Code trolley: hardware-assisted control flow obfuscation
Kinsy, Michel A.
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Citation (published version)Novak Boskov, Mihailo Isakov, Michel A Kinsy. "CodeTrolley: Hardware-Assisted Control Flow Obfuscation."
Many cybersecurity attacks rely on analyzing a binary executable to find exploitable sections of code. Code obfuscation is used to prevent attackers from reverse engineering these executables. In this work, we focus on control flow obfuscation - a technique that prevents attackers from statically determining which code segments are original, and which segments are added in to confuse attackers. We propose a RISC-V-based hardware-assisted deobfuscation technique that deobfuscates code at runtime based on a secret safely stored in hardware, along with an LLVM compiler extension for obfuscating binaries. Unlike conventional tools, our work does not rely on compiling hard-to-reverse-engineer code, but on securing a secret key. As such, it can be seen as a lightweight alternative to on-the-fly binary decryption.