Hong Hu

Assistant Professor
College of Information Sciences and Technology
The Pennsylvania State University

E312 Westgate Building
University Park, PA 16802-6823

gmail.com: huhong789
psu.edu: honghu

CV --- Google Scholar ---

Short Bio: I am an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. My research interests include system and software security. I like to work on vulnerability detection, exploitation and defense.

To prospective students: I'm looking for motivated students in system security and software security research. If you are interested in working with me, please contact me via honghu@psu.edu There is no RA/TA position opening this year in my lab.

Publications

Conference Proceedings

  1. MalwareTotal: Multi-Faceted and Sequence-Aware Bypass Tactics Against Static Malware Detection
    Shuai He, Cai Fu, Hong Hu, Jiahe Chen, Jianqiang Lv, and Shuai Jiang.
    In Proceedings of the 46th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2024).
  2. Recent methods have demonstrated that machine learning (ML) based static malware detection models are vulnerable to adversarial attacks. However, the generated malware often fails to generalize to production-level anti-malware software, as they usually involve multiple detection methods. This calls for universal solutions to the problem of malware variants generation. In this work, we demonstrate how the proposed method, MalwareTotal, has allowed malware variants to continue to abound in ML-based, signature-based, and hybrid anti-malware software. Given a malicious binary, we develop sequential bypass tactics that enable malicious behavior to be concealed within multi-faceted manipulations. Through 12 experiments on real-world malware, we demonstrate that an attacker can consistently bypass detection (98.67%, and 100% attack success rate against ML-based methods EMBER and MalConv, respectively; 95.33%, 92.63%, and 98.52% attack success rate against production-level anti-malware software ClamAV, Avast, and ESET, respectively) without modifying the malware functionality. We further demonstrate that our approach outperforms state-of-the-art adversarial malware generation techniques both in attack success rate and query consumption (the number of queries to the target model). Moreover, the samples generated by our method have demonstrated transferability in the real-world integrated malware detector, VirusTotal. In addition, we show that common mitigation such as adversarial training on known attacks cannot effectively defend against the proposed attack. Finally, we investigate the value of the generated adversarial examples as a means of hardening victim models through an adversarial training procedure, and demonstrate that the accuracy of the retrained model against generated adversarial examples increases by 88.51% points.
    @inproceedings{he:malware-total,
      title        = {{MalwareTotal: Multi-Faceted and Sequence-Aware Bypass Tactics Against Static Malware Detection}},
      author       = {Shuai He and Cai Fu and Hong Hu and Jiahe Chen and Jianqiang Lv and Shuai Jiang},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 46th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2024)},
      month        = {apr},
      year         = {2024},
      address      = {Lisbon, Portugal},
    }
  3. VIPER: Spotting Syscall-Guard Variables for Data-Only Attacks Website Slides Paper
    Hengkai Ye, Song Liu, Zhechang Zhang, and Hong Hu.
    In Proceedings of the 32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2023). [Acc Rate: 29%]
  4. As control-flow protection techniques are widely deployed, it is difficult for attackers to modify control data, like function pointers, to hijack program control flow. Instead, data-only attacks corrupt security-critical non-control data (critical data), and can bypass all control-flow protections to revive severe attacks. Previous works have explored various methods to help construct or prevent data-only attacks. However, no solution can automatically detect program-specific critical data.

    In this paper, we identify an important category of critical data, syscall-guard variables, and propose a set of solutions to automatically detect such variables in a scalable manner. Syscall-guard variables determine to invoke security-related system calls (syscalls), and altering them will allow attackers to request extra privileges from the operating system. We propose branch force, which intentionally flips every conditional branch during the execution and checks whether new security-related syscalls are invoked. If so, we conduct data-flow analysis to estimate the feasibility to flip such branches through common memory errors. We build a tool, VIPER, to implement our ideas. VIPER successfully detects 34 previously unknown syscall-guard variables from 13 programs. We build four new data-only attacks on sqlite and v8, which execute arbitrary command or delete arbitrary file. VIPER completes its analysis within five minutes for most programs, showing its practicality for spotting syscall-guard variables.
    @inproceedings{ye:viper,
      title        = {{VIPER: Spotting Syscall-Guard Variables for Data-Only Attacks}},
      author       = {Hengkai Ye and Song Liu and Zhechang Zhang and Hong Hu},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2023)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2023},
      address      = {Anaheim, CA},
    }
  5. μFuzz: Redesign of Parallel Fuzzing Using Microservice Architecture Website Paper
    Yongheng Chen, Rui Zhong, Yupeng Yang, Hong Hu, Dinghao Wu, and Wenke Lee.
    In Proceedings of the 32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2023). [Acc Rate: 29%]
  6. Fuzzing has been widely adopted as an effective testing technique for detecting software bugs. Researchers have explored many parallel fuzzing approaches to speed up bug detection. However, existing approaches are built on top of serial fuzzers and rely on periodic fuzzing state synchronization. Such a design has two limitations. First, the synchronous serial design of the fuzzer might waste CPU power due to blocking I/O operations. Second, state synchronization is either too late so that we fuzz with a suboptimal strategy or too frequent so that it causes enormous overhead.

    In this paper, we redesign parallel fuzzing with microservice architecture and propose the prototype μFuzz. To better utilize CPU power in the existence of I/O, μFuzz breaks down the synchronous fuzzing loops into concurrent microservices, each with multiple workers. To avoid state synchronization, μFuzz partitions the state into different services and their workers so that they can work independently but still achieve a great aggregated result. Our experiments show that μFuzz outperforms the second-best existing fuzzers with 24% improvements in code coverage and 33% improvements in bug detection on average in 24 hours. Besides, μFuzz finds 11 new bugs in well-tested real-world programs.
    @inproceedings{chen:mufuzz,
      title        = {{μFuzz: Redesign of Parallel Fuzzing Using Microservice Architecture}},
      author       = {Yongheng Chen and Rui Zhong and Yupeng Yang and Hong Hu and Dinghao Wu and Wenke Lee},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2023)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2023},
      address      = {Anaheim, CA},
    }
  7. SFuzz: Slice-based Fuzzing for Real-Time Operating Systems Website Paper
    Libo Chen, Quanpu Cai, Zhenbang Ma, Yanhao Wang, Hong Hu, Minghang Shen, Yue Liu, Shanqing Guo, Haixin Duan, Kaida Jiang, and Zhi Xue.
    In Proceedings of the 29th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2022). [Acc Rate: 22.5%]
  8. Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) has become the main category of embedded systems. It is widely used to support tasks requiring real-time response such as printers and switches. The security of RTOS has been long overlooked as it was running in special environments isolated from attackers. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices, tremendous RTOS devices are connected to the public network. Due to the lack of security mechanisms, these devices are extremely vulnerable to a wide spectrum of attacks. Even worse, the monolithic design of RTOS combines various tasks and services into a single binary, which hinders the current program testing and analysis techniques working on RTOS systems.

