Binary stirring

Richard Wartell, Vishwath Mohan, Kevin W. Hamlen, Zhiqiang Lin
2012 Proceedings of the 2012 ACM conference on Computer and communications security - CCS '12  
Unlike library code, whose instruction addresses can be randomized by address space layout randomization (ASLR), application binary code often has static instruction addresses. Attackers can exploit this limitation to craft robust shell codes for such applications, as demonstrated by a recent attack that reuses instruction gadgets from the static binary code of victim applications. This paper introduces binary stirring, a new technique that imbues x86 native code with the ability to
more » ... ze its instruction addresses each time it is launched. The input to STIR is only the application binary code without any source code, debug symbols, or relocation information. The output is a new binary whose basic block addresses are dynamically determined at load-time. Therefore, even if an attacker can find code gadgets in one instance of the binary, the instruction addresses in other instances are unpredictable. An array of binary transformation techniques enable STIR to transparently protect large, realistic applications that cannot be perfectly disassembled due to computed jumps, code-data interleaving, OS callbacks, dynamic linking and a variety of other difficult binary features. Evaluation of STIR for both Windows and Linux platforms shows that stirring introduces about 1.6% overhead on average to application runtimes.
doi:10.1145/2382196.2382216 dblp:conf/ccs/WartellMHL12 fatcat:njkb45kzhffjloul34ifgmp45i