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Hide and Seek: Exploiting and Hardening Leakage-Resilient Code Randomization

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Technical Report

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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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Information leakage vulnerabilities can allow adversaries to bypass mitigations based on code randomization. This discovery motivates numerous techniques that diminish direct and indirect information leakage i execute-only permissions on memory accesses, ii code pointer hiding e.g., indirection or encryption, and iii decoys e.g., booby traps. Among the proposed leakage-resilient defenses, Readactor is the most comprehensive solution that combines all these techniques. In this paper, we conduct a systematic analysis of recently proposed execute only randomization solutions including Readactor, and demonstrate a new class of attacks that bypasses them generically, highlighting their limitations. We analyze the prevalence of opportunities for such attacks in popular code bases and build three real-world exploits to demonstrate their practicality. We then implement and evaluate a new defense against our attacks. Our evaluation shows that our new technique is practical and adds little additional performance overhead 9.7 vs. 6.4.

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  • Computer Programming and Software

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