Binary analysis is imperative for protecting COTS (common off-the-shelf) programs and analyzing and defending against the myriad of malicious code, where source code is unavailable, and the binary may even be obfuscated. Also, binary analysis provides the ground truth about program behavior since computers execute binaries (executables), not source code. However, binary analysis is challenging due to the lack of higher-level semantics. Many higher level techniques are often inadequate for analyzing even benign binaries, let alone potentially malicious binaries. Thus, we need to develop tools and techniques which work at the binary level, can be used for analyzing COTS software, as well as malicious binaries.
The BitBlaze project aims to design and develop a powerful binary analysis platform and employ the platform in order to (1) analyze and develop novel COTS protection and diagnostic mechanisms and (2) analyze, understand, and develop defenses against malicious code. The BitBlaze project also strives to open new application areas of binary analysis, which provides sound and effective solutions to applications beyond software security and malicious code defense, such as protocol reverse engineering and fingerprint generation.
The BitBlaze project consists of two central research directions: (1) the design and development of the underlying BitBlaze Binary Analysis Platform, and (2) applying the BitBlaze Binary Analysis Platform to real security problems. The two research focii drive each other: as new security problems arise, we develop new analysis techniques. Similarly, we develop new analysis techniques in order to better or more efficiently solve known problems.
The underlying BitBlaze Binary Analysis Platform features a novel fusion of static and dynamic analysis techniques, dynamic symbolic execution, and whole-system emulation and binary instrumentation. The BitBlaze platform has different components for each task: Vine, TEMU, and Rudder. The three components in tandem provide the power for effective analysis of real-world binary programs for various applications.
- Vine, the static analysis component. Open source release available now. Vine provides an an intermediate language for assembly (ILA), and an infrastructure for analyzing programs written in this language. ILA is a full language in which programs can be written, type-checked, then compiled down to assembly. We also provide analysis on the ILA, such as abstract interpretation, dependency analysis, and logical analysis via interfaces with theorem provers.
- TEMU, the dynamic analysis component. Open source release available now. TEMU provides a dynamic analysis environment through whole-system emulation and dynamic binary instrumentation. TEMU is OS-aware (i.e., it understands OS-level semantics) and enables various fine-grained dynamic analysis to build upon, such as dynamic taint analysis and fine-grained behavioral analysis.
- Rudder, the component for online dynamic symbolic execution. Rudder is an engine for online dynamic execution on binaries. At a high level, with a specified set of input sources of interest, Rudder can automatically explore different execution paths in a program determined by the input sources. It will automatically build logical formulas representing the constraints on the chosen input to take the followed paths.
You can download the currently available BitBlaze components here:
Or read more here.