S²E: A Platform for In-Vivo Multi-Path Software Analysis¶
S2E is a platform for writing tools that analyze the properties and behavior of software systems. So far, we have used S2E to develop a comprehensive performance profiler, a reverse engineering tool for proprietary software, and a bug finding tool for both kernel-mode and user-mode binaries. Building these tools on top of S2E took less than 770 LOC and 40 person-hours each.
S2E’s novelty consists of its ability to scale to large real systems, such as a full Windows stack. S2E is based on two new ideas:
- Selective symbolic execution, a way to automatically minimize the amount of code that has to be executed symbolically given a target analysis; and
- Relaxed execution consistency models, a way to make principled performance/accuracy trade-offs in complex analyses.
These techniques give S2E three key abilities:
- to simultaneously analyze entire families of execution paths, instead of just one execution at a time;
- to perform the analyses in-vivo within a real software stack—user programs, libraries, kernel, drivers, etc.—instead of using abstract models of these layers; and
- to operate directly on binaries, thus being able to analyze even proprietary software.
Conceptually, S2E is an automated path explorer with modular path analyzers: the explorer drives the target system down all execution paths of interest, while analyzers check properties of each such path (e.g., to look for bugs) or simply collect information (e.g., count page faults). Desired paths can be specified in multiple ways, and S2E users can either combine existing analyzers to build a custom analysis tool, or write new analyzers using the S2E API.
S2E helps make analyses based on symbolic execution practical for large software that runs in real environments, without requiring explicit modeling of these environments.
The S2E Platform: Design, Implementation, and Applications.
Vitaly Chipounov, Volodymyr Kuznetsov, and George Candea.
ACM Transactions on Computer Systems (TOCS ) Special issue: Best papers of ASPLOS, February 2012.
S2E: A Platform for In Vivo Multi-Path Analysis of Software Systems.
Vitaly Chipounov, Volodymyr Kuznetsov, George Candea.
16th Intl. Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS), Newport Beach, CA, March 2011.
BEST PAPER AWARD
Testing Closed-Source Binary Device Drivers with DDT.
Volodymyr Kuznetsov, Vitaly Chipounov, George Candea.
USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX), Boston, MA, June 2010.
DDT tool won the Silver Prize at the 2012 World Open-Source Software Challenge
Reverse Engineering of Binary Device Drivers with RevNIC.
Vitaly Chipounov and George Candea.
5th ACM SIGOPS/EuroSys European Conference on Computer Systems (EuroSys), Paris, France, April 2010.
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