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Development of a Prototype Taint Tracing Tool for Security and other Purposes (Computer Project)

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in dynamic taint tracing of compiled software as a powerful analysis method for security and other purposes. Most existing approaches are highly application specific and tends to sacrifice precision in favor of performance.

In this thesis project a generic taint tracing tool has been developed that can deliver high precision taint information. By allowing an arbitrary number of taint labels to be stored for every tainted byte, accurate taint propagation can be achieved for values that are derived from multiple input bytes.

The tool has been developed for x86 Linux systems using the dynamic binary instrumentation framework Valgrind.

The basic theory of taint tracing and multi-label taint propagation is discussed, as well as the main concepts of implementing a taint tracing tool using dynamic binary instrumentation. The impact of multi-label taint propagation on performance and precision is evaluated.

While multi-label taint propagation has a considerable impact on performance, experiments carried out using the tool show that large amounts of taint information is lost with approximate methods using only one label per tainted byte.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Kargén, Ulf

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