HS-Pilot: Heap Security Evaluation Tool Model Based on Atomic Heap Interaction

Sumin Chae, Hongjoo Jin, Moon Chan Park, Dong Hoon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To evaluate heap security, researchers have designed evaluation tools that automatically locate heap vulnerabilities. Most of these tools define heap interactions as heap misuses that are bugs, such as overflow in a target heap allocator, and verify whether each combination of heap interactions can be used as an exploit. However, this definition of heap interactions requires preliminary work by a user possessing evaluation tools and specialized knowledge - the user needs to manually do much work to find which heap misuses exist in the target heap allocator. In addition, because the existing heap misuses vary according to target heap allocators and versions, this preliminary work must be performed on each heap implementation. That is, the current definition of heap interaction cannot be generalized to all heap implementations. In this article, we propose a novel heap security evaluation model, called Heap Security Pilot (HS-Pilot), to overcome the preliminary work load and the dependency of heap misuse in heap implementation. In HS-Pilot, a heap interaction is newly defined as the modification of heap metadata, based on the idea that any heap misuse can be represented by a sequence of heap metadata, i.e. combination of heap interactions used by HS-Pilot. Consequently, the heap interactions in HS-Pilot can be applied to all heap implementations without specialized knowledge, and therefore, are more general than that in existing heap evaluation tools. Our evaluation shows that HS-Pilot can cover the analysis range of other evaluation tools, and is able to detect 14 known types of heap exploitation against heap allocator ptmalloc and all types of heap exploitation found by a state-of-the-art evaluation tool.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9249245
Pages (from-to)201914-201924
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Computer security
  • memory defenses
  • software testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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