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Tymburibá, M., Sousa, H., Pereira, F..  2019.  Multilayer ROP Protection Via Microarchitectural Units Available in Commodity Hardware. 2019 49th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN). :315–327.

This paper presents a multilayer protection approach to guard programs against Return-Oriented Programming (ROP) attacks. Upper layers validate most of a program's control flow at a low computational cost; thus, not compromising runtime. Lower layers provide strong enforcement guarantees to handle more suspicious flows; thus, enhancing security. Our multilayer system combines techniques already described in the literature with verifications that we introduce in this paper. We argue that modern versions of x86 processors already provide the microarchitectural units necessary to implement our technique. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our multilayer protection on a extensive suite of benchmarks, which includes: SPEC CPU2006; the three most popular web browsers; 209 benchmarks distributed with LLVM and four well-known systems shown to be vulnerable to ROP exploits. Our experiments indicate that we can protect programs with almost no overhead in practice, allying the good performance of lightweight security techniques with the high dependability of heavyweight approaches.