Analyzing Memory Accesses in x86 Executables

Gogul Balakrishnan and Thomas Reps
University of Wisconsin

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 by the executable.

[Received the EAPLS Best Paper Award at ETAPS 2004.]

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