Shuffling new instances of functions and addresses can stop hackers from gaining control of your embedded devices.

This video presents a demo of the IBM Research Anti-ROP security solution, which helps protect embedded devices and IoT systems (like vehicle multimedia controllers) against ROP and memory corruption attacks. The return-oriented programming technique allows an attacker to get control of the call stack and take over program control flow, after which he executes carefully chosen machine instruction sequences that are already present in the machine’s memory – these are called “gadgets.” Gadgets can be chained together to let your attacker perform arbitrary operations.

The Anti-ROP solution uses a technique known as “shuffling.” It creates a number of binary versions from the same source code that are identical in functionality while the order of functions and the addresses contained within them is completely different. In this way, any knowledge that attackers may have gained from hacking or even exploiting one system doesn’t let them exploit other instances of the same system.

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