Visible to the public Biblio

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Wang, Xinda, Sun, Kun, Batcheller, Archer, Jajodia, Sushil.  2019.  Detecting "0-Day" Vulnerability: An Empirical Study of Secret Security Patch in OSS. 2019 49th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN). :485–492.
Security patches in open source software (OSS) not only provide security fixes to identified vulnerabilities, but also make the vulnerable code public to the attackers. Therefore, armored attackers may misuse this information to launch N-day attacks on unpatched OSS versions. The best practice for preventing this type of N-day attacks is to keep upgrading the software to the latest version in no time. However, due to the concerns on reputation and easy software development management, software vendors may choose to secretly patch their vulnerabilities in a new version without reporting them to CVE or even providing any explicit description in their change logs. When those secretly patched vulnerabilities are being identified by armored attackers, they can be turned into powerful "0-day" attacks, which can be exploited to compromise not only unpatched version of the same software, but also similar types of OSS (e.g., SSL libraries) that may contain the same vulnerability due to code clone or similar design/implementation logic. Therefore, it is critical to identify secret security patches and downgrade the risk of those "0-day" attacks to at least "n-day" attacks. In this paper, we develop a defense system and implement a toolset to automatically identify secret security patches in open source software. To distinguish security patches from other patches, we first build a security patch database that contains more than 4700 security patches mapping to the records in CVE list. Next, we identify a set of features to help distinguish security patches from non-security ones using machine learning approaches. Finally, we use code clone identification mechanisms to discover similar patches or vulnerabilities in similar types of OSS. The experimental results show our approach can achieve good detection performance. A case study on OpenSSL, LibreSSL, and BoringSSL discovers 12 secret security patches.
Wan, Shengye, Sun, Jianhua, Sun, Kun, Zhang, Ning, Li, Qi.  2019.  SATIN: A Secure and Trustworthy Asynchronous Introspection on Multi-Core ARM Processors. 2019 49th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN). :289–301.

On ARM processors with TrustZone security extension, asynchronous introspection mechanisms have been developed in the secure world to detect security policy violations in the normal world. These mechanisms provide security protection via passively checking the normal world snapshot. However, since previous secure world checking solutions require to suspend the entire rich OS, asynchronous introspection has not been widely adopted in the real world. Given a multi-core ARM system that can execute the two worlds simultaneously on different cores, secure world introspection can check the rich OS without suspension. However, we identify a new normal-world evasion attack that can defeat the asynchronous introspection by removing the attacking traces in parallel from one core when the security checking is performing on another core. We perform a systematic study on this attack and present its efficiency against existing asynchronous introspection mechanisms. As the countermeasure, we propose a secure and trustworthy asynchronous introspection mechanism called SATIN, which can efficiently detect the evasion attacks by increasing the attackers' evasion time cost and decreasing the defender's execution time under a safe limit. We implement a prototype on an ARM development board and the experimental results show that SATIN can effectively prevent evasion attacks on multi-core systems with a minor system overhead.

Lin, Xin, Lei, Lingguang, Wang, Yuewu, Jing, Jiwu, Sun, Kun, Zhou, Quan.  2018.  A Measurement Study on Linux Container Security: Attacks and Countermeasures. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference. :418-429.

Linux container mechanism has attracted a lot of attention and is increasingly utilized to deploy industry applications. Though it is a consensus that the container mechanism is not secure due to the kernel-sharing property, it lacks a concrete and systematical evaluation on its security using real world exploits. In this paper, we collect an attack dataset including 223 exploits that are effective on the container platform, and classify them into different categories using a two-dimensional attack taxonomy. Then we evaluate the security of existing Linux container mechanism using 88 typical exploits filtered out from the dataset. We find 50 (56.82%) exploits can successfully launch attacks from inside the container with the default configuration. Since the privilege escalation exploits can completely disable the container protection mechanism, we conduct an in-depth analysis on these exploits. We find the kernel security mechanisms such as Capability, Seccomp, and MAC play a more important role in preventing privilege escalation than the container isolation mechanisms (i.e., Namespace and Cgroup). However, the interdependence and mutual-influence relationship among these kernel security mechanisms may make them fall into the "short board effect" and impair their protection capability. By studying the 11 exploits that still can successfully break the isolation provided by container and achieve privilege escalation, we identify a common 4-step attack model followed by all 11 exploits. Finally, we propose a defense mechanism to effectively defeat those identified privilege escalation attacks.