    In this paper, we propose SFuzz, a novel slice-based fuzzer, to detect security vulnerabilities in RTOS systems. Our insight is that RTOS usually divides a complicated binary into many separated but single-minded tasks. Each task accomplishes a particular event in a deterministic way and its control flow is usually straightforward and independent. Therefore, we identify such code from the monolithic RTOS binary and synthesize a slice for effective testing. Specifically, SFuzz first identifies functions that handle user input, constructs call graphs that start from callers of these functions, and leverages forward slicing to build the execution tree based on the call graphs and pruning the paths independent of external inputs. Then, it detects roadblocks within the coarse-grain scope that hinders effective fuzzing, such as instructions unrelated to the user input. And then, it conducts coverage-guided fuzzing on these code snippets. Finally, SFuzz leverages forward and backward slicing to track and verify each path constraint and determine whether a bug discovered in the fuzzer is a real vulnerability. We applied SFuzz on 35 RTOS samples. SFuzz successfully discovered 77 zero-day bugs, and 67 of them have been assigned CVE or CNVD IDs. Our empirical evaluation shows that SFuzz outperforms the state-of-the-art tools (e.g., UnicornAFL) on testing RTOS.
    @inproceedings{chen:sfuzz,
      title        = {{SFuzz: Slice-based Fuzzing for Real-Time Operating Systems}},
      author       = {Libo Chen and Quanpu Cai and Zhenbang Ma and Yanhao Wang and Hong Hu and Minghang Shen and Yue Liu and Shanqing Guo and Haixin Duan and Kaida Jiang and Zhi Xue},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 29th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2022)},
      month        = {nov},
      year         = {2022},
      address      = {Los Angeles, CA},
    }
  9. Detecting Logical Bugs of DBMS with Coverage-based Guidance Website Slides Paper
    Yu Liang, Song Liu, and Hong Hu.
    In Proceedings of the 31st USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2022). [Acc Rate: 18%]
  10. Database management systems (DBMSs) are critical components of modern data-intensive applications. Developers have adopted many testing techniques to detect DBMS bugs such as crashes and assertion failures. However, most previous efforts cannot detect logical bugs that make the DBMS return incorrect results. Recent work proposed several oracles to identify incorrect results, but they rely on rule-based expression generation to synthesize queries without any guidance.

    In this paper, we propose to combine coverage-based guidance, validity-oriented mutations and oracles to detect logical bugs in DBMS systems. Specifically, we first design a set of general APIs to decouple the logic of fuzzers and oracles, so that developers can easily port fuzzing tools to test DBMSs and write new oracles for existing fuzzers. Then, we provide validity-oriented mutations to generate high-quality query statements in order to find more logical bugs. Our prototype, SQLRight, outperforms existing tools that only rely on oracles or code coverage. In total, SQLRight detects 18 logical bugs from two well-tested DBMSs, SQLite and MySQL. All bugs have been confirmed and 14 of them have been fixed.
    @inproceedings{liang:sqlright,
      title        = {{Detecting Logical Bugs of DBMS with Coverage-based Guidance}},
      author       = {Yu Liang and Song Liu and Hong Hu},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 31st USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2022)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2022},
      address      = {Boston, MA},
    }
  11. FreeWill: Automatically Diagnosing Use-after-free Bugs via Reference Miscounting Detection on Binaries Slides Paper
    Liang He*, Hong Hu*, Purui Su, Yan Cai, and Zhenkai Liang. *Co-First Author
    In Proceedings of the 31st USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2022). [Acc Rate: 18%]
  12. Memory-safety issues in operating systems and popular applications are still top security threats. As one widely exploited vulnerability, Use After Free (UAF) resulted in hundreds of new incidents every year. Existing bug diagnosis techniques report the locations that allocate or deallocate the vulnerable object, but cannot provide sufficient information for developers to reason about a bug or synthesize a correct patch. In this work, we identified incorrect reference counting as one common root cause of UAF bugs: if the developer forgets to increase the counter for a newly created reference, the program may prematurely free the actively used object, rendering other references dangling pointers. We call this problem reference miscounting. By proposing an omission-aware counting model, we developed an automatic method, FreeWill, to diagnose UAF bugs. FreeWill first reproduces a UAF bug and collects related execution trace. Then, it identifies the UAF object and related references. Finally, FreeWill compares reference operations with our model to detect reference miscounting. We evaluated FreeWill on 76 real-world UAF bugs and it successfully confirmed reference miscounting as root causes for 48 bugs and dangling usage for 18 bugs. FreeWill also identified five null-pointer dereference bugs and failed to analyze five bugs. FreeWill can complete its analysis within 15 minutes on average, showing its practicality for diagnosing UAF bugs.
    @inproceedings{he:freewill,
      title        = {{FreeWill: Automatically Diagnosing Use-after-free Bugs via Reference Miscounting Detection on Binaries}},
      author       = {Liang He and Hong Hu and Purui Su and Yan Cai and Zhenkai Liang},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 31st USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2022)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2022},
      address      = {Boston, MA},
    }
  13. Cooper: Testing the Binding Code of Scripting Languages with Cooperative Mutation Website Slides Paper
    Peng Xu, Yanhao Wang, Hong Hu, and Purui Su.
    In Proceedings of the 29th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS 2022). [Acc Rate: 16.2%]
  14. Scripting languages like JavaScript are being integrated into commercial software to support easy file modification. For example, Adobe Acrobat accepts JavaScript to dynamically manipulate PDF files. To bridge the gap between the high-level scripts and the low-level languages (like C/C++) used to implement the software, a binding layer is necessary to transfer data and transform representations. However, due to the complexity of two sides, the binding code is prone to inconsistent semantics and security holes, which lead to severe vulnerabilities. Existing efforts for testing binding code merely focus on the script side, and thus miss bugs that require special program native inputs.

