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Repeatable Reverse Engineering for the Greater Good with PANDA

Dolan-Gavitt, Brendan F.; Hodosh, Josh; Hulin, Patrick; Leek, Tim; Whelan, Ryan

We present PANDA, an open-source tool that has
been purpose-built to support whole system reverse engineering.
It is built upon the QEMU whole system emulator, and so analyses
have access to all code executing in the guest and all data.
PANDA adds the ability to record and replay executions, enabling
iterative, deep, whole system analyses. Further, the replay log files
are compact and shareable, allowing for repeatable experiments.
A nine billion instruction boot of FreeBSD, e.g., is represented
by only a few hundred MB. Further, PANDA leverages QEMU's
support of thirteen different CPU architectures to make analyses
of those diverse instruction sets possible within the LLVM IR. In
this way, PANDA can have a single dynamic taint analysis, for
example, that precisely supports many CPUs. PANDA analyses
are written in a simple plugin architecture which includes a
mechanism to share functionality between plugins, increasing
analysis code re-use and simplifying complex analysis development.
We demonstrate PANDA's effectiveness via a number of
use cases, including enabling an old but legitimate version of
Starcraft to run despite a lost CD key, in-depth diagnosis of an
Internet Explorer crash, and uncovering the censorship activities
and mechanisms of a Chinese IM client.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Publisher
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Series
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-023-14
Published Here
October 27, 2014
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