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In this paper the authors explore the problem of creating vulnerability signatures. A vulnerability signature matches all exploits of a given vulnerability, even polymorphic or metamorphic variants. The work departs from previous approaches by focusing on the semantics of the program and vulnerability exercised by a sample exploit instead of the semantics or syntax of the exploit itself. They show the semantics of a vulnerability define a language which contains all and only those inputs that exploit the vulnerability. A vulnerability signature is a representation (e.g., A regular expression) of the vulnerability language. Unlike exploit based signatures whose error rate can only be empirically measured for known test cases, the quality of a vulnerability signature can be formally quantified for all possible inputs.
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