Vulnerability Discovery and Triage Automation Training

This class is designed to introduce students to the best tools and technology available for automating vulnerability discovery and crash triage with a focus on delivering a practical approach to applying this technology in real deployments at any scale.

Through an applied understanding of introductory program analysis and binary translation, techniques for finding various bug classes and methods for improved crash debugging will be discussed. We will analyze the properties of memory corruption from integer overflows, uninitialized variables, use-after-free and look at applying tools such as compiler plugins, binary instrumentation frameworks, memory debuggers, and fuzzers to discovering each one.

Next take a deep dive into fuzzing, covering all aspects of this practical approach to finding bugs. As the most approachable and versatile of the available tools, the student will apply various fuzzing techniques to several real-world pieces of software. Students will learn strategies for analyzing attack surface, writing grammars, and generating effective corpus. We will explore in detail the latest innovations such as harnessing code coverage for guided evolutionary fuzzing and symbolic reasoning for concolic fuzzing.

We approach crash analysis through the lens of scriptable debuggers and program analysis. We will once again look at properties of how memory corruption manifests in a crashing condition. We will apply tools like reverse debugging and memory debugging scripts to assist in interactively diagnosing root cause of crashes. Then we will leverage the power of dynamic taint tracking and graph slicing to help isolate the path of user controlled input in the program and identify the exact input bytes influencing a crash. Lastly, we will look at possible ways to aid in determining severity of a vulnerability.

This class will focus on x86/x64 architecture and target Windows and Linux environments, however some discussion regarding applications to ARM and mobile platforms will also be included and all of the concepts if not the direct tools will be useful in other environments.

Who Should Attend
This class is meant for professional developers or security researchers looking to add an automation component to their software security analysis. Students wanting to learn a programmatic and tool driven approach to analyzing software vulnerabilities and crash triage will benefit from this course.


Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson is a computer security specialist with a focus on software vulnerability analysis. Currently Research Lead for the Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group at Cisco Systems, Inc., Richard offers over 15 years of expertise and leadership in the software security industry. Current responsibilities include research and development of advanced fuzzing and crash analysis technologies facilitating the automation of the vulnerability triage and discovery process. Richard has presented annually at top-tier industry conferences worldwide for over a decade and is a invited speaker at several leading events. Richard was also co-founder of the Uninformed Journal and is on the committee for the USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies.