Covert Loading and Execution of Software Protections to Reduce Adversarial Detection

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-08-M-1432
Agency Tracking Number: O081-IA2-1145
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: OSD08-IA2
Solicitation Number: 2008.1
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
 Thomas Johnson
 Software Engineer
 (607) 273-7340
Business Contact
 Ray Teitelbaum
Title: CEO
Phone: (607) 273-7340
Research Institution
A number of software defenses exist that frustrate attempts to examine or tamper with a protected application. However, attackers are unlikely to approach the defenses head-on. One weak point is during installation and deployment of defenses. There is sort of a “who came first” game played between the protected application and the attacker. If the attacker arrives first, then they can observe the defenses as they are setup, gaining great insight into how the protections can be subverted. This opening must be prevented. We envision a technique that enhances existing defenses by protecting the loading phase of the sensitive application. Under this system, attackers are denied access to system initialization and sensitive software is made inseparable from the OS, thereby preventing attack before protection can be raised against it.

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

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