Catalin Hritcu

(INRIA Paris)
hosted by Deepak Garg

"Efficient Formally Secure Compilers to a Tagged Architecture"

(Vortrag im Rahmen der "MPI Distinguished Lecture Series" in Kooperation mit dem Fachbereich Informatik)

Severe low-level vulnerabilities abound in today's computer systems, allowing cyber-attackers to remotely gain full control. This happens in big part because our programming languages, compilers, and architectures were designed in an era of scarce hardware resources and too often trade off security for efficiency. The semantics of mainstream low-level languages like C is inherently insecure, and even for safer languages, establishing security with respect to a high-level semantics does not guarantee the absence of low-level attacks. Secure compilation using the coarse-grained protection mechanisms provided by mainstream hardware architectures would be too inefficient for most practical scenarios.

In this talk I will present a new project that is aimed at leveraging emerging hardware capabilities for fine-grained protection to build the first, efficient secure compilers for realistic programming languages, both low-level (the C language) and high-level (ML and F*, a dependently-typed variant). These compilers will provide a secure semantics for all programs and will ensure that high-level abstractions cannot be violated even when interacting with untrusted low-level code. To achieve this level of security without sacrificing efficiency, our secure compilers target a novel tagged architecture, which associates a metadata tag to each word and efficiently propagates and checks tags according to software-defined rules. Formally, our goal is full abstraction with respect to a secure high-level semantics. This property is much stronger than just compiler correctness and ensures that no machine-code attacker can do more harm to securely compiled components than a component in the secure source language already could.

Bio: Catalin is a tenured Research Scientist at Inria Paris where he develops rigorous formal techniques for solving security problems. He is particularly interested in formal methods for security (memory safety, compartmentalization, access control, integrity, security protocols, information flow), programming languages (type systems verification, proof assistants, property-based testing, semantics, formal metatheory, certified tools, dynamic enforcement), and the design and verification of security-critical systems (reference monitors, secure compilers, microkernels, secure hardware). He is a developer of the new F* verification system and of several other open source tools based on his research. Catalin was a PhD student at Saarland University and a Research Associate at University of Pennsylvania before joining Inria Paris in September 2013.

Time: Monday, 22.02.2016, 10:30 am
Place: MPI-SWS Kaiserslautern Paul Ehrlich Str. 26, room 111
Video: Simultaneous video cast to MMPI-SWS Saarbrücken, Campus E1 5, room 029