From Speculation to Security: Practical and Efficient Information Flow Tracking Using Speculative Hardware
Source: Fudan University
Dynamic information flow tracking (also known as taint tracking) is an appealing approach to combat various security attacks. However, the performance of applications can severely degrade without hardware support for tracking taints. This paper observes that information flow tracking can be efficiently emulated using deferred exception tracking in microprocessors supporting speculative execution. Based on this observation, the authors propose SHIFT, a low-overhead, software-based dynamic information flow tracking system to detect a wide range of attacks. The key idea is to treat tainted state (describing untrusted data) as speculative state (describing deferred exceptions).