DiffGuard: Obscuring sensitive information in canary based protections

Jun Zhu, Weiping Zhou, Zhilong Wang, Dongliang Mu, Bing Mao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Memory Corruption attacks have monopolized the headlines in the security research community for the past two decades. NX/XD, ASLR, and canary-based protections have been introduced to defend effectively against memory corruption attacks. Most of these techniques rely on keeping secret in some key information needed by the attackers to build the exploit. Unfortunately, due to the inherent limitations of these defenses, it is relatively difficult to restrain trained attackers to find those secrets and create effective exploits. Through an information disclosure vulnerability, attackers could leak stack data of the runtime process and scan out canary word without crashing the program. We present DiffGuard, a modification of the canary based protections which eliminates stack sweep attacks against the canary and proposes a more robust countermeasures against the byte-by-byte discovery of stack canaries in forking programs. We have implemented a compiler-based DiffGuard which consists of a plugin for the GCC and a PIC dynamic shared library that gets linked with the running application via LD PRELOAD. DiffGuard incurs an average runtime overhead of 3.2%, meanwhile, ensures application correctness and seamless integration with third-party software.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSecurity and Privacy in Communication Networks - 13th International Conference, SecureComm 2017, Proceedings
EditorsAli Ghorbani, Xiaodong Lin, Kui Ren, Sencun Zhu, Aiqing Zhang
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783319788128
StatePublished - 2018
Event13th EAI International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks, SecureComm 2017 - [state] ON, Canada
Duration: Oct 22 2017Oct 25 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, LNICST
ISSN (Print)1867-8211


Other13th EAI International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks, SecureComm 2017
City[state] ON

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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