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Hardware-Assisted Fine-Grained Control-Flow Integrity: Towards Efficient Protection of Embedded Systems Against Software Exploitation

Davi, Lucas and Koeberl, Patrick and Sadeghi, Ahmad-Reza (2014):
Hardware-Assisted Fine-Grained Control-Flow Integrity: Towards Efficient Protection of Embedded Systems Against Software Exploitation.
In: 51st Design Automation Conference (DAC) - Special Session: Trusted Mobile Embedded Computing, [Conference or Workshop Item]

Abstract

Embedded systems have become pervasive and are built into a vast number of devices such as sensors, vehicles, mobile and wearable devices. However, due to resource constraints, they fail to provide sufficient security, and are particularly vulnerable to runtime attacks (code injection and ROP). Previous works have proposed the enforcement of control-flow integrity (CFI) as a general defense against runtime attacks. However, existing solutions either suffer from performance overhead or only enforce coarse-grain CFI policies that a sophisticated adversary can undermine. In this paper, we tackle these limitations and present the design of novel security hardware mechanisms to enable fine-grained CFI checks. Our CFI proposal is based on a state model and a per-function CFI label approach. In particular, our CFI policies ensure that function returns can only transfer control to active call sides (i.e., return landing pads of functions currently executing). Further, we restrict indirect calls to target the beginning of a function, and lastly, deploy behavioral heuristics for indirect jumps.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Erschienen: 2014
Creators: Davi, Lucas and Koeberl, Patrick and Sadeghi, Ahmad-Reza
Title: Hardware-Assisted Fine-Grained Control-Flow Integrity: Towards Efficient Protection of Embedded Systems Against Software Exploitation
Language: German
Abstract:

Embedded systems have become pervasive and are built into a vast number of devices such as sensors, vehicles, mobile and wearable devices. However, due to resource constraints, they fail to provide sufficient security, and are particularly vulnerable to runtime attacks (code injection and ROP). Previous works have proposed the enforcement of control-flow integrity (CFI) as a general defense against runtime attacks. However, existing solutions either suffer from performance overhead or only enforce coarse-grain CFI policies that a sophisticated adversary can undermine. In this paper, we tackle these limitations and present the design of novel security hardware mechanisms to enable fine-grained CFI checks. Our CFI proposal is based on a state model and a per-function CFI label approach. In particular, our CFI policies ensure that function returns can only transfer control to active call sides (i.e., return landing pads of functions currently executing). Further, we restrict indirect calls to target the beginning of a function, and lastly, deploy behavioral heuristics for indirect jumps.

Title of Book: 51st Design Automation Conference (DAC) - Special Session: Trusted Mobile Embedded Computing
Uncontrolled Keywords: ICRI-SC;Secure Things
Divisions: 20 Department of Computer Science
20 Department of Computer Science > System Security Lab
Profile Areas
Profile Areas > Cybersecurity (CYSEC)
LOEWE
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren > CASED – Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2016 10:13
Identification Number: TUD-CS-2014-0068
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