Losing Control: On the Effectiveness of Control-Flow Integrity under Stack Attacks

AuthorConti, Mauro; Crane, Stephen; Davi, Lucas; Franz, Michael; Larsen, Per; Liebchen, Christopher; Negro, Marco; Qunaibit, Mohaned; Sadeghi, Ahmad-Reza
TypeConference Proceedings
AbstractAdversaries exploit memory corruption vulnerabilities to hijack a program's control flow and gain arbitrary code execution. One promising mitigation, control-flow integrity (CFI), has been the subject of extensive research in the past decade. One of the core findings is that adversaries can construct Turing-complete code-reuse attacks against coarse-grained CFI policies because they admit control flows that are not part of the original program. This insight led the research community to focus on fine-grained CFI implementations. In this paper we show how to exploit heap-based vulnerabilities to control the stack content including security-critical values used to validate control-flow transfers. Our investigation shows that although program analysis and compiler-based mitigations reduced stack-based vulnerabilities, stack-based memory corruption remains an open problem. Using the Chromium web browser we demonstrate real-world attacks against various CFI implementations: 1) against CFI implementations under Windows 32-bit by exploiting unprotected context switches, and 2) against state-of-the-art fine-grained CFI implementations (IFCC and VTV) in the two premier open-source compilers under Unix-like operating systems. Both 32 and 64-bit x86 CFI checks are vulnerable to stack manipulation. Finally, we provide an exploit technique against the latest shadow stack implementation.
In22nd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS)