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IRIS: a Record and Replay Framework to Enable Hardware-assisted Virtualization Fuzzing

by   Carmine Cesarano, et al.
University of Naples Federico II

Nowadays, industries are looking into virtualization as an effective means to build safe applications, thanks to the isolation it can provide among virtual machines (VMs) running on the same hardware. In this context, a fundamental issue is understanding to what extent the isolation is guaranteed, despite possible (or induced) problems in the virtualization mechanisms. Uncovering such isolation issues is still an open challenge, especially for hardware-assisted virtualization, since the search space should include all the possible VM states (and the linked hypervisor state), which is prohibitive. In this paper, we propose IRIS, a framework to record (learn) sequences of inputs (i.e., VM seeds) from the real guest execution (e.g., OS boot), replay them as-is to reach valid and complex VM states, and finally use them as valid seed to be mutated for enabling fuzzing solutions for hardware-assisted hypervisors. We demonstrate the accuracy and efficiency of IRIS in automatically reproducing valid VM behaviors, with no need to execute guest workloads. We also provide a proof-of-concept fuzzer, based on the proposed architecture, showing its potential on the Xen hypervisor.


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