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Automated Detection, Exploitation, and Elimination of Double-Fetch Bugs using Modern CPU Features

Automated Detection, Exploitation, and Elimination of Double-Fetch Bugs using Modern CPU Features
Michael Schwarz, Daniel Gruss, Moritz Lipp, Clémentine Maurice, Thomas Schuster, Anders Fogh, Stefan Mangard
(Submitted on 3 Nov 2017)

Double-fetch bugs are a special type of race condition, where an unprivileged execution thread is able to change a memory location between the time-of-check and time-of-use of a privileged execution thread. If an unprivileged attacker changes the value at the right time, the privileged operation becomes inconsistent, leading to a change in control flow, and thus an escalation of privileges for the attacker. More severely, such double-fetch bugs can be introduced by the compiler, entirely invisible on the source-code level. We propose novel techniques to efficiently detect, exploit, and eliminate double-fetch bugs. We demonstrate the first combination of state-of-the-art cache attacks with kernel-fuzzing techniques to allow fully automated identification of double fetches. We demonstrate the first fully automated reliable detection and exploitation of double-fetch bugs, making manual analysis as in previous work superfluous. We show that cache-based triggers outperform state-of-the-art exploitation techniques significantly, leading to an exploitation success rate of up to 97%. Our modified fuzzer automatically detects double fetches and automatically narrows down this candidate set for double-fetch bugs to the exploitable ones. We present the first generic technique based on hardware transactional memory, to eliminate double-fetch bugs in a fully automated and transparent manner. We extend defensive programming techniques by retrofitting arbitrary code with automated double-fetch prevention, both in trusted execution environments as well as in syscalls, with a performance overhead below 1%.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1711.01254

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