DifFuzzAR: automatic repair of timing side-channel vulnerabilities via refactoring


Vulnerability detection and repair is a demanding and expensive part of the software development process. As such, there has been an effort to develop new and better ways to automatically detect and repair vulnerabilities. DifFuzz is a state-of-the-art tool for automatic detection of timing side-channel vulnerabilities, a type of vulnerability that is particularly difficult to detect and correct. Despite recent progress made with tools such as DifFuzz, work on tools capable of automatically repairing timing side-channel vulnerabilities is scarce. In this paper, we propose DifFuzzAR, a tool for automatic repair of timing side-channel vulnerabilities in Java code. The tool works in conjunction with DifFuzz and it is able to repair 56% of the vulnerabilities identified in DifFuzz’s dataset. The results show that the tool can automatically correct timing side-channel vulnerabilities, being more effective with those that are control-flow based. In addition, the results of a user study show that users generally trust the refactorings produced by DifFuzzAR and that they see value in such a tool, in particular for more critical code.

In In Automated Software Engineering, Volume 31, number 1, 2024.
Alexandra Mendes
Assistant Professor

My research focuses on encouraging a wider adoption of software verification by creating tools and methods that hide the complexities of verifying software. Recently, I started work on usable security, in particular on the impact of formal verification on the use and adoption of formally verified security software products. Much of my most recent work overlaps with the area of software engineering. For more details, see selected publications and some of my projects. Follow me on Twitter or add me on LinkedIn.