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Code-Pointer Integrity



Systems code is often written in low-level languages like C/C++, which offer many benefits but also dele-gate memory management to programmers. This invites memory safety bugs that attackers can exploit to divert control flow and compromise the system. Deployed de-fense mechanisms (e.g., ASLR, DEP) are incomplete, and stronger defense mechanisms (e.g., CFI) often have high overhead and limited guarantees [19, 15, 9]. We introduce code-pointer integrity (CPI), a new de-sign point that guarantees the integrity of all code point-ers in a program (e.g., function pointers, saved return ad-dresses) and thereby prevents all control-flow hijack at-tacks, including return-oriented programming. We also introduce code-pointer separation (CPS), a relaxation of CPI with better performance properties. CPI and CPS offer substantially better security-to-overhead ratios than the state of the art, they are practical (we protect a complete FreeBSD system and over 100 packages like apache and postgresql), effective (prevent all attacks in the RIPE benchmark), and efficient: on SPEC CPU2006, CPS averages 1.2 % overhead for C and 1.9 % for C/C++, while CPI’s overhead is 2.9 % for C and 8.4 % for C/C++. A prototype implementation of CPI and CPS can be obtained fro

Year: 2016
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