HyperSpace: Data-Value Integrity for Securing Software

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Virginia Tech

Most modern software attacks are rooted in memory corruption vulnerabilities. They redirect security-sensitive data values (e.g., return address, function pointer, and heap metadata) to an unintended value. Current state-of-the-art policies, such as Data-Flow Integrity (DFI) and Control-Flow Integrity (CFI), are effective but often struggle to balance precision, generality, and runtime overhead. In this thesis, we propose Data-Value Integrity (DVI), a new defense policy that enforces the integrity of "data value" for security-sensitive control and non-control data. DVI breaks an essential step of memory corruption based attacks by asserting the compromised security-sensitive data value. To show the efficacy of DVI, we present HyperSpace, a prototype that enforces DVI to provide four representative security mechanisms. These include Code Pointer Separation (DVI-CPS) and Code Pointer Integrity (DVI-CPI) based on HyperSpace. We evaluate HyperSpace with SPEC CPU2006 and real-world servers. We also test HyperSpace against memory corruption based attacks, including three real-world exploits and six attacks that bypass existing defenses. Our evaluation shows that HyperSpace successfully detects all attacks and introduces low runtime performance and memory overhead: 1.02% and 6.35% performance overhead for DVI-CPS and DVI-CPI, respectively, and overall approximately 15% memory overhead.

Data Value Integrity, Value Invariant, Security Policy