Security

Prospex: Protocol Specification Extraction

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Executive Summary

Protocol reverse engineering is the process of extracting application-level specifications for network protocols. Such specifications are very useful in a number of security-related contexts, for example, to perform deep packet inspection and black-box fuzzing, or to quickly understand custom botnet Command And Control (C&C) channels. Since manual reverse engineering is a time-consuming and tedious process, a number of systems have been proposed that aim to automate this task. These systems either analyze network traffic directly or monitor the execution of the application that receives the protocol messages. While previous systems show that precise message formats can be extracted automatically, they do not provide a protocol specification. The reason is that they do not reverse engineer the protocol state machine.

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