DASH: Concurrency Attacks and Defenses

Multithreaded programs are getting increasingly pervasive and critical. Unfortunately, they remain extremely difficult to write. This difficulty has led to many subtle but serious concurrency vulnerabilities such as race conditions in real-world multithreaded programs. Just as vulnerabilities in sequential programs can lead to security exploits, concurrency vulnerabilities can also be exploited by attackers to gain privilege, steal information, inject arbitrary code, etc. Concurrency attacks targeting these vulnerabilities are impending (see CVE), yet few existing defense techniques can deal with concurrency vulnerabilities. In fact, many of the traditional defense techniques are rendered unsafe by concurrency vulnerabilities.

The objective of this project is to take a holistic approach to creating novel program analysis/protection techniques and a system called DASH to secure multithreaded programs and harden traditional defense techniques in a concurrency environment. We will do so by selectively combining static and dynamic techniques, thus getting the best of both worlds. We anticipate numerous contributions from this project; the main ones are: (1) a thorough understanding of concurrency attacks and their implications to traditional defense techniques; (2) accurate and effective techniques to detect, avoid, and survive concurrency vulnerabilities; and (3) hardening of traditional defense techniques for multithreaded programs.


PI: Prof. Junfeng Yang, Columbia University


Concurrency Attacks

the Fourth USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Parallelism (HOTPAR '12), June 2012

Sound and Precise Analysis of Parallel Programs through Schedule Specialization

Proceedings of the 33rd ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI '12), June 2012

This work is supported by the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) through Contract FA9550-12-1-0346. Opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Government or AFOSR.