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Heap Spraying: Attackers' Latest Weapon Of Choice
Security
Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 01 December 2009 17:38

From DarkReading

Difficult to detect reliably, heap spraying was behind an exploit of IE and Adobe Reader

Computer security has been described as a game of one-upmanship, an ongoing escalation of techniques as both sides attempt to find new ways to assault and protect system vulnerabilities. The most prevalent forms of incursion over the last decade have been aimed at computer memory -- and of these, the newest, most popular weapon of choice for attackers is a technique known as "heap spraying."



Heap spraying works by allocating multiple objects containing the attacker's exploit code in the program's heap, the area of memory used for dynamic memory allocation. Many recent high-profile attacks, such as an Internet Explorer exploit in December 2008 and one of Adobe Reader in February 2009, were examples of heap spraying.

Heap-spray attacks are difficult to detect reliably, but Ben Livshits and Ben Zorn, researcher and principal researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond, respectively, have been studying this problem. They are confident that, in Nozzle, they have a tool for identifying heap-spray attacks that is reliable, general, and practical. During the 18th Usenix Security Symposium, not only did they present their paper, Nozzle: A Defense Against Heap-spraying Code Injection Attacks, co-authored with Paruj Ratanaworabhan of Cornell University, but they also showed a live demo of their solution. [More...] [Comments...]

 

 

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