Watchdog: Hardware for Safe and Secure Manual Memory Management and Full Memory Safety
Languages such as C and C++ use unsafe manual memory management, allowing simple bugs (i.e., accesses to an object after de-allocation) to become the root cause of exploitable security vulnerabilities. This paper proposes Watchdog, a hardware-based approach for ensuring safe and secure manual memory management. Inspired by prior software-only proposals, Watchdog generates a unique identifier for each memory allocation, associates these identifiers with pointers, and checks to ensure that the identifier is still valid on every memory access. This use of identifiers and checks enables Watchdog to detect errors even in the presence of reallocations.