    In this paper, we propose cooperative mutation, which modifies both the script code and the program native input to trigger bugs in binding code. Our insight is that many bugs are due to the interplay between the program initial state and the dynamic operations, which can only be triggered through two-dimensional mutations. We develop three novel techniques to enable practical cooperative mutation on popular scripting languages: we first cluster objects into semantics similar classes to reduce the mutation space of native inputs; then, we statistically infer the relationship between script code and object classes based on a large number of executions; at last, we use the inferred relationship to select proper objects and related script code for targeted mutation. We applied our tool, COOPER, on three popular systems that integrate scripting languages, including Adobe Acrobat, Foxit Reader and Microsoft Word. COOPER successfully found 134 previously unknown bugs. We have reported all of them to the developers. At the time of paper publishing, 59 bugs have been fixed and 33 of them are assigned CVE numbers. We are awarded totally 22K dollars bounty for 17 out of all reported bugs.
    @inproceedings{xu:cooper,
      title        = {{Cooper: Testing the Binding Code of Scripting Languages with Cooperative Mutation}},
      author       = {Peng Xu and Yanhao Wang and Hong Hu and Purui Su},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 29th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS 2022)},
      month        = {apr},
      year         = {2022},
      address      = {San Diego, CA},
    }
  15. Who Goes First? Detecting Go Concurrency Bugs via Message Reordering Website Slides Paper
    Ziheng Liu, Shihao Xia, Yu Liang, Linhai Song, and Hong Hu.
    In Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS 2022). [Acc Rate: 20.2%]
  16. Go is a young programming language invented to build safe and efficient concurrent programs. It provides goroutines as lightweight threads and channels for inter-goroutine communication. Programmers are encouraged to explicitly pass messages through channels to connect goroutines, with the purpose of reducing the chance of making programming mistakes and introducing concurrency bugs. Go is one of the most beloved programming languages and has already been used to build many critical infrastructure software systems in the data-center environment. However, a recent study shows that channel-related concurrency bugs are still common in Go programs, severely hurting the reliability of Go applications.

    This paper presents GFuzz, a dynamic detector that can effectively pinpoint channel-related concurrency bugs by mutating the processing orders of concurrent messages. We build GFuzz in three steps. We first adopt an effective approach to identify concurrent messages and transform a program to process those messages in any given order. We then take a fuzzing approach to generate new processing orders by mutating exercised ones and rely on execution feedback to prioritize orders close to triggering bugs. Finally, we design a runtime sanitizer to capture triggered bugs that are missed by the Go runtime. We evaluate GFuzz on seven popular Go software systems, including Docker, Kubernetes, and gRPC. GFuzz finds 184 previously unknown bugs and reports a negligible number of false positives. Programmers have already confirmed 124 reports as real bugs and fixed 67 of them based on our reporting. A careful inspection of the detected concurrency bugs from gRPC shows the effectiveness of each component of GFuzz and confirms the components’ rationality.
    @inproceedings{liu:gfuzz,
      title        = {{Who Goes First? Detecting Go Concurrency Bugs via Message Reordering}},
      author       = {Ziheng Liu and Shihao Xia and Yu Liang and Linhai Song and Hong Hu},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS 2022)},
      month        = {feb # {--} # mar},
      year         = {2022},
      address      = {Lausanne, Switzerland},
    }
  17. Identifying Behavior Dispatchers for Malware Analysis Website Paper
    Kyuhong Park, Burak Sahin, Yongheng Chen, Jisheng Zhao, Evan Downing, Hong Hu, and Wenke Lee.
    In Proceedings of the 16th ACM ASIA Conference on Computer and Communications Security (AsiaCCS 2021). [Acc Rate: 18.9%]
  18. Malware is a major threat to modern computer systems. Malicious behaviors are hidden by a variety of techniques: code obfuscation, message encoding and encryption, etc. Countermeasures have been developed to thwart these techniques in order to expose malicious behaviors. However, these countermeasures rely heavily on identifying specific API calls, which has significant limitations as these calls can be misleading or hidden from the analyst. In this paper, we show that malicious programs share a key component which we call a behavior dispatcher, a code structure which is intercepted between various condition checks and malicious actions. By identifying these behavior dispatchers, a malware analysis can be guided into behavior dispatchers and activate hidden malicious actions more easily.

    We propose BDHunter, a system that automatically identifies dispatchers to assist triggering malicious behaviors. BDHunter takes advantage of the observation that a dispatcher compares an input with a set of expected values to determine which malicious behaviors to execute next. We evaluate BDHunter on recent malware samples to identify behavior dispatchers and show that these dispatchers can help trigger more malicious behaviors (otherwise hidden). Our experimental results show that BDHunter identifies 77.4% of dispatchers within the top 20 candidates discovered. Furthermore, BDHunter-guided concolic execution successfully triggers 13.0× and 2.6× more malicious behaviors, compared to unguided symbolic and concolic execution, respectively. These demonstrate that BDHunter effectively identifies behavior dispatchers, which are useful for exposing malicious behaviors.
    @inproceedings{park:bdhunter,
      title        = {{Identifying Behavior Dispatchers for Malware Analysis}},
      author       = {Kyuhong Park and Burak Sahin and Yongheng Chen and Jisheng Zhao and Evan Downing and Hong Hu and Wenke Lee},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 16th ACM ASIA Conference on Computer and Communications Security (AsiaCCS 2021)},
      month        = {jun},
      year         = {2021},
      address      = {Hong Kong, China},
    }
  19. Sharing More and Checking Less: Leaveraging Common Input Keywords to Detect Bugs in Embedded Systems Website Slides Paper
    Libo Chen, Yanhao Wang, Quanpu Cai, Yunfan Zhan, Hong Hu, Jiaqi Linghu, Qinsheng Hou, Chao Zhang, Haixin Duan, and Zhi Xue.
    In Proceedings of the 30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2021). [Acc Rate: 19%]
  20. IoT devices have brought invaluable convenience to our daily life. However, their pervasiveness also amplifies the impact of security vulnerabilities. Many popular vulnerabilities of embedded systems reside in their vulnerable web services. Unfortunately, existing vulnerability detection methods cannot effectively nor efficiently analyze such web services: they either introduce heavy execution overheads or have many false positives and false negatives.

    In this paper, we propose a novel static taint checking solution, SaTC, to effectively detect security vulnerabilities in web services provided by embedded devices. Our key insight is that, string literals on web interfaces are commonly shared between front-end files and back-end binaries to encode user input. We thus extract such common keywords from the front-end, and use them to locate reference points in the back-end, which indicate the input entry. Then, we apply targeted data-flow analysis to accurately detect dangerous uses of the untrusted user input. We implemented a prototype of SaTC and evaluated it on 39 embedded system firmwares from six popular vendors. SaTC discovered 33 unknown bugs, of which 30 are confirmed by CVE/CNVD/PSV. Compared to the state-of-the-art tool KARONTE, SaTC found significantly more bugs on the test set. It shows that, SaTC is effective in discovering bugs in embedded systems.
    @inproceedings{chen:satc,
      title        = {{Sharing More and Checking Less: Leaveraging Common Input Keywords to Detect Bugs in Embedded Systems}},
      author       = {Libo Chen and Yanhao Wang and Quanpu Cai and Yunfan Zhan and Hong Hu and Jiaqi Linghu and Qinsheng Hou and Chao Zhang and Haixin Duan and Zhi Xue},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2021)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2021},
      address      = {Vancouver, B.C., Canada},
    }
  21. Abusing Hidden Properties to Attack the Node.js Ecosystem Website Slides Paper
    Feng Xiao, Jianwei Huang, Yichang Xiong, Guangliang Yang, Hong Hu, Guofei Gu, and Wenke Lee.
    In Proceedings of the 30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2021). [Acc Rate: 19%]
  22. Nowadays, Node.js has been widely used in the development of server-side and desktop programs (e.g., Skype), with its cross-platform and high-performance execution environment of JavaScript. In past years, it has been reported other dynamic programming languages (e.g., PHP and Ruby) are unsafe on sharing objects. However, this security risk is not well studied and understood in JavaScript and Node.js programs.

