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CROP -- Compression using Return Oriented Programming
We attempt to exploit ROP to compress executables. The idea is to
exploit redundancy in instructions and use ROP to reuse code as much as
possible. BASIC was the first known program to use this technique in a
cute way.
1. Do a Galileo like scan that the ROP paper talks about. The scan is
identifies useful instruction sequences present in the file, as follows:
First, we construct a Trie with the root representing the 'ret'
For every byte B in the text segment:
if B == ret (i.e., 0xC3), then:
build_from(current position, root)
build_from(pos, parent):
for step = 1 to max instruction length:
if bytes from (pos-step .. pos-1) is a valid instruction I:
add child I to parent
if I is not boring:
build_from(pos - step, ins)
2. Now is the compression routine.
1. Read and disassemble instructions from a binary; call it
2. Dump the first k instructions verbatim.
3. From the (k+1)th instruction onwards, try to see if the instruction
sequence {i_(k+1), .., i_(k+l), ret} has occured earlier and try to
maximise l (greedy).
4. Replace {i_(k+1), .., i_(k+l)} with
push addr_of(i_(k+l+1)}
jmp prev_addr(i_(k+1))
We note that there isn't any compression (yet). The bytes in the
nops can be used to store some data. The idea is to quantify the
#nops inserted and that gives an idea of the #bytes that could be
Greedy vs DP
In Step (3), we choose the max instruction thing greedily. It can be
optimised by backtracking (or DP). The idea is as follows.
For every subsequence of instructions S that have been seen before, we
replace that by:
push 32-bit addr # 6 bytes?
jmp 32-bit addr # 6 bytes?
Define len(S) to be the total length of instructions in S. So, the cost
of replacing S is c(S) = len(S) - 12. The greedy method optimises this,
but if we're replacing a sequence of S's, then, we have to maximise the
sum of c(S) for all S replaced.
Phase 2
Exploit the code-generator to generate ROP-favourable instructions.
This is going to be the tough one and needs some ideas..