Detecting Malicious Code In Firmware

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: F30602-02-C-0051
Agency Tracking Number: 011IF-0705
Amount: $749,996.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2002
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
317 N. Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY, 14850
DUNS: 603978321
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Paul Anderson
 Senior Software Engineer
 (607) 273-7340
Business Contact
 Ray (Tim) Teitelbaum
Title: Chairman
Phone: (607) 273-7340
Research Institution
"Malicious code is code that has been intentionally added to or changed in a software system with the intention of causing harm, or subverting the intended function of the system. Most digital electronic equipment is controlled by firmware. Firmwarepresents a tempting target to an attacker because of its ubiquity, the potential efficacy of an attack, and relatively low investment requirements. Traditional efforts at security analysis have naively assumed that the firmware is in the trusted-computingbase. We propose the development of a tool that uses a deep-structure representation of programs to help statically find occurrences of malicious code in firmware. The tool will be semi-automatic. When suspicious code is found, an analyst can bedirected to its location, and provided with all the available static-analysis information to help make the final determination. The main challenge is to conduct research into techniques for increasing the precision of the dependence graph representationof machine-code programs. This is necessary to reduce the number of false-positive results from the analysis. The tool will have multiple uses in many domains, including program understanding, forensics, assurance and decompilation; and will beapplicable not only to firmware, but also to any machine-code program."

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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