Static Exploration of Taint-Style Vulnerabilities Found by Fuzzing


Bhargava Shastry, Technische Universität Berlin; Federico Maggi, Trend Micro Inc.; Fabian Yamaguchi and Konrad Rieck, Technische Universität Braunschweig; Jean-Pierre Seifert, Technische Universität Berlin


Taint-style vulnerabilities comprise a majority of fuzzer discovered program faults. These vulnerabilities usually manifest as memory access violations caused by tainted program input. Although fuzzers have helped uncover a majority of taint-style vulnerabilities in software to date, they are limited by (i) extent of test coverage; and (ii) the availability of fuzzable test cases. Therefore, fuzzing alone cannot provide a high assurance that all taint-style vulnerabilities have been uncovered.

In this paper, we use static template matching to find recurrences of fuzzer-discovered vulnerabilities. To compensate for the inherent incompleteness of template matching, we implement a simple yet effective match-ranking algorithm that uses test coverage data to focus attention on matches comprising untested code. We prototype our approach using the Clang/LLVM compiler toolchain and use it in conjunction with afl-fuzz, a modern coverage-guided fuzzer. Using a case study carried out on the Open vSwitch codebase, we show that our prototype uncovers corner cases in modules that lack a fuzzable test harness. Our work demonstrates that static analysis can effectively complement fuzz testing, and is a useful addition to the security assessment tool-set. Furthermore, our techniques hold promise for increasing the effectiveness of program analysis and testing, and serve as a building block for a hybrid vulnerability discovery framework.

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@inproceedings {206158,
title = {Static Exploration of {Taint-Style} Vulnerabilities Found by Fuzzing},
booktitle = {11th USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies (WOOT 17)},
year = {2017},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug