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ACSAC
2005
IEEE

Countering Trusting Trust through Diverse Double-Compiling

14 years 24 days ago
Countering Trusting Trust through Diverse Double-Compiling
An Air Force evaluation of Multics, and Ken Thompson’s famous Turing award lecture “Reflections on Trusting Trust,” showed that compilers can be subverted to insert malicious Trojan horses into critical software, including themselves. If this attack goes undetected, even complete analysis of a system’s source code will not find the malicious code that is running, and methods for detecting this particular attack are not widely known. This paper describes a practical technique, termed diverse double-compiling (DDC), that detects this attack and some compiler defects as well. Simply recompile the source code twice: once with a second (trusted) compiler, and again using the result of the first compilation. If the result is bit-for-bit identical with the untrusted binary, then the source code accurately represents the binary. This technique has been mentioned informally, but its issues and ramifications have not been identified or discussed in a peerreviewed work, nor has a public ...
David Wheeler
Added 24 Jun 2010
Updated 24 Jun 2010
Type Conference
Year 2005
Where ACSAC
Authors David Wheeler
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