Andromeda: Accurate and scalable security analysis of web applications

Omer Tripp, Marco Pistoia, Patrick Cousot, Radhia Cousot, Salvatore Guarnieri

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

Abstract

Security auditing of industry-scale software systems mandates automation. Static taint analysis enables deep and exhaustive tracking of suspicious data flows for detection of potential leakage and integrity violations, such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection (SQLi) and log forging. Research in this area has taken two directions: program slicing and type systems. Both of these approaches suffer from a high rate of false findings, which limits the usability of analysis tools based on these techniques. Attempts to reduce the number of false findings have resulted in analyses that are either (i) unsound, suffering from the dual problem of false negatives, or (ii) too expensive due to their high precision, thereby failing to scale to real-world applications. In this paper, we investigate a novel approach for enabling precise yet scalable static taint analysis. The key observation informing our approach is that taint analysis is a demand-driven problem, which enables lazy computation of vulnerable information flows, instead of eagerly computing a complete data-flow solution, which is the reason for the traditional dichotomy between scalability and precision. We have implemented our approach in Andromeda, an analysis tool that computes data-flow propagations on demand, in an efficient and accurate manner, and additionally features incremental analysis capabilities. Andromeda is currently in use in a commercial product. It supports applications written in Java, .NET and JavaScript. Our extensive evaluation of Andromeda on a suite of 16 production-level benchmarks shows Andromeda to achieve high accuracy and compare favorably to a state-of-the-art tool that trades soundness for precision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFundamental Approaches to Software Engineering - 16th International Conference, FASE 2013, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2013, Proceedings
Pages210-225
Number of pages16
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Event16th International Conference on Fundamental Approaches to Software Engineering, FASE 2013, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2013 - Rome, Italy
Duration: Mar 16 2013Mar 24 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7793 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Other

Other16th International Conference on Fundamental Approaches to Software Engineering, FASE 2013, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2013
CountryItaly
CityRome
Period3/16/133/24/13

Keywords

  • Abstract Interpretation
  • Information Flow
  • Integrity
  • Security
  • Static Analysis
  • Taint Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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  • Cite this

    Tripp, O., Pistoia, M., Cousot, P., Cousot, R., & Guarnieri, S. (2013). Andromeda: Accurate and scalable security analysis of web applications. In Fundamental Approaches to Software Engineering - 16th International Conference, FASE 2013, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2013, Proceedings (pp. 210-225). (Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics); Vol. 7793 LNCS). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-37057-1_15