Input Handling Done Right: Building Hardened Parsers using Language-theoretic Security

Anantharaman, P., Millian, M.C., Bratus, S., and Patterson, M.L.


2017 IEEE Cybersecurity Development (SecDev), Cambridge, MA, USA, 2017, pp. 4-5.


Input-handling vulnerabilities have been a constant source of security problems for decades. Many famous recent bugs are in fact input-handling bugs. We argue that the techniques for writing parsers in its present form are insufficient, and hence we propose a new pattern. In this tutorial, we will show participants a new design pattern for designing and implementing parsers using this new method. Participants will witness how this new method leads to more readable code that is easier to audit - while also inherently preventing many input-handling mistakes and having a small CPU footprint.

Related Videos

Related Technologies

Related Impact Areas

Copyright Notice

This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

  1. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in IEEE publications: "Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/publish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from IEEE."

  2. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in ACM publications: "© ACM, effective the year of publication shown in the bibliographic information. This file is the authorís version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in the journal or proceedings indicated in the bibliographic data for each item."

  3. The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in IFAC publications: "Document is being reproduced under permission of the Copyright Holder. Use or reproduction of the Document is for informational or personal use only."