Torpedo: A Fuzzing Framework for Discovering Adversarial Container Workloads

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Virginia Tech

Over the last decade, container technology has fundamentally changed the landscape of commercial cloud computing services. In contrast to traditional VM technologies, containers theoretically provide the same process isolation guarantees with less overhead and additionally introduce finer grained options for resource allocation. Cloud providers have widely adopted container based architectures as the standard for multi-tenant hosting services and rely on underlying security guarantees to ensure that adversarial workloads cannot disrupt the activities of coresident containers on a given host. Unfortunately, recent work has shown that the isolation guarantees provided by containers are not absolute. Due to inconsistencies in the way cgroups have been added to the Linux kernel, there exist vulnerabilities that allow containerized processes to generate "out of band" workloads and negatively impact the performance of the entire host without being appropriately charged. Because of the relative complexity of the kernel, discovering these vulnerabilities through traditional static analysis tools may be very challenging. In this work, we present TORPEDO, a set of modifications to the SYZKALLER fuzzing framework that creates containerized workloads and searches for sequences of system calls that break process isolation boundaries. TORPEDO combines traditional code coverage feedback with resource utilization measurements to motivate the generation of "adversarial" programs based on user-defined criteria. Experiments conducted on the default docker runtime runC as well as the virtualized runtime gVisor independently reconfirm several known vulnerabilities and discover interesting new results and bugs, giving us a promising framework to conduct more research.

Computer Systems, Containers, Container Security, Fuzzing, Fuzz Testing, Syzkaller, gVisor