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An Investigation of Kernel Data Attacks and Countermeasures

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Technical Report,01 Apr 2015,31 Aug 2016

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University of Delaware Newark United States

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Altering in-memory kernel data, attackers are able to manipulate the running behaviors of operating systems without injecting any malicious code. This type of attack is called kernel data attack. Intuitively, the security impact of such an attack seems minor, and thus, it h as not yet drawn much attention from the security community. In this project, we thoroughly investigate kernel data attack, showing that its damage could be as serious as kernel rootkits. Especially, by tampering with kernel data, we demonstrate that attackers can stealthily subvert various kernel security mechanisms and develop a new keylogger, which is more stealthy than existing keyloggers. By classifying kernel data into different categories and handling them separately, we propose a defense mechanism and evaluate its efficacy with real experiments. We expect the results of this project to enable transformative rethinking of the current kernel data security issues in a computer system.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Systems Management and Standards
  • Computer Programming and Software

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