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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N020243/1
Title: Vulnerability Discovery using Abduction and Interpolation
Principal Investigator: King, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr A Chawdhary
Project Partners:
National Research Foundation Singapore
Department: Sch of Computing
Organisation: University of Kent
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2016 Ends: 31 March 2019 Value (£): 199,130
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fundamentals of Computing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Oct 2015 Singapore-UK Cyber Security Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The Automated Exploitation Grand Challenge lists a series of problems in vulnerability discovery.

One is finding whether it is possible to reach a required program (malicious)

state from a given state at an entry point. Another is how to infer states for the entry point which lead to the required state. An algorithmic answer to either would enable a security engineer to easily answer the question, ``is there a vulnerability at this point in the program?'' and if so, ``how can it be leveraged into an exploit?''

Since source is often unavailable to a security engineer, it is necessary to answer these questions by examining the binary executable alone. We will thus develop binary analyses

to address these two challenges, deploying interpolation-based reasoning on the first and abductive reasoning on the second.

The project will make both foundational and practical advances. We will develop new algorithms for bit-vector abduction and interpolation, that will have wide applicability. The algorithms will share common infra-structure and ideas, but offer a two-pronged approach to reachability.

We will deploy these algorithms in a vulnerability researchers' toolkit so as to enable a security engineer to compute a path to a (malicious) target state. We will then evaluate the tools on different classes of vulnerability using the Juliet Test Suite.

The project will employ one researcher at Kent and another at NUS for 32 months, building on the track records of Jaffar on interpolation, King on binary program analysis, and Chawdhary on engineering static analyses for commerce and industry.
Key Findings
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Summary
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.kent.ac.uk