Seminars & Colloquia

Zhenkai Liang

Computer Science Department, CMU

"Automated Software Error Detection by Finding Deviations in Binaries"

Friday February 29, 2008 09:30 AM
Location: 3211, EB II NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)


Abstract: In this talk, I present my work on automatically detecting errors in software binaries. We observe that software errors usually cause two implementation of a specification to contain deviations, i.e., differences in the way they process their inputs. Based on this observation, our approach finds deviations to detect software errors related to input processing. Given two binaries implementing the same specification and an input, our approach builds a symbolic formula for each binary to characterize how it interprets the input. From the formulas, our approach generates new inputs that can demonstrate deviations/errors in the two binaries. By directly working on a binary program, our approach is precisely faithful to the binary and is not limited by the availability of source code; by generating inputs from symbolic formulas characterizing program execution, our approach significantly reduces the number of inputs needed to find deviations and software errors. Our approach is implemented by our BitBlaze binary analysis platform. In the talk, I will also discuss other related solutions I have developed using BitBlaze.

Short Bio: Dr. Zhenkai Liang is a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. His main research interest is system and software security with focuses on signature generation for remote attacks, malicious program analysis and confinement, vulnerability diagnosis, and web security. He is also interested in operating systems and software engineering. He got his Ph.D. degree (2006) and M.S. degree (2004) in Computer Science from Stony Brook University, and his B.S. degree (1999) in Computer Science and B.S. degree (1999) in Economics from Peking University. He received the best paper award at USENIX Security Symposium in 2007, and the outstanding paper award at Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) in 2003.

Host: Peng Ning, Computer Science, NCSU

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