Capture: Centralized Library Management for Heterogeneous IoT Devices


Han Zhang, Abhijith Anilkumar, Matt Fredrikson, and Yuvraj Agarwal, Carnegie Mellon University


With their growing popularity, Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices have become attractive targets for attack. Like most modern software systems, IoT device firmware depends on external third-party libraries extensively, increasing the attack surface of IoT devices. Furthermore, we find that the risk is compounded by inconsistent library management practices and delays in applying security updates—sometimes hundreds of days behind the public availability of critical patches—by device vendors. Worse yet, because these dependencies are "baked into" the vendor-controlled firmware, even security-conscious users are unable to take matters into their own hands when it comes to good security hygiene.

We present Capture, a novel architecture for deploying IoT device firmware that addresses this problem by allowing devices on a local network to leverage a centralized hub with third-party libraries that are managed and kept up-to-date by a single trusted entity. An IoT device supporting Capture comprises of two components: Capture-enabled firmware on the device and a remote driver that uses third-party libraries on the Capture hub in the local network. To ensure isolation, we introduce a novel Virtual Device Entity (VDE) interface that facilitates access control between mutually-distrustful devices that reside on the same hub. Our evaluation on a prototype implementation of Capture, along with 9 devices and 3 automation applets ported to our framework, shows that our approach incurs low overhead in most cases (<15% increased latency, <10% additional resources). We show that a single Capture Hub with modest hardware can support hundreds of devices, keeping their shared libraries up-to-date.

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@inproceedings {274545,
author = {Han Zhang and Abhijith Anilkumar and Matt Fredrikson and Yuvraj Agarwal},
title = {Capture: Centralized Library Management for Heterogeneous {IoT} Devices},
booktitle = {30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 21)},
year = {2021},
isbn = {978-1-939133-24-3},
pages = {4187--4204},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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