Dr. Richard Enbody: "Secure-bit: Hardware buffer-overflow prevention"

Who: Dr. Richard Enbody, MSU

When: February 23, 2010

Buffer-overflow attacks persist and there have been many solutions proposed -- all with weaknesses. We mark all external data as 'tainted' and refuse to jump to any 'tainted' addresses. By using hardware to support this approach we are able to prevent all buffer-overflow attacks that culminate in jumping to a user-supplied address, i.e. the nasty ones. In addition, our approach is backward compatible for user code at the machine-code level, i.e. no recompile or change in user software is needed. Furthermore, there is no way to 'untaint' data once it has been marked 'tainted.'

About the speaker

Dr. Enbody received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1987 and has been in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Michigan State University since then. He has published research in a variety of areas including design automation, parallel processing, computer architecture and security. He is currently co-authoring an introductory computer science text using Python -- due in February. When not teaching he enjoys wilderness camping, hockey, and squash.