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Thursday, May 19 • 16:30 - 17:30
Defeating Stack Canaries and Memory Safety with Speculative Execution

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After decades fighting memory corruption vulnerabilities, several defenses have been developed to increase the bar for attackers to carry out exploitation. Defenses like control flow integrity (CFI) and stack smashing protector prevent completely the direct use of memory corruptions primitives, and require an attacker to employ bypass techniques to complete an attack. After the introduction of the new class of transient execution attacks, it is natural to wonder how these well established defenses perform in the post-spectre era.

In this talk, we present a sub-class of transient execution attacks, we call SPEAR. This sub-class enables an attacker to repurpose memory corruption primitives that cannot be used in the context of traditional exploitation to achieve arbitrary memory read. In our talk, we discuss how SPEAR change the game in three main use-cases: control flow integrity (CFI), memory safety languages and stack smashing protectors (SSP) . We present our end-2-end attack in which we achieve information leakage through a SPEAR attack against a buffer overflow mitigated by SSP in libpng. We also present the first application of speculative ROP in an real world attack and discuss its differences with traditional ROP.

avatar for Andrea Mambretti

Andrea Mambretti

System Security Researcher, IBM Research Zurich
Andrea Mambretti is a system security researcher at the IBM Research Zurich laboratory.He holds a PhD in Cybersecurity from Northeastern University, and a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Computer Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.His research interests lie in systems and... Read More →

Anil Kurmus

Security Researcher, IBM Research Zurich
Anil Kurmus is a security researcher at the IBM Research Zurich laboratory. His interests are mainly on systems security, software security, operating systems as well as CPU microarchitecture, both in terms of offensive and defensive research. He holds a PhD degree (Dr.-Ing) from... Read More →

Thursday May 19, 2022 16:30 - 17:30 PDT
Main CanSecWest Ballroom - Sheraton Wall Center 1000 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2R9