HyperFuzzer: An Efficient Hybrid Fuzzer for Virtual CPUs

ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) |

Organized by ACM

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In this cloud computing era, the security of hypervisors is critical to the overall security of the cloud.  In particular, the security of CPU virtualization in hypervisors is paramount because it is implemented in the most privileged CPU mode.  Blackbox and graybox fuzzing are limited to finding shallow virtual CPU bugs due to its huge search space.  Whitebox fuzzing can be used for systematic analysis of CPU virtualization, but existing implementations rely on slow hardware emulators to enable dynamic symbolic execution.

In this paper, we present HyperFuzzer, the first efficient hybrid fuzzer for virtual CPUs.  Our key observation is that a virtual CPU’s execution is determined by the VM state.  Based on this observation, we design a new fuzzing setup that uses complete VM states as fuzzing inputs, and a new fuzzing technique we call Nimble Symbolic Execution to enable dynamic symbolic execution for CPU virtualization running on bare metal.  Specifically, it uses the hardware to log the control flow efficiently, and then reconstructs an approximate execution trace from only the control flow and the fuzzing input.  The reconstructed execution trace is surprisingly sufficient for precise dynamic symbolic execution of virtual CPUs.

We have built a prototype of HyperFuzzer based on Intel Processor Trace for Microsoft Hyper-V.  Our experimental results show that HyperFuzzer can run thousands of tests per second, which is 3 orders of magnitude faster than using a hardware emulator.  When compared with a baseline using full (control+data) execution traces, HyperFuzzer can still generate 96.8% of the test inputs generated by the baseline.  HyperFuzzer has found 11 previously unknown virtual CPU bugs in the Hyper-V hypervisor, and all of them were confirmed and fixed.