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You, Wei, Zong, Peiyuan, Chen, Kai, Wang, XiaoFeng, Liao, Xiaojing, Bian, Pan, Liang, Bin.  2017.  SemFuzz: Semantics-Based Automatic Generation of Proof-of-Concept Exploits. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. :2139–2154.

Patches and related information about software vulnerabilities are often made available to the public, aiming to facilitate timely fixes. Unfortunately, the slow paces of system updates (30 days on average) often present to the attackers enough time to recover hidden bugs for attacking the unpatched systems. Making things worse is the potential to automatically generate exploits on input-validation flaws through reverse-engineering patches, even though such vulnerabilities are relatively rare (e.g., 5% among all Linux kernel vulnerabilities in last few years). Less understood, however, are the implications of other bug-related information (e.g., bug descriptions in CVE), particularly whether utilization of such information can facilitate exploit generation, even on other vulnerability types that have never been automatically attacked. In this paper, we seek to use such information to generate proof-of-concept (PoC) exploits for the vulnerability types never automatically attacked. Unlike an input validation flaw that is often patched by adding missing sanitization checks, fixing other vulnerability types is more complicated, usually involving replacement of the whole chunk of code. Without understanding of the code changed, automatic exploit becomes less likely. To address this challenge, we present SemFuzz, a novel technique leveraging vulnerability-related text (e.g., CVE reports and Linux git logs) to guide automatic generation of PoC exploits. Such an end-to-end approach is made possible by natural-language processing (NLP) based information extraction and a semantics-based fuzzing process guided by such information. Running over 112 Linux kernel flaws reported in the past five years, SemFuzz successfully triggered 18 of them, and further discovered one zero-day and one undisclosed vulnerabilities. These flaws include use-after-free, memory corruption, information leak, etc., indicating that more complicated flaws can also be automatically attacked. This finding calls into question the way vulnerability-related information is shared today.