http://www.dagstuhl.de/12051

January 29 – February 3 , 2012, Dagstuhl Seminar 12051

Analysis of Executables: Benefits and Challenges

Organizers

Andy M. King (University of Kent, GB)
Alan Mycroft (University of Cambridge, GB)
Thomas W. Reps (University of Wisconsin – Madison, US)
Axel Simon (TU München, DE)

Coordinators

Andrea Flexeder (TWT GmbH, DE)


1 / 2 >

For support, please contact

Dagstuhl Service Team

Documents

Dagstuhl Report, Volume 2, Issue 1 Dagstuhl Report
List of Participants
Shared Documents
Dagstuhl's Impact: Documents available

Summary

The analysis of executables is concerned with extracting information from a binary program typically, though not exclusively, with program analysis techniques based on abstract interpretation. This topic has risen to prominence due to the need to audit code, developed by third parties for which the source is unavailable. Moreover, compilers are themselves a source of bugs, hence the need to scrutinise and systematically examine executables.

Seminar topics

The theme of the analysis of executables is an umbrella term adopted for this seminar, covers, among other things, the following topics:

  • specifying the semantics of native instructions, intermediate languages and the synthesis of transfer functions from blocks of instructions;
  • abstract domains for binary analysis and how to combine them; type synthesis;
  • control-flow graph (CFG) reconstruction, which is a prerequisite for many program analysis, and CFG matching, which is useful for detecting piracy;
  • self-modifying code, characterising its semantics and detecting malware.

In all, 42 researchers, both senior and more junior, from 10 countries attended the meeting. This high number shows the strong interest in this emerging field. The feedback from the participants was also very positive.

Thus, one of the tangible outcomes is that the community set out to create a common piece of infrastructure. Beyond this, it was agreed that another seminar about the analysis of executables in two years time would be most welcome. We discussed what topics this new seminar should focus on and we distilled that malware, obfuscation, interpreters and self-modifying code should be major topics, as these constitute challenges that the community needs to address.

Related Dagstuhl Seminar

Classification

  • Semantics / Formal Methods
  • Verification /logic
  • Programming Languages / Compiler
  • Optimization / Scheduling

Keywords

  • Executable analysis
  • Reverse engineering
  • Malware detection
  • Control ow reconstruction

Book exhibition

Books from the participants of the current Seminar 

Book exhibition in the library, 1st floor, during the seminar week.

Documentation

In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.

 

Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Publications

Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.