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Sun, Pengfei, Han, Rui, Zhang, Mingbo, Zonouz, Saman.  2016.  Trace-free Memory Data Structure Forensics via Past Inference and Future Speculations. Proceedings of the 32Nd Annual Conference on Computer Security Applications. :570–582.

A yet-to-be-solved but very vital problem in forensics analysis is accurate memory dump data type reverse engineering where the target process is not a priori specified and could be any of the running processes within the system. We present ReViver, a lightweight system-wide solution that extracts data type information from the memory dump without its past execution traces. ReViver constructs the dump's accurate data structure layout through collection of statistical information about possible past traces, forensics inspection of the present memory dump, and speculative investigation of potential future executions of the suspended process. First, ReViver analyzes a heavily instrumented set of execution paths of the same executable that end in the same state of the memory dump (the eip and call stack), and collects statistical information the potential data structure instances on the captured dump. Second, ReViver uses the statistical information and performs a word-byword data type forensics inspection of the captured memory dump. Finally, ReViver revives the dump's execution and explores its potential future execution paths symbolically. ReViver traces the executions including library/system calls for their known argument/return data types, and performs backward taint analysis to mark the dump bytes with relevant data type information. ReViver's experimental results on real-world applications are very promising (98.1%), and show that ReViver improves the accuracy of the past trace-free memory forensics solutions significantly while maintaining a negligible runtime performance overhead (1.8%).

Sun, Pengfei, Garcia, Luis, Zonouz, Saman.  2019.  Tell Me More Than Just Assembly! Reversing Cyber-Physical Execution Semantics of Embedded IoT Controller Software Binaries. 2019 49th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN). :349–361.
The safety of critical cyber-physical IoT devices hinges on the security of their embedded software that implements control algorithms for monitoring and control of the associated physical processes, e.g., robotics and drones. Reverse engineering of the corresponding embedded controller software binaries enables their security analysis by extracting high-level, domain-specific, and cyber-physical execution semantic information from executables. We present MISMO, a domain-specific reverse engineering framework for embedded binary code in emerging cyber-physical IoT control application domains. The reverse engineering outcomes can be used for firmware vulnerability assessment, memory forensics analysis, targeted memory data attacks, or binary patching for dynamic selective memory protection (e.g., important control algorithm parameters). MISMO performs semantic-matching at an algorithmic level that can help with the understanding of any possible cyber-physical security flaws. MISMO compares low-level binary symbolic values and high-level algorithmic expressions to extract domain-specific semantic information for the binary's code and data. MISMO enables a finer-grained understanding of the controller by identifying the specific control and state estimation algorithms used. We evaluated MISMO on 2,263 popular firmware binaries by 30 commercial vendors from 6 application domains including drones, self-driving cars, smart homes, robotics, 3D printers, and the Linux kernel controllers. The results show that MISMO can accurately extract the algorithm-level semantics of the embedded binary code and data regions. We discovered a zero-day vulnerability in the Linux kernel controllers versions 3.13 and above.