    In this paper, we fill the gap by conducting the first systematic study on the communication process between clientand server-side code in Node.js programs. We extensively identify several new vulnerabilities in popular Node.js programs. To demonstrate their security implications, we design and develop a novel feasible attack, named hidden property abusing (HPA). Our further analysis shows HPA attacks are subtly different from existing findings regarding exploitation and attack effects. Through HPA attacks, a remote web attacker may obtain dangerous abilities, such as stealing confidential data, bypassing security checks, and launching DoS (Denial of Service) attacks.

    To help Node.js developers vet their programs against HPA, we design a novel vulnerability detection and verification tool, named LYNX, that utilizes hybrid program analysis to automatically reveal HPA vulnerabilities and even synthesize exploits. We apply LYNX on a set of widely-used Node.js programs and identify 15 previously unknown vulnerabilities. We have reported all of our findings to the Node.js community. 10 of them have been assigned with CVE, and 8 of them are rated as “Critical” or “High” severity. This indicates HPA attacks can cause serious security threats.
    @inproceedings{xiao:lynx,
      title        = {{Abusing Hidden Properties to Attack the Node.js Ecosystem}},
      author       = {Feng Xiao and Jianwei Huang and Yichang Xiong and Guangliang Yang and Hong Hu and Guofei Gu and Wenke Lee},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2021)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2021},
      address      = {Vancouver, B.C., Canada},
    }
  23. Preventing Use-After-Free Attacks with Fast Forward Allocation Website Slides Paper
    Brian Wickman, Hong Hu, Insu Yun, Daehee Jang, JungWon Lim, Sanidhya Kashyap, and Taesoo Kim.
    In Proceedings of the 30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2021). [Acc Rate: 19%]
  24. Memory-unsafe languages are widely used to implement critical systems like kernels and browsers, leading to thousands of memory safety issues every year. A use-after-free bug is a temporal memory error where the program accidentally visits a freed memory location. Recent studies show that useafter-free is one of the most exploited memory vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, previous efforts to mitigate use-after-free bugs are not widely deployed in real-world programs due to either inadequate accuracy or high performance overhead.

    In this paper, we propose to resurrect the idea of one-time allocation (OTA) and provide a practical implementation with efficient execution and moderate memory overhead. With onetime allocation, the memory manager always returns a distinct memory address for each request. Since memory locations are not reused, attackers cannot reclaim freed objects, and thus cannot exploit use-after-free bugs. We utilize two techniques to render OTA practical: batch page management and the fusion of bump-pointer and fixed-size bins memory allocation styles. Batch page management helps reduce the number of system calls which negatively impact performance, while blending the two allocation methods mitigates the memory overhead and fragmentation issues. We implemented a prototype, called FFmalloc, to demonstrate our techniques. We evaluated FFmalloc on widely used benchmarks and real-world large programs. FFmalloc successfully blocked all tested useafter-free attacks while introducing moderate overhead. The results show that OTA can be a strong and practical solution to thwart use-after-free threats.
    @inproceedings{wickman:ffmalloc,
      title        = {{Preventing Use-After-Free Attacks with Fast Forward Allocation}},
      author       = {Brian Wickman and Hong Hu and Insu Yun and Daehee Jang and JungWon Lim and Sanidhya Kashyap and Taesoo Kim},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2021)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2021},
      address      = {Vancouver, B.C., Canada},
    }
  25. One Engine to Fuzz 'em All: Generic Language Processor Testing with Semantic Validation Website Paper
    Yongheng Chen, Rui Zhong, Hong Hu, Hangfan Zhang, Yupeng Yang, Dinghao Wu, and Wenke Lee.
    In Proceedings of the 42nd IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland 2021). [Acc Rate: 12.08%]
  26. Language processors, such as compilers and interpreters, are indispensable in building modern software. Errors in language processors can lead to severe consequences, like incorrect functionalities or even malicious attacks. However, it is not trivial to automatically test language processors to find bugs. Existing testing methods (or fuzzers) either fail to generate high-quality (i.e., semantically correct) test cases, or only support limited programming languages.

    In this paper, we propose POLYGLOT, a generic fuzzing framework that generates high-quality test cases for exploring processors of different programming languages. To achieve the generic applicability, POLYGLOT neutralizes the difference in syntax and semantics of programming languages with a uniform immediate representation (IR). To improve the language validity, POLYGLOT performs constrained mutation and semantic validation to preserve syntactic correctness and fix semantic errors. We have applied POLYGLOT on 21 popular language processors of 9 programming languages, and identified 173 new bugs, 113 of which are fixed with 18 CVEs assigned. Our experiments show that POLYGLOT can support a wide range of programming languages, and outperforms existing fuzzers with up to 30× improvement in code coverage.
    @inproceedings{chen:polyglot,
      title        = {{One Engine to Fuzz 'em All: Generic Language Processor Testing with Semantic Validation}},
      author       = {Yongheng Chen and Rui Zhong and Hong Hu and Hangfan Zhang and Yupeng Yang and Dinghao Wu and Wenke Lee},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 42nd IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland 2021)},
      month        = {may},
      year         = {2021},
      address      = {San Francisco, CA},
    }
  27. WINNIE: Fuzzing Windows Applications with Harness Synthesis and Fast Cloning Website Slides Paper
    Jinho Jung, Stephen Tong, Hong Hu, Jungwon Lim, Yonghwi Jin, and Taesoo Kim.
    In Proceedings of the 28th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS 2021). [Acc Rate: 15.2%]
  28. Fuzzing is an emerging technique to automatically validate programs and uncover bugs. It has been widely used to test many programs and has found thousands of security vulnerabilities. However, existing fuzzing efforts are mainly centered around Unix-like systems, as Windows imposes unique challenges for fuzzing: a closed-source ecosystem, the heavy use of graphical interfaces and the lack of fast process cloning machinery.

