Research

I am currently pursuing my PhD under the supervision of Prof. Lucas Davi at the University of Duisburg-Essen. My primary research interests include:

Here are some other websites about my research:

The focus of my research is to take and apply program analysis techniques to identify security issues or detect attacks. Two give a couple of examples, I worked on a project where we used taint tracking inside of the Ethereum Virtual Machine to identify attacks on Ethereum smart contracts. In my master thesis we leveraged a points-to analysis at compile time to introduce runtime security checks that verify that a memory write always targets an object that complies to the points-to analysis. While, most of my research has focused on attack detection I am also interested in vulnerability detection and try to stay up-to-date with the current techniques in this space (i.e., fuzzing, symbolic execution, static analyzers).

Publications

  • EVMPatch: Timely and Automated Patching of Ethereum Smart Contracts
    Michael Rodler, Wenting Li, Ghassan O. Karame, Lucas Davi
    30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security '21) [To Be Published]
  • TeeRex: Discovery and Exploitation of Memory Corruption Vulnerabilities in SGX Enclaves