Visible to the public Biblio

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Fang, Zheng, Fu, Hao, Gu, Tianbo, Qian, Zhiyun, Jaeger, Trent, Mohapatra, Prasant.  2019.  ForeSee: A Cross-Layer Vulnerability Detection Framework for the Internet of Things. 2019 IEEE 16th International Conference on Mobile Ad Hoc and Sensor Systems (MASS). :236–244.
The exponential growth of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices not only brings convenience but also poses numerous challenging safety and security issues. IoT devices are distributed, highly heterogeneous, and more importantly, directly interact with the physical environment. In IoT systems, the bugs in device firmware, the defects in network protocols, and the design flaws in system configurations all may lead to catastrophic accidents, causing severe threats to people's lives and properties. The challenge gets even more escalated as the possible attacks may be chained together in a long sequence across multiple layers, rendering the current vulnerability analysis inapplicable. In this paper, we present ForeSee, a cross-layer formal framework to comprehensively unveil the vulnerabilities in IoT systems. ForeSee generates a novel attack graph that depicts all of the essential components in IoT, from low-level physical surroundings to high-level decision-making processes. The corresponding graph-based analysis then enables ForeSee to precisely capture potential attack paths. An optimization algorithm is further introduced to reduce the computational complexity of our analysis. The illustrative case studies show that our multilayer modeling can capture threats ignored by the previous approaches.
Zeng, Qiang, Luo, Lannan, Qian, Zhiyun, Du, Xiaojiang, Li, Zhoujun.  2018.  Resilient Decentralized Android Application Repackaging Detection Using Logic Bombs. Proceedings of the 2018 International Symposium on Code Generation and Optimization. :50–61.

Application repackaging is a severe threat to Android users and the market. Existing countermeasures mostly detect repackaging based on app similarity measurement and rely on a central party to perform detection, which is unscalable and imprecise. We instead consider building the detection capability into apps, such that user devices are made use of to detect repackaging in a decentralized fashion. The main challenge is how to protect repackaging detection code from attacks. We propose a creative use of logic bombs, which are regularly used in malware, to conquer the challenge. A novel bomb structure is invented and used: the trigger conditions are constructed to exploit the differences between the attacker and users, such that a bomb that lies dormant on the attacker side will be activated on one of the user devices, while the repackaging detection code, which is packed as the bomb payload, is kept inactive until the trigger conditions are satisfied. Moreover, the repackaging detection code is woven into the original app code and gets encrypted; thus, attacks by modifying or deleting suspicious code will corrupt the app itself. We have implemented a prototype, named BombDroid, that builds the repackaging detection into apps through bytecode instrumentation, and the evaluation shows that the technique is effective, efficient, and resilient to various adversary analysis including symbol execution, multi-path exploration, and program slicing.

Hong, Geng, Yang, Zhemin, Yang, Sen, Zhang, Lei, Nan, Yuhong, Zhang, Zhibo, Yang, Min, Zhang, Yuan, Qian, Zhiyun, Duan, Haixin.  2018.  How You Get Shot in the Back: A Systematical Study About Cryptojacking in the Real World. Proceedings of the 2018 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. :1701–1713.

As a new mechanism to monetize web content, cryptocurrency mining is becoming increasingly popular. The idea is simple: a webpage delivers extra workload (JavaScript) that consumes computational resources on the client machine to solve cryptographic puzzles, typically without notifying users or having explicit user consent. This new mechanism, often heavily abused and thus considered a threat termed "cryptojacking", is estimated to affect over 10 million web users every month; however, only a few anecdotal reports exist so far and little is known about its severeness, infrastructure, and technical characteristics behind the scene. This is likely due to the lack of effective approaches to detect cryptojacking at a large-scale (e.g., VirusTotal). In this paper, we take a first step towards an in-depth study over cryptojacking. By leveraging a set of inherent characteristics of cryptojacking scripts, we build CMTracker, a behavior-based detector with two runtime profilers for automatically tracking Cryptocurrency Mining scripts and their related domains. Surprisingly, our approach successfully discovered 2,770 unique cryptojacking samples from 853,936 popular web pages, including 868 among top 100K in Alexa list. Leveraging these samples, we gain a more comprehensive picture of the cryptojacking attacks, including their impact, distribution mechanisms, obfuscation, and attempts to evade detection. For instance, a diverse set of organizations benefit from cryptojacking based on the unique wallet ids. In addition, to stay under the radar, they frequently update their attack domains (fastflux) on the order of days. Many attackers also apply evasion techniques, including limiting the CPU usage, obfuscating the code, etc.

Quach, Alan, Wang, Zhongjie, Qian, Zhiyun.  2017.  Investigation of the 2016 Linux TCP Stack Vulnerability at Scale. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGMETRICS / International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems. :8–8.

To combat blind in-window attacks against TCP, changes proposed in RFC 5961 have been implemented by Linux since late 2012. While successfully eliminating the old vulnerabilities, the new TCP implementation was reported in August 2016 to have introduced a subtle yet serious security flaw. Assigned CVE-2016-5696, the flaw exploits the challenge ACK rate limiting feature that could allow an off-path attacker to infer the presence/absence of a TCP connection between two arbitrary hosts, terminate such a connection, and even inject malicious payload. In this work, we perform a comprehensive measurement of the impact of the new vulnerability. This includes (1) tracking the vulnerable Internet servers, (2) monitoring the patch behavior over time, (3) picturing the overall security status of TCP stacks at scale. Towards this goal, we design a scalable measurement methodology to scan the Alexa top 1 million websites for almost 6 months. We also present how notifications impact the patching behavior, and compare the result with the Heartbleed and the Debian PRNG vulnerability. The measurement represents a valuable data point in understanding how Internet servers react to serious security flaws in the operating system kernel.