Spotting Silent Buffer Overflows in Execution Trace through Graph Neural Network Assisted Data Flow Analysis

02/20/2021 ∙ by Zhilong Wang, et al. ∙ 0

A software vulnerability could be exploited without any visible symptoms. When no source code is available, although such silent program executions could cause very serious damage, the general problem of analyzing silent yet harmful executions is still an open problem. In this work, we propose a graph neural network (GNN) assisted data flow analysis method for spotting silent buffer overflows in execution traces. The new method combines a novel graph structure (denoted DFG+) beyond data-flow graphs, a tool to extract DFG+ from execution traces, and a modified Relational Graph Convolutional Network as the GNN model to be trained. The evaluation results show that a well-trained model can be used to analyze vulnerabilities in execution traces (of previously-unseen programs) without support of any source code. Our model achieves 94.39% accuracy on the test data and successfully locates 29 out of 30 real-world silent buffer overflow vulnerabilities. Leveraging deep learning, the proposed method is, to our best knowledge, the first general-purpose analysis method for silent buffer overflows. It is also the first method to spot silent buffer overflows in global variables, stack variables, or heap variables without crossing the boundary of allocated chunks.

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