    In this paper, we propose two solutions to address the challenges Windows fuzzing faces. Our system, WINNIE, first tries to synthesize a harness for the application, a simple program that directly invokes target functions, based on sample executions. It then tests the harness, instead of the original complicated program, using an efficient implementation of fork on Windows. Using these techniques, WINNIE can bypass irrelevant GUI code to test logic deep within the application. We used WINNIE to fuzz 59 closed-source Windows executables, and it successfully generated valid fuzzing harnesses for all of them. In our evaluation, WINNIE can support 2.2× more programs than existing Windows fuzzers could, and identified 3.9× more program states and achieved 26.6× faster execution. In total, WINNIE found 61 unique bugs in 32 Windows executables.
    @inproceedings{jung:winnie,
      title        = {{WINNIE: Fuzzing Windows Applications with Harness Synthesis and Fast Cloning}},
      author       = {Jinho Jung and Stephen Tong and Hong Hu and Jungwon Lim and Yonghwi Jin and Taesoo Kim},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 28th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS 2021)},
      month        = {feb},
      year         = {2021},
      address      = {Virtual},
    }
  29. SQUIRREL: Testing Database Management Systems with Language Validity and Coverage Feedback Website Slides Paper
    Rui Zhong, Yongheng Chen, Hong Hu, Hangfan Zhang, Wenke Lee, and Dinghao Wu.
    In Proceedings of the 27th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2020). [Acc Rate: 16.9%]
  30. Fuzzing is an increasingly popular technique for verifying software functionalities and finding security vulnerabilities. However, current mutation-based fuzzers cannot effectively test database management systems (DBMSs), which strictly check inputs for valid syntax and semantics. Generation-based testing can guarantee the syntax correctness of the inputs, but it does not utilize any feedback, like code coverage, to guide the path exploration.

    In this paper, we develop Squirrel, a novel fuzzing framework that considers both language validity and coverage feedback to test DBMSs. We design an intermediate representation (IR) to maintain SQL queries in a structural and informative manner. To generate syntactically correct queries, we perform type-based mutations on IR, including statement insertion, deletion and replacement. To mitigate semantic errors, we analyze each IR to identify the logical dependencies between arguments, and generate queries that satisfy these dependencies. We evaluated Squirrel on four popular DBMSs: SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL and MariaDB. Squirrel found 51 bugs in SQLite, 7 in MySQL and 5 in MariaDB. 52 of the bugs are fixed with 12 CVEs assigned. In our experiment, Squirrel achieves 2.4× -- 243.9× higher semantic correctness than state-of-the-art fuzzers, and explores 2.0×-10.9× more new edges than mutation-based tools. These results show that Squirrel is effective in finding memory errors in database management systems.
    @inproceedings{zhong:squirrel,
      title        = {{SQUIRREL: Testing Database Management Systems with Language Validity and Coverage Feedback}},
      author       = {Rui Zhong and Yongheng Chen and Hong Hu and Hangfan Zhang and Wenke Lee and Dinghao Wu},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 27th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2020)},
      month        = {nov},
      year         = {2020},
      address      = {Orlando, USA},
    }
  31. APOLLO: Automatic Detection and Diagnosis of Performance Regressions in Database Systems Website Slides Paper
    Jinho Jung, Hong Hu, Joy Arulraj, Taesoo Kim, and Woonhak Kang.
    In Proceedings of the 46th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB 2020). [Acc Rate: 25%]
  32. The practical art of constructing database management systems (DBMSs) involves a morass of trade-offs among query execution speed, query optimization speed, standards compliance, feature parity, modularity, portability, and other goals. It is no surprise that DBMSs, like all complex software systems, contain bugs that can adversely affect their performance. The performance of DBMSs is an important metric as it determines how quickly an application can take in new information and use it to make new decisions.

    Both developers and users face challenges while dealing with performance regression bugs. First, developers usually find it challenging to manually design test cases to uncover performance regressions since DBMS components tend to have complex interactions. Second, users encountering performance regressions are often unable to report them, as the regression-triggering queries could be complex and database-dependent. Third, developers have to expend a lot of effort on localizing the root cause of the reported bugs, due to the system complexity and software development complexity.

    Given these challenges, this paper presents the design of APOLLO, a toolchain for automatically detecting, reporting, and diagnosing performance regressions in DBMSs. We demonstrate that APOLLO automates the generation of regression-triggering queries, simplifies the bug reporting process for users, and enables developers to quickly pinpoint the root cause of performance regressions. By automating the detection and diagnosis of performance regressions, APOLLO reduces the labor cost of developing efficient DBMSs.
    @inproceedings{jung:apollo,
      title        = {{APOLLO: Automatic Detection and Diagnosis of Performance Regressions in Database Systems}},
      author       = {Jinho Jung and Hong Hu and Joy Arulraj and Taesoo Kim and Woonhak Kang},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 46th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB 2020)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2020},
      address      = {Tokyo, Japan},
    }
  33. DESENSITIZATION: Privacy-Aware and Attack-Preserving Crash Report Website Slides Paper
    Ren Ding*, Hong Hu*, Wen Xu, and Taesoo Kim. *Co-First Author
    In Proceedings of the 27th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS 2020). [Acc Rate: 17.0%]
    Top 10 Finalist, CSAW 2020
  34. Software vendors collect crash reports from end-users to assist in the debugging and testing of their products. However, crash reports may contain users' private information, like names and passwords, rendering the user hesitant to share the reports with developers. We need a mechanism to protect users' privacy in crash reports on the client side while keeping sufficient information to support server-side debugging and analysis.

    In this paper, we propose the DESENSITIZATION technique, which generates privacy-aware and attack-preserving crash reports from crashed executions. Our tool adopts lightweight methods to identify bug-related and attack-related data from the memory, and removes other data to protect users' privacy. Since a large portion of the desensitized memory contains null bytes, we store crash reports in spare files to save the network bandwidth and the server-side storage. We prototype DESENSITIZATION and apply it to a large number of crashes of real-world programs, like browsers and the JavaScript engine. The result shows that our DESENSITIZATION technique can eliminate 80.9% of non-zero bytes from coredumps, and 49.0% from minidumps. The desensitized crash report can be 50.5% smaller than the original one, which significantly saves resources for report submission and storage. Our DESENSITIZATION technique is a push-button solution for the privacy-aware crash report.
    @inproceedings{ding:desensitization,
      title        = {{DESENSITIZATION: Privacy-Aware and Attack-Preserving Crash Report}},
      author       = {Ren Ding and Hong Hu and Wen Xu and Taesoo Kim},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 27th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS 2020)},
      month        = {feb},
      year         = {2020},
      address      = {San Diego, CA},
    }
  35. Where Does It Go? Refining Indirect-Call Targets with Multi-Layer Type Analysis Website Slides Paper
    Kangjie Lu, and Hong Hu.
    In Proceedings of the 26th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2019). [Acc Rate: 16.0%]
    Awarded Best Paper
  36. System software commonly uses indirect calls to realize dynamic program behaviors. However, indirect-calls also bring challenges to constructing a precise control-flow graph that is a standard prerequisite for many static program-analysis and system-hardening techniques. Unfortunately, identifying indirect-call targets is a hard problem. In particular, modern compilers do not recognize indirect-call targets by default. Existing approaches identify indirect-call targets based on type analysis that matches the types of function pointers and the ones of address-taken functions. Such approaches, however, suffer from a high false-positive rate as many irrelevant functions may share the same types.

