Differential Slicing: Identifying Causal Execution Differences for Security Applications

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Executive Summary

A security analyst often needs to understand two runs of the same program that exhibit a difference in program state or output. This is important, for example, for vulnerability analysis, as well as for analyzing a malware program that features different behaviors when run in different environments. In this paper, the authors propose a differential slicing approach that automates the analysis of such execution differences. Differential slicing outputs a causal difference graph that captures the input differences that triggered the observed difference and the causal path of differences that led from those input differences to the observed difference.

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