Software Testing and Binary Static Analysis / Discovering Variables in Executables

Posted: September 12, 2010 in Discovering Variables in Executables

Discovering Variables in Executables

Author : Gogul Balakrishnan + Thomas Reps

Description This paper addresses the problem of recovering variable-like entities when analyzing executables in the absence of debugging information. We show that variable-like entities can be recovered by iterating Value-Set Analysis (VSA), a combined numeric-analysis and pointer-analysis algorithm, and Aggregate Structure Identification, an algorithm to identify the structure of aggregates. Our initial experiments show that the technique is successful in correctly identifying 88% of the local variables and 89% of the fields of heap-allocated objects. Previous techniques recovered 83% of the local variables, but 0% of the fields of heap-allocated objects. Moreover, the values computed by VSA using the variables recovered by our algorithm would allow any subsequent analysis to do a better job of interpreting instructions that use indirect addressing to access arrays and heap-allocated data objects: indirect operands can be resolved better at 4% to 39% of the sites of writes and up to 8% of the sites of reads. (These are the memory-access operations for which it is the most difficult for an analyzer to obtain useful results.)

Filesize 244.87 kB

Download here:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.