BFWindow: Speculatively Checking Data Property Consistency against Buffer Overflow Attacks

Jinli RAO  Zhangqing HE  Shu XU  Kui DAI  Xuecheng ZOU  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E99-D   No.8   pp.2002-2009
Publication Date: 2016/08/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2015INP0003
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Security, Privacy and Anonymity of Internet of Things)
embedded system security,  buffer overflow,  data structure coloring,  data property consistency,  speculatively checking,  

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Buffer overflow is one of the main approaches to get control of vulnerable programs. This paper presents a protection technique called BFWindow for performance and resource sensitive embedded systems. By coloring data structure in memory with single associate property bit to each byte and extending the target memory block to a BFWindow(2), it validates each memory write by speculatively checking consistency of data properties within the extended buffer window. Property bits are generated by compiler statically and checked by hardware at runtime. They are transparent to users. Experimental results show that the proposed mechanism is effective to prevent sequential memory writes from crossing buffer boundaries which is the common scenario of buffer overflow exploitations. The performance overhead for practical protection mode across embedded system benchmarks is under 1%.