Check out the new USENIX Web site.

USENIX Home . About USENIX . Events . membership . Publications . Students
13th USENIX Security Symposium — Abstract

Pp. 45–56 of the Proceedings

TIED, LibsafePlus: Tools for Runtime Buffer Overflow Protection

Kumar Avijit, Prateek Gupta, and Deepak Gupta, IIT Kanpur


Buffer overflow exploits make use of the treatment of strings in C as character arrays rather than as first-class objects. Manipulation of arrays as pointers and primitive pointer arithmetic make it possible for a program to access memory locations which it is not supposed to access. There have been many efforts in the past to overcome this vulnerability by performing array bounds checking in C. Most of these solutions are either inadequate, inefficient or incompatible with legacy code. In this paper, we present an efficient and transparent runtime approach for protection against all known forms of buffer overflow attacks. Our solution consists of two tools: TIED (Type Information Extractor and Depositor) and LibsafePlus. TIED extracts size information of all global and automatic buffers defined in the program from the debugging information produced by the compiler and inserts it back in the program binary as a data structure available at runtime. LibsafePlus is a dynamic library which provides wrapper functions for unsafe C library functions such as strcpy. These wrapper functions check the source and target buffer sizes using the information made available by TIED and perform the requested operation only when it is safe to do so. For dynamically allocated buffers, the sizes and starting addresses are recorded at runtime. With our simple design we are able to protect most applications with a performance overhead of less than 10%.
  • View the full text of this paper in HTML and PDF.
    Click here if you have forgotten your password Until August 2005, you will need your USENIX membership identification in order to access the full papers. The Proceedings are published as a collective work, © 2004 by the USENIX Association. All Rights Reserved. Rights to individual papers remain with the author or the author's employer. Permission is granted for the noncommercial reproduction of the complete work for educational or research purposes. USENIX acknowledges all trademarks within this paper.

  • If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.
To become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.

?Need help? Use our Contacts page.

Last changed: 27 July 2004 aw
Technical Program
Security '04 Home