Towards automatically generating double-free vulnerability signatures using Petri nets

Ryan Iwahashi, Daniela A.S. De Oliveira, S. Felix Wu, Jedidiah R. Crandall, Young Jun Heo, Jin Tae Oh, Jong Soo Jang

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

4 Scopus citations


With the increased popularity of polymorphic and register spring attacks, exploit signatures intrusion detection systems (IDS) can no longer rely only on exploit signatures. Vulnerability signatures that pattern match based on properties of the vulnerability instead of the exploit should be employed. Recent research has proposed three classes of vulnerability signatures but its approach cannot address complex vulnerabilities such as the ASN.1 Double-Free. Here we introduce Petri nets as a new class of vulnerability signature that could potentially be used to detect other types of vulnerabilities. Petri nets can be automatically generated and are represented as a graph making it easier to understand and debug. We analyzed it along side the three other classes of vulnerability signatures in relation to the Windows ASN.1 vulnerability. The results were very promising due to the very low false positive rate and 0% false negative rate. We have shown that Petri nets are a very efficient, concise, and effective way of describing signatures (both vulnerability and exploit). They are more powerful than regular expressions and still efficient enough to be practical. Comparing with the other classes, only Turing machines provided a better identification rate but they incur significant performance overhead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInformation Security - 11th International Conference, ISC 2008, Proceedings
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event11th International Conference on Information Security, ISC 2008 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: Sep 15 2008Sep 18 2008

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume5222 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference11th International Conference on Information Security, ISC 2008
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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