Translingual obfuscation

Pei Wang, Shuai Wang, Jiang Ming, Yufei Jiang, Dinghao Wu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Program obfuscation is an important software protection technique that prevents attackers from revealing the programming logic and design of the software. We introduce translingual obfuscation, a new software obfuscation scheme which makes programs obscure by "misusing" the unique features of certain programming languages. Translingual obfuscation translates part of a program from its original language to another language which has a different programming paradigm and execution model, thus increasing program complexity and impeding reverse engineering. In this paper, we investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of translingual obfuscation with Prolog, a logic programming language. We implement translingual obfuscation in a tool called BABEL, which can selectively translate C functions into Prolog predicates. By leveraging two important features of the Prolog language, i.e., unification and backtracking, BABEL obfuscates both the data layout and control flow of C programs, making them much more difficult to reverse engineer. Our experiments show that BABEL provides effective and stealthy software obfuscation, while the cost is only modest compared to one of the most popular commercial obfuscators on the market. With BABEL, we verified the feasibility of translingual obfuscation, which we consider to be a promising new direction for software obfuscation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2016 IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages128-144
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781509017515
DOIs
StatePublished - May 9 2016
Event1st IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2016 - Saarbruecken, Germany
Duration: Mar 21 2016Mar 24 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2016 IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2016

Other

Other1st IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EURO S and P 2016
CountryGermany
CitySaarbruecken
Period3/21/163/24/16

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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