    In this paper, we propose a new approach, namely Multi-Layer Type Analysis (MLTA), to effectively refine indirect-call targets for C/C++ programs. MLTA relies on an observation that function pointers are commonly stored into objects whose types have a multi-layer type hierarchy; before indirect calls, function pointers will be loaded from objects with the same type hierarchy "layer by layer". By matching the multi-layer types of function pointers and functions, MLTA can dramatically refine indirect-call targets. MLTA is effective because multi-layer types are more restrictive than single-layer types. It does not introduce false negatives by conservatively tracking targets propagation between multi-layer types, and the layered design allows MLTA to safely fall back whenever the analysis for a layer becomes infeasible. We have implemented MLTA in a system, namely TypeDive, based on LLVM and extensively evaluated it with the Linux kernel, the FreeBSD kernel, and the Firefox browser. Evaluation results show that TypeDive can eliminate 86% to 98% more indirect-call targets than existing approaches do, without introducing new false negatives. We also demonstrate that TypeDive not only improves the scalability of static analysis but also benefits semantic-bug detection. With TypeDive, we have found 35 new deep semantic bugs in the Linux kernel.
    @inproceedings{lu:typedive,
      title        = {{Where Does It Go? Refining Indirect-Call Targets with Multi-Layer Type Analysis}},
      author       = {Kangjie Lu and Hong Hu},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 26th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2019)},
      month        = {nov},
      year         = {2019},
      address      = {London, UK},
    }
  37. RAZOR: A Framework for Post-deployment Software Debloating Website Slides Paper
    Chenxiong Qian*, Hong Hu*, Mansour A Alharthi, Pak Ho Chung, Taesoo Kim, and Wenke Lee. *Co-First Author
    In Proceedings of the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2019). [Acc Rate: 16.0%]
  38. Commodity software typically includes a large number of functionalities for a broad user population. However, each individual user usually only needs a small subset of all supported functionalities. The bloated code not only hinders optimal execution, but also leads to a larger attack surface. Recent works have explored program debloating as an emerging solution to this problem. Unfortunately, these works require program source code, limiting their real-world deployability.

    In this paper, we propose a practical debloating framework, RAZOR, that performs code reduction for deployed binaries. Based on users’ specifications, our tool customizes the binary to generate a functional program with minimal code size. Instead of only supporting given test cases, RAZOR takes several control-flow heuristics to infer complementary code that is necessary to support user-expected functionalities. We evaluated RAZOR on commonly used benchmarks and real-world applications, including the web browser FireFox and the close-sourced PDF reader FoxitReader. The result shows that RAZOR is able to reduce over 70% of the code from the bloated binary. It produces functional programs and does not introduce any security issues. RAZOR is thus a practical framework for debloating real-world programs.
    @inproceedings{qian:razor,
      title        = {{RAZOR: A Framework for Post-deployment Software Debloating}},
      author       = {Chenxiong Qian and Hong Hu and Mansour A Alharthi and Pak Ho Chung and Taesoo Kim and Wenke Lee},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2019)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2019},
      address      = {Santa Clara, CA},
    }
  39. Fuzzification: Anti-Fuzzing Techniques Website Slides Paper
    Jinho Jung, Hong Hu, David Solodukhin, Daniel Pagan, Kyu Hyung Lee, and Taesoo Kim.
    In Proceedings of the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2019). [Acc Rate: 16.0%]
  40. Fuzzing is a software testing technique that quickly and automatically explores the input space of a program without knowing its internals. Therefore, developers commonly use fuzzing as part of test integration throughout the software development process. Unfortunately, it also means that such a blackbox and the automatic natures of fuzzing are appealing to adversaries who are looking for zero-day vulnerabilities.

    To solve this problem, we propose a new mitigation approach, called Fuzzification , that helps developers protect the released, binary-only software from attackers who are capable of applying state-of-the-art fuzzing techniques. Given a performance budget, this approach aims to hinder the fuzzing process from adversaries as much as possible. We propose three Fuzzification techniques: 1) SpeedBump, which amplifies the slowdown in normal executions by hundreds of times to the fuzzed execution, 2) BranchTrap, interfering with feedback logic by hiding paths and polluting coverage maps, and 3) AntiHybrid, hindering taint-analysis and symbolic execution. Each technique is designed with best-effort, defensive measures that attempt to hinder adversaries from bypassing Fuzzification .

    Our evaluation on popular fuzzers and real-world applications shows that Fuzzification effectively reduces the number of discovered paths by 70.3% and decreases the number of identified crashes by 93.0% from real-world binaries, and decreases the number of detected bugs by 67.5% from LAVA-M dataset while under user-specified overheads for common workloads. We discuss the robustness of Fuzzification techniques against adversarial analysis techniques. We open-source our Fuzzification system to foster future research.
    @inproceedings{jung:fuzzification,
      title        = {{Fuzzification: Anti-Fuzzing Techniques}},
      author       = {Jinho Jung and Hong Hu and David Solodukhin and Daniel Pagan and Kyu Hyung Lee and Taesoo Kim},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2019)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2019},
      address      = {Santa Clara, CA},
    }
  41. Enforcing Unique Code Target Property for Control-Flow Integrity Website Slides Paper
    Hong Hu, Chenxiong Qian, Carter Yagemann, Simon Pak Ho Chung, William R. Harris, Taesoo Kim, and Wenke Lee.
    In Proceedings of the 25th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2018). [Acc Rate: 16.6%]
  42. The goal of control-flow integrity (CFI) is to stop control-hijacking attacks by ensuring that each indirect control-flow transfer (ICT) jumps to its legitimate target. However, existing implementations of CFI have fallen short of this goal because their approaches are inaccurate and as a result, the set of allowable targets for an ICT instruction is too large, making illegal jumps possible.

