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Security '01 Abstract

FormatGuard: Automatic Protection From printf Format String Vulnerabilities

Crispin Cowan, Matt Barringer, Steve Beattie, and Greg Kroah-Hartman, WireX Communications, Inc.


In June 2000, a major new class of vulnerabilities called "format bugs" was discovered when an vulnerability in WU-FTP appeared that acted almost like a buffer over-flow, but wasnÕt. Since then, dozens of format string vulnerabilities have appeared. This paper describes the format bug problem, and presents FormatGuard: our proposed solution. FormatGuard is a small patch to glibc that provides general protection against format bugs. We show that FormatGuard is effective in protect-ing several real programs with format vulnerabilities against live exploits, and we show that FormatGuard imposes minimal compatibility and performance costs.
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Last changed: 30 Apr 2002 ml
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