Exploitation Techniques and Defenses for Data-Oriented Attacks presented at IEEESecDev 2019

by Trent Jaeger, N. Asokan, Danfeng (daphne) Yao, Long Cheng, Hans Liljestrand, Md Salman Ahmed, Thomas Nyman,

Summary : Data-oriented attacks manipulate non-control datato alter a program’s benign behavior without violating its controlflow integrity. It has been shown that such attacks can causesignificant damage even in the presence of control-flow defensemechanisms. However, these threats have not been adequatelyaddressed. In this systematization of knowledge (SoK) paper,we first map data-oriented exploits, including Data-OrientedProgramming (DOP) and Block-Oriented Programming attacks,to their assumptions/requirements and attack capabilities. Wealso compare known defenses against these attacks, in termsof approach, detection capabilities, overhead, and compatibility.Then we discuss the possible frequency anomalies of dataoriented attacks, especially the frequency anomalies of DOPattacks with experimental proofs. It is generally believed thatcontrol flows may not be useful for data-oriented security. However, the frequency anomalies show that data-oriented attacks(especially DOP attacks) may generate side-effects on controlflow behavior in multiple dimensions. In the end, we discusschallenges for building deployable data-oriented defenses andopen research questions.