    In this paper, we propose the Unique Code Target (UCT) property for CFI. Namely, for each invocation of an ICT instruction, there should be one and only one valid target. We develop a prototype called μCFI to enforce this new property. During compilation, μCFI identifies the sensitive instructions that influence ICT and instruments the program to record necessary execution context. At runtime, μCFI monitors the program execution in a different process, and performs points-to analysis by interpreting sensitive instructions using the recorded execution context in a memory safe manner. It checks runtime ICT targets against the analysis results to detect CFI violations. We apply μCFI to SPEC benchmarks and 2 servers (nginx and vsftpd) to evaluate its efficacy of enforcing UCT and its overhead. We also test μCFI against control-hijacking attacks, including 5 real-world exploits, 1 proof of concept COOP attack, and 2 synthesized attacks that bypass existing defenses. The results show that μCFI strictly enforces the UCT property for protected programs, successfully detects all attacks, and introduces less than 10% performance overhead.
    @inproceedings{hu:mucfi,
      title        = {{Enforcing Unique Code Target Property for Control-Flow Integrity}},
      author       = {Hong Hu and Chenxiong Qian and Carter Yagemann and Simon Pak Ho Chung and William R. Harris and Taesoo Kim and Wenke Lee},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 25th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2018)},
      month        = {oct},
      year         = {2018},
      address      = {Toronto, ON, Canada},
    }
  43. The "Web/Local" Boundary Is Fuzzy – A Security Study of Chrome's Process-based Sandboxing Website Slides Paper
    Yaoqi Jia, Zheng Leong Chua, Hong Hu, Shuo Chen, Prateek Saxena, and Zhenkai Liang.
    In Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2016). [Acc Rate: 16.5%]
  44. Process-based isolation, suggested by several research prototypes, is a cornerstone of modern browser security architectures. Google Chrome is the first commercial browser that adopts this architecture. Unlike several research prototypes, Chrome’s process-based design does not isolate different web origins, but primarily promises to protect “the local system” from “the web”. However, as billions of users now use web-based cloud services (e.g., Dropbox and Google Drive), which are integrated into the local system, the premise that browsers can effectively isolate the web from the local system has become questionable. In this paper, we argue that, if the process-based isolation disregards the same-origin policy as one of its goals, then its promise of maintaining the “web/local system (local)” separation is doubtful. Specifically, we show that existing memory vulnerabilities in Chrome’s renderer can be used as a stepping-stone to drop executables/scripts in the local file system, install unwanted applications and misuse system sensors. These attacks are purely data-oriented and do not alter any control flow or import foreign code. Thus, such attacks bypass binary-level protection mechanisms, including ASLR and in-memory partitioning. Finally, we discuss various full defenses and present a possible way to mitigate the attacks presented.
    @inproceedings{jia:chrome-attack,
      title        = {{The "Web/Local" Boundary Is Fuzzy – A Security Study of Chrome's Process-based Sandboxing}},
      author       = {Yaoqi Jia and Zheng Leong Chua and Hong Hu and Shuo Chen and Prateek Saxena and Zhenkai Liang},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2016)},
      month        = {oct},
      year         = {2016},
      address      = {Vienna, Austria},
    }
  45. Data-Oriented Programming: On the Expressiveness of Non-Control Data Attacks Website Slides Paper
    Hong Hu, Shweta Shinde, Sendroiu Adrian, Zheng Leong Chua, Prateek Saxena, and Zhenkai Liang.
    In Proceedings of the 37th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland 2016). [Acc Rate: 13.8%]
  46. As control-flow hijacking defenses gain adoption, it is important to understand the remaining capabilities of adversaries via memory exploits. Attacks targeting non-control data in memory can exhibit information leakage or privilege escalation. Compared to control-flow hijacking attacks, such noncontrol data exploits have limited expressiveness; however, the question is: what is the real expressive power of non-control data attacks? In this paper we show that such attacks are Turing-complete. We present a systematic technique called data-oriented programming (DOP) to construct expressive non-control data exploits for arbitrary x86 programs. In the experimental evaluation using 9 programs, we identified 7518 data-oriented x86 gadgets and 5052 gadget dispatchers, which are the building blocks for DOP. 8 out of 9 real-world programs have gadgets to simulate arbitrary computations and 2 of them are confirmed to be able to build Turing-complete attacks. We build 3 end-to-end attacks to bypass randomization defenses without leaking addresses, to run a network bot which takes commands from the attacker, and to alter the memory permissions. All the attacks work in the presence of ASLR and DEP, demonstrating how the expressiveness offered by DOP significantly empowers the attacker.
    @inproceedings{hu:dop,
      title        = {{Data-Oriented Programming: On the Expressiveness of Non-Control Data Attacks}},
      author       = {Hong Hu and Shweta Shinde and Sendroiu Adrian and Zheng Leong Chua and Prateek Saxena and Zhenkai Liang},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 37th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland 2016)},
      month        = {may},
      year         = {2016},
      address      = {San Francisco, CA},
    }
  47. Identifying Arbitrary Memory Access Vulnerabilities in Privilege-Separated Software Slides Paper
    Hong Hu, Zheng Leong Chua, Zhenkai Liang, and Prateek Saxena.
    In Proceedings of the 20th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 2015). [Acc Rate: 20%]
  48. Privilege separation is a widely used technique to secure complex software systems. With privilege separation, software components are divided into several partitions and these partitions can only communicate through limited interfaces. However, the interfaces still provide a channel for one partition to influence code in other partitions. As a result, certain memory access patterns can be leveraged by attackers to perform arbitrary memory access. We refer to this type of memory access errors by the acronym DUI (Dereference Under the Influence). In this paper, we present a systematic method to detect vulnerabilities leading to DUI through binary analysis, and to estimate the capability attackers can obtain through DUI exploits. The evaluation shows that our approach can accurately identify vulnerable code that leads to arbitrary memory access in real-world software components and programs, when they are transformed to privilege-separated designs.
    @inproceedings{hu:dui,
      title        = {{Identifying Arbitrary Memory Access Vulnerabilities in Privilege-Separated Software}},
      author       = {Hong Hu and Zheng Leong Chua and Zhenkai Liang and Prateek Saxena},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 20th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 2015)},
      month        = {september},
      year         = {2015},
      address      = {Vienna, Austria},
    }
  49. Automatic Generation of Data-Oriented Exploits Website Slides Paper
    Hong Hu, Zheng Leong Chua, Sendroiu Adrian, Prateek Saxena, and Zhenkai Liang.
    In Proceedings of the 24th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2015). [Acc Rate: 16.0%]
  50. As defense solutions against control-flow hijacking attacks gain wide deployment, control-oriented exploits from memory errors become difficult. As an alternative, attacks targeting non-control data do not require diverting the application’s control flow during an attack. Although it is known that such data-oriented attacks can mount significant damage, no systematic methods to automatically construct them from memory errors have been developed. In this work, we develop a new technique called data-flow stitching, which systematically finds ways to join data flows in the program to generate data-oriented exploits. We build a prototype embodying our technique in a tool called FLOWSTITCH that works directly on Windows and Linux binaries. In our experiments, we find that FLOWSTITCH automatically constructs 16 previously unknown and three known data-oriented attacks from eight real-world vulnerable programs. All the automatically-crafted exploits respect fine-grained CFI and DEP constraints, and 10 out of the 19 exploits work with standard ASLR defenses enabled. The constructed exploits can cause significant damage, such as disclosure of sensitive information (e.g., passwords and encryption keys) and escalation of privilege.
    @inproceedings{hu:flowstitch,
      title        = {{Automatic Generation of Data-Oriented Exploits}},
      author       = {Hong Hu and Zheng Leong Chua and Sendroiu Adrian and Prateek Saxena and Zhenkai Liang},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 24th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX 2015)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2015},
      address      = {Santa Clara, CA},
    }
  51. DroidVault: A Trusted Data Vault for Android Devices Paper
    Xiaolei Li, Hong Hu, Guangdong Bai, Yaoqi Jia, Zhenkai Liang, and Prateek Saxena.
    In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering of Complex Computer Systems (ICECCS 2014). [Acc Rate: 27.4%]
    Awarded Best Paper
  52. Mobile OSes and applications form a large, complex and vulnerability-prone software stack. In such an environment, security techniques to strongly protect sensitive data in mobile devices are important and challenging. To address such challenges, we introduce the concept of the trusted data vault, a small trusted engine that securely manages the storage and usage of sensitive data in an untrusted mobile device. In this paper, we design and build DroidVault— the first realization of a trusted data vault on the Android platform. DroidVault establishes a secure channel between data owners and data users while allowing data owners to enforce strong control over the sensitive data with a minimal trusted computing base (TCB). We prototype DroidVault via the novel use of hardware security features of ARM processors, i.e., TrustZone. Our evaluation demonstrates its functionality for processing sensitive data and its practicality for adoption in the real world.
    @inproceedings{li:droidvault,
      title        = {{DroidVault: A Trusted Data Vault for Android Devices}},
      author       = {Xiaolei Li and Hong Hu and Guangdong Bai and Yaoqi Jia and Zhenkai Liang and Prateek Saxena},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering of Complex Computer Systems (ICECCS 2014)},
      month        = {aug},
      year         = {2015},
      address      = {Tianjin, China},
    }
  53. Practical Analysis Framework for Software-based Attestation Scheme Paper
    Li Li, Hong Hu, Jun Sun, Yang Liu, and Jin Song Dong.
    In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Formal Engineering Methods (ICFEM 2014). [Acc Rate: 30%]
  54. An increasing number of "smart" embedded devices are employed in our living environment nowadays. Unlike traditional computer systems, these devices are often physically accessible to the attackers. It is therefore almost impossible to guarantee that they are un-compromised, i.e., that indeed the devices are executing the intended software. In such a context, software-based attestation is deemed as a promising solution to validate their software integrity. It guarantees that the software running on the embedded devices are un-compromised without any hardware support. However, designing software-based attestation protocols are shown to be error-prone. In this work, we develop a framework for design and analysis of software-based attestation protocols. We first propose a generic attestation scheme that captures most existing software-based attestation protocols. After formalizing the security criteria for the generic scheme, we apply our analysis framework to several well-known software-based attestation protocols and report various potential vulnerabilities. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first practical analysis framework for software-based attestation protocols.
    @inproceedings{li:attestation,
      title        = {{Practical Analysis Framework for Software-based Attestation Scheme}},
      author       = {Li Li and Hong Hu and Jun Sun and Yang Liu and Jin Song Dong},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Formal Engineering Methods (ICFEM 2014)},
      month        = {nov},
      year         = {2014},
      address      = {Luxembourg},
    }
  55. A Quantitative Evaluation of Privilege Separation in Web Browser Designs Paper
    Xinshu Dong, Hong Hu, Zhenkai Liang, and Prateek Saxena.
    In Proceedings of the 18th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 2013). [Acc Rate: 17.8%]
  56. Privilege separation is a fundamental security concept that has been used in designing many secure systems. A number of recent works propose redesigning web browsers with greater privilege separation for better security. In practice, however, privilege-separated designs require a fine balance between security benefits and other competing concerns, such as performance. In fact, performance overhead has been a main cause that prevents many privilege separation proposals from being adopted in real systems. In this paper, we develop a new measurement-driven methodology that quantifies security benefits and performance costs for a given privilege-separated browser design. Our measurements on a large corpus of web sites provide key insights on the security and performance implications of partitioning dimensions proposed in 9 recent browser designs. Our results also provide empirical guidelines to resolve several design decisions being debated in recent browser re-design efforts.
    @inproceedings{dong:browser-isolation,
      title        = {{A Quantitative Evaluation of Privilege Separation in Web Browser Designs}},
      author       = {Xinshu Dong and Hong Hu and Zhenkai Liang and Prateek Saxena},
      booktitle    = {Proceedings of the 18th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 2013)},
      month        = {sep},
      year         = {2013},
      address      = {Egham, UK},
    }

Others

  1. One Flip is All It Takes: Identifying Syscall-Guard Variables for Data-Only Attacks (Industry Conference) Paper
    Hengkai Ye, Song Liu, Zhechang Zhang and Hong Hu
    Black Hat Asia Briefings (Black Hat Asia 2024)
  2. Cooper Knows the Shortest Stave: Finding 134 Bugs in the Binding Code of Scripting Languages with Cooperative Mutation
    (Industry Conference) Paper
    Peng Xu, Yanhao Wang, Hong Hu and Purui Su
    Black Hat Asia Briefings (Black Hat Asia 2022)
  3. Discovering Hidden Properties to Attack the Node.js Ecosystem   (Industry Conference) Paper
    Feng Xiao, Jianwei Huang, Yichang Xiong, Guangliang Yang, Hong Hu, Guofei Gu and Wenke Lee.
    Black Hat USA Briefings (Black Hat USA 2020)
  4. On the Effectiveness of Kernel Debloating via Compile-time Configuration   (Position Paper)
    Mansour Alharthi, Hong Hu, Hyungon Moon, and Taesoo Kim.
    First International Workshop on SoftwAre debLoating And Delayering (SALAD 2018).
  5. Automatically Assessing Crashes from Heap Overflows   (Short Paper) Paper
    Liang He, Yan Cai, Hong Hu, Purui Su, Zhenkai Liang, Yi Yang, Huafeng Huang, Jia Yan, Xiangkun Jia, and Dengguo Feng.
    Proceedings of the 32nd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE 2017).
  6. Dereference Under the Influence (DUI), You Can't Afford It   (Poster) Slides
    Hong Hu, Zheng Leong Chua, Zhenkai Liang and Prateek Saxena.
    In 22nd Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS 2015).

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