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Title: Securing mobile code.

If software is designed so that the software can issue functions that will move that software from one computing platform to another, then the software is said to be 'mobile'. There are two general areas of security problems associated with mobile code. The 'secure host' problem involves protecting the host from malicious mobile code. The 'secure mobile code' problem, on the other hand, involves protecting the code from malicious hosts. This report focuses on the latter problem. We have found three distinct camps of opinions regarding how to secure mobile code. There are those who believe special distributed hardware is necessary, those who believe special distributed software is necessary, and those who believe neither is necessary. We examine all three camps, with a focus on the third. In the distributed software camp we examine some commonly proposed techniques including Java, D'Agents and Flask. For the specialized hardware camp, we propose a cryptographic technique for 'tamper-proofing' code over a large portion of the software/hardware life cycle by careful modification of current architectures. This method culminates by decrypting/authenticating each instruction within a physically protected CPU, thereby protecting against subversion by malicious code. Our main focus is on the camp that believes thatmore » neither specialized software nor hardware is necessary. We concentrate on methods of code obfuscation to render an entire program or a data segment on which a program depends incomprehensible. The hope is to prevent or at least slow down reverse engineering efforts and to prevent goal-oriented attacks on the software and execution. The field of obfuscation is still in a state of development with the central problem being the lack of a basis for evaluating the protection schemes. We give a brief introduction to some of the main ideas in the field, followed by an in depth analysis of a technique called 'white-boxing'. We put forth some new attacks and improvements on this method as well as demonstrating its implementation for various algorithms. We also examine cryptographic techniques to achieve obfuscation including encrypted functions and offer a new application to digital signature algorithms. To better understand the lack of security proofs for obfuscation techniques, we examine in detail general theoretical models of obfuscation. We explain the need for formal models in order to obtain provable security and the progress made in this direction thus far. Finally we tackle the problem of verifying remote execution. We introduce some methods of verifying remote exponentiation computations and some insight into generic computation checking.« less
Authors:
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
919632
Report Number(s):
SAND2004-5114
TRN: US200825%%247
DOE Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
97; 99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; COMPUTER CODES; MOBILITY; ALGORITHMS; SECURITY; COMPUTER NETWORKS; CRYPTOGRAPHY; VERIFICATION Source code (Computer science)-Management.; Cryptography.; Distributed computer systems.; Computer security.