Posts FirmUp: Precise Static Detection of Common Vulnerabilities in Firmware

FirmUp: Precise Static Detection of Common Vulnerabilities in Firmware

Paper accepted in ASPLOS 18”.

Collaborator(s): Yaniv David, Eran Yahav

Abstract: We present a static, precise, and scalable technique for finding CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) in stripped firmware images. Our technique is able to efficiently find vulnerabilities in real-world firmware with high accuracy. Given a vulnerable procedure in an executable binary and a firmware image containing multiple stripped binaries, our goal is to detect possible occurrences of the vulnerable procedure in the firmware image. Due to the variety of architectures and unique tool chains used by vendors, as well as the highly customized nature of firmware, identifying procedures in stripped firmware is extremely challenging. Vulnerability detection requires not only pairwise similarity between procedures but also information about the relationships between procedures in the surrounding executable. This observation serves as the foundation for a novel technique that establishes a partial correspondence between procedures in the two binaries. We implemented our technique in a tool called FirmUp and performed an extensive evaluation over 40 million procedures, over 4 different prevalent architectures, crawled from public vendor firmware images. We discovered 373 vulnerabilities affecting publicly available firmware, 147 of them in the latest available firmware version for the device. A thorough comparison of FirmUp to previous methods shows that it accurately and effectively finds vulnerabilities in firmware, while outperforming the detection rate of the state of the art by 45% on average

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