Inception: System-wide Security Testing of Real-World Embedded Systems Software
Inception is a framework to perform security testing of real world firmware programs. Its main features are:
- Full support of firmware source-code. Inception handle high level programming such as C/C++ but also binary dependences and assembly code. This may be helpful when testing a firmware source code having binary code as dependency. This usually happens with Board Support Packages.
- Fine-grained memory configuration. Inception rehosts the firmware execution in a symbolic virtual machine. To faithfully reproduce the firmware environment, all the memory is configurable. It enables users to choose for each memory mapped registers if accesses should be redirected to the real device, symbolic, randomized or fixed to a user-defined value. Using this feature, ones can easily defines a custom test strategy!
- A low-latency debugger that forwards, when requested, i/o to the real device. Of course, this feature requires a JTAG interface on the device. The debugger has been designed with performance in mind to get a latency as low as possible so that redirecting interrupt and i/o have not a significant impact on the analysis.
In the following, we get a short description of the three main components of Inception:
Inception-translator generates a unified intermediate representation from C/C++ source code that also contains inline assembly (or statically linked binary code). This representation is based on LLVM bytecode preserves as much as possible of the high-level semantics of the source code. This is useful to detect memory vulnerabilities. For example, knowing the size of a buffer makes it possible to detect an overflow. We call the intermediate representation resulting from this process mixed-IR.
Inception-analyzer is a symbolic virtual machine built as an extension of the well knonw Klee tool. We have extended the memory management system of Klee in order to support our mixed-IR code, and to consider the memory mapped registers of peripherals. Inception may consider them as untrusted unconstrained symbolic inputs, or map those registers to the physical registers of a real device (using Inception-debbuger). Furthermore, we have extended Klee in order to support interrupts and multithreading.
Inception-debugger is a fast USB3.0 JTAG debugger (currently supporting ARM AHB-AP debug port). Inception-analyzer uses it to redirect read/write memory accesses and interrupts to a real target device. Inception-debugger requires off-the-shelf hardware (Cypress Semiconductor FX3, Zedboard Zynq-7000 Development Board).
Nassim Corteggiani, Giovanni Camurati, Aurélien Francillon.
Installing the sofware
The easiest way is to use our Docker image. You can find more details on how to compile it here. Alternatively, you can bulld the necessary components on your machine (you can use our docker file as a reference).
Setting up the debugger
If you want you can skip this step and run all the examples that do not require redirection to the real device.
We provide both source code and a synthesized design. More details will be here.
If you would like to know more about the debugger of Inception, please refer to this page.
To help you getting started with Inception, we provide a very short and simple guide here.This quick tutorial will teach you how to use Inception-translator on a very simple program, how to configure Inception-analyzer, and how to run the example. After this, you can move to our more complex examples.
To get start with real world example, check-out our tutorial on testing a HTTP Web server.
We provide a large set of examples here. This repository contains all the samples mentioned in our USENIX’18 paper. For each directory a README.md file is present to explain the purpose of the test and how to replay it. Many of them can be run also without any additional hardware.
You can find our tool for verification here. The README.md will explain you how our verification system works (comparison between execution in Inception-analyzer and execution on a real processor) and how to run all the pre-recorded tests without any additional hardware. If you have Inception-debugger and a Cortex-M3 with a AHB-AP JTAG port, you can create new tests.
Inception: System-wide security testing of real-world embedded systems software
Nassim Corteggiani, Giovanni Camurati, Aurélien Francillon
27th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 18), Baltimore, MD (acceptance rate: 19.1%)
Open-Source Framework Detects Memory Corruptions in Embedded Software
(Réalisé par SR Graphik firstname.lastname@example.org)