Precise and Accurate Patch Presence Test for Binaries


Hang Zhang and Zhiyun Qian, University of California, Riverside


Patching is the main resort to battle software vulnerabilities. It is critical to ensure that patches are propagated to all affected software timely, which, unfortunately, is often not the case. Thus the capability to accurately test the security patch presence in software distributions is crucial, for both defenders and attackers.

Inspired by human analysts’ behaviors to inspect only small and localized code areas, we present FIBER, an automated system that leverages this observation in its core design. FIBER works by first parsing and analyzing the open-source security patches carefully and then generating fine-grained binary signatures that faithfully reflect the most representative syntax and semantic changes introduced by the patch, which are used to search against target binaries. Compared to previous work, FIBER leverages the source-level insight strategically by primarily focusing on small changes of patches and minimal contexts, instead of the whole function or file. We have systematically evaluated FIBER using 107 real-world security patches and 8 Android kernel images from 3 different mainstream vendors, the results show that FIBER can achieve an average accuracy of 94% with no false positives.

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@inproceedings {217581,
author = {Hang Zhang and Zhiyun Qian},
title = {Precise and Accurate Patch Presence Test for Binaries},
booktitle = {27th {USENIX} Security Symposium ({USENIX} Security 18)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-931971-46-1},
address = {Baltimore, MD},
pages = {887--902},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},