LCS Publication Details
Publication Title: Efficient, Verifiable Binary Sandboxing for a CISC Architecture
Publication Author: McCamant, Stephen
Additional Authors: Greg Morrisett
LCS Document Number: MIT-LCS-TR-988
Publication Date: 5-2-2005
LCS Group: Program Analysis
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Executing untrusted code while preserving security requires enforcement of memory and control-flow safety policies: untrusted code must be prevented from modifying memory or executing code except as explicitly allowed. Software-based fault isolation (SFI) or \"sandboxing\" enforces those policies by rewriting the untrusted code at the level of individual instructions. However, the original sandboxing technique of Wahbe et al. is applicable only to RISC architectures, and other previous work is either insecure, or has been not described in enough detail to give confidence in its security properties. We present a novel technique that allows sandboxing to be easily applied to a CISC architecture like the IA-32. The technique can be verified to have been applied at load time, so that neither the rewriting tool nor the compiler needs to be trusted. We describe a prototype implementation which provides a robust security guarantee, is scalable to programs of any size, and has low runtime overheads. Further, we give a machine-checked proof that any program approved by the verification algorithm is guaranteed to respect the desired safety property.
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