Sharing more and checking less: Leveraging common input keywords to detect bugs in embedded systems

Libo Chen, Yanhao Wang, Quanpu Cai, Yunfan Zhan, Hong Hu, Jiaqi Linghu, Qinsheng Hou, Chao Zhang, Haixin Duan, Zhi Xue

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

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

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-ofthe-art tool KARONTE, SaTC found significantly more bugs on the test set. It shows that, SaTC is effective in discovering bugs in embedded systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 30th USENIX Security Symposium
PublisherUSENIX Association
Pages303-319
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781939133243
StatePublished - 2021
Event30th USENIX Security Symposium, USENIX Security 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Aug 11 2021Aug 13 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 30th USENIX Security Symposium

Conference

Conference30th USENIX Security Symposium, USENIX Security 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period8/11/218/13/21

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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