Freek Verbeek: Formal Proofs of Return Address Integrity

Event Details

We present a methodology for generating a characterization of the memory used by an assembly program, as well as a formal proof that the assembly is bounded to the generated memory regions. A formal proof of memory usage is required for compositional reasoning over assembly programs. Moreover, it can be used to prove low-level security properties, such as integrity of the return address of a function. Our verification method is based on interactive theorem proving, but provides automation by generating pre- and postconditions, invariants, control-flow, and assumptions on memory layout. As a case study, three binaries of the Xen hypervisor are disassembled. These binaries are the result of a complex build-chain compiling production code, and contain various complex and nested loops, large and compound data structures, and functions with over 100 basic blocks. The methodology has been successfully applied to 251 functions, covering 12,252 assembly instructions.