MCDASH: Refinement-Based Property Verification for Machine Code

Akash Lal, Junghee Lim, and Thomas Reps
University of Wisconsin

This paper presents MCDASH, a refinement-based model checker for machine code. While model checkers such as SLAM, BLAST, and DASH have each made significant contributions in the field of verification/flaw-detection, their use has been restricted to programs for which source code is available. This paper discusses several challenges that arise when working with machine code, and explains how they are addressed in MCDASH. Unlike previous model checkers, MCDASH does not require the usual preprocessing steps of (a) building control-flow graphs, and (b) performing points-to analysis (or alias analysis); nor does MCDASH require type information to be supplied. The paper also describes how we extended MCDASH to check properties of self-modifying code.

MCDASH is built using language-independent meta-tools that generate the implementations of the required analysis components from descriptions of an instruction set's syntax and semantics. It has been instantiated for Intel x86 and PowerPC.

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