Analyzing memory accesses in x86 binary executables

Gogul Balakrishnan and Thomas Reps.

Technical Report #1486, Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin.

Madison, Wisconsin, July 2003.

This paper concerns static-analysis algorithms for analyzing x86 executables. The aim of the work is to recover intermediate representations that are similar to those that can be created for a program written in a high-level language. Our goal is to perform this task for programs such as plugins, mobile code, worms, and virus-infected code. For such programs, symbol-table and debugging information is either entirely absent, or cannot be relied upon if present; hence, the technique described in the paper makes no use of symbol-table/debugging information. Instead, an analysis is carried out to recover information about the contents of memory locations and how they are manipulated. The analysis, called value-set analysis, tracks address-valued and integer-valued quantities simultaneously.

Paper: [pdf] [ps]

An alternate version of this paper is available as a conference publication.

This page updated October 14, 2005.