Cling: A Memory Allocator to Mitigate Dangling Pointers

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Executive Summary

Use-after-free vulnerabilities exploiting so-called dangling pointers to deallocated objects are just as dangerous as buffer overflows: they may enable arbitrary code execution. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art defenses against use-after-free vulnerabilities require compiler support, pervasive source code modifications, or incur high performance overheads. This paper presents and evaluates Cling, a memory allocator designed to thwart these attacks at runtime. Cling utilizes more address space, a plentiful resource on modern machines, to prevent type unsafe address space reuse among objects of different types.

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