Visible to the public Biblio

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Qin, Peng, Tan, Cheng, Zhao, Lei, Cheng, Yueqiang.  2019.  Defending against ROP Attacks with Nearly Zero Overhead. 2019 IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM). :1–6.
Return-Oriented Programming (ROP) is a sophisticated exploitation technique that is able to drive target applications to perform arbitrary unintended operations by constructing a gadget chain reusing existing small code sequences (gadgets) collected across the entire code space. In this paper, we propose to address ROP attacks from a different angle-shrinking available code space at runtime. We present ROPStarvation , a generic and transparent ROP countermeasure that defend against all types of ROP attacks with almost zero run-time overhead. ROPStarvation does not aim to completely stop ROP attacks, instead it attempts to significantly increase the bar by decreasing the possibility of launching a successful ROP exploit in reality. Moreover, shrinking available code space at runtime is lightweight that makes ROPStarvation practical for being deployed with high performance requirement. Results show that ROPStarvation successfully reduces the code space of target applications by 85%. With the reduced code segments, ROPStarvation decreases the probability of building a valid ROP gadget chain by 100% and 83% respectively, with the assumptions that whether the adversary knows the vulnerable applications are protected by ROPStarvation . Evaluations on the SPEC CPU2006 benchmark show that ROPStarvation introduces nearly zero (0.2% on average) run-time performance overhead.
Wang, Ruowen, Azab, Ahmed M., Enck, William, Li, Ninghui, Ning, Peng, Chen, Xun, Shen, Wenbo, Cheng, Yueqiang.  2017.  SPOKE: Scalable Knowledge Collection and Attack Surface Analysis of Access Control Policy for Security Enhanced Android. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM on Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security. :612–624.

SEAndroid is a mandatory access control (MAC) framework that can confine faulty applications on Android. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of SEAndroid enforcement depends on the employed policy. The growing complexity of Android makes it difficult for policy engineers to have complete domain knowledge on every system functionality. As a result, policy engineers sometimes craft over-permissive and ineffective policy rules, which unfortunately increased the attack surface of the Android system and have allowed multiple real-world privilege escalation attacks. We propose SPOKE, an SEAndroid Policy Knowledge Engine, that systematically extracts domain knowledge from rich-semantic functional tests and further uses the knowledge for characterizing the attack surface of SEAndroid policy rules. Our attack surface analysis is achieved by two steps: 1) It reveals policy rules that cannot be justified by the collected domain knowledge. 2) It identifies potentially over-permissive access patterns allowed by those unjustified rules as the attack surface. We evaluate SPOKE using 665 functional tests targeting 28 different categories of functionalities developed by Samsung Android Team. SPOKE successfully collected 12,491 access patterns for the 28 categories as domain knowledge, and used the knowledge to reveal 320 unjustified policy rules and 210 over-permissive access patterns defined by those rules, including one related to the notorious libstagefright vulnerability. These findings have been confirmed by policy engineers.

Chen, Binbin, Dong, Xinshu, Bai, Guangdong, Jauhar, Sumeet, Cheng, Yueqiang.  2017.  Secure and Efficient Software-Based Attestation for Industrial Control Devices with ARM Processors. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Computer Security Applications Conference. :425–436.

For industrial control systems, ensuring the software integrity of their devices is a key security requirement. A pure software-based attestation solution is highly desirable for protecting legacy field devices that lack hardware root of trust (e.g., Trusted Platform Module). However, for the large population of field devices with ARM processors, existing software-based attestation schemes either incur long attestation time or are insecure. In this paper, we design a novel memory stride technique that significantly reduces the attestation time while remaining secure against known attacks and their advanced variants on ARM platform. We analyze the scheme's security and performance based on the formal framework proposed by Armknecht et al. [7] (with a necessary change to ensure its applicability in practical settings). We also implement memory stride on two models of real-world power grid devices that are widely deployed today, and demonstrate its superior performance.