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Memoization Attacks and Copy Protection in Partitioned Applications

By Charles W. O’donnell, G. Edward Suh, Marten Van Dijk and Srinivas Devadas


Abstract — Application source code protection is a major concern for software architects today. Secure platforms have been proposed that protect the secrecy of application algorithms and enforce copy protection assurances. Unfortunately, these capabilities incur a sizeable performance overhead. Partitioning an application into secure and insecure regions can help diminish these overheads but invalidates guarantees of code secrecy and copy protection. This work examines one of the problems of partitioning an application into public and private regions, the ability of an adversary to recreate those private regions. To our knowledge, it is the first to analyze this problem when considering application operation as a whole. Looking at the fundamentals of the issue, we analyze one of the simplest attacks possible, a “Memoization Attack. ” We implement an efficient Memoization Attack and discuss necessary techniques that limit storage and computation consumption. Experimentation reveals that certain classes of real-world applications are vulnerable to Memoization Attacks. To protect against such an attack, we propose a set of indicator tests that enable an application designer to identify susceptible application code regions. I

Year: 2011
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