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Diversified Process Replicæ for Defeating Memory Error Exploits

By Danilo Bruschi, Lorenzo Cavallaro and Andrea Lanzi


An interpretation of the notion of software diversity is based on the concept of diversified process replicæ. We define pr as the replica of a process p which behaves identically to p but has some “structural ” diversity from it. This makes possible to detect memory corruption attacks in a deterministic way. In our solution, p and pr differ in their address space which is properly diversified, thus defeating absolute and partial overwriting memory error exploits. We also give a characterization and a preliminary solution for shared memory management, one of the biggest practical issue introduced by this approach. Speculation on how to deal with synchronous signals delivery is faced as well. A user space proof-of-concept prototype has been implemented. Experimental results show a 68.93 % throughput slowdown on a worst-case, while experiencing only a 1.20 % slowdown on a best-case. 1

Year: 2008
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