2015 10th Joint Meeting of the European Software Engineering Conference and the ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE 2015), August 30 – September 4, 2015, Bergamo, Italy

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Student Research Competition
Automated Attack Surface Approximation
Christopher Theisen
(North Carolina State University, USA)
Publisher's Version
Abstract: While software systems are being developed and released to consumers more rapidly than ever, security remains an important issue for developers. Shorter development cycles means less time for these critical security testing and review efforts. The attack surface of a system is the sum of all paths for untrusted data into and out of a system. Code that lies on the attack surface therefore contains code with actual exploitable vulnerabilities. However, identifying code that lies on the attack surface requires the same contested security resources from the secure testing efforts themselves. My research proposes an automated technique to approximate attack surfaces through the analysis of stack traces. We hypothesize that stack traces user crashes represent activity that puts the system under stress, and is therefore indicative of potential security vulnerabilities. The goal of this research is to aid software engineers in prioritizing security efforts by approximating the attack surface of a system via stack trace analysis. In a trial on Mozilla Firefox, the attack surface approximation selected 8.4% of files and contained 72.1% of known vulnerabilities. A similar trial was performed on the Windows 8 product.


Time stamp: 2019-07-19T12:23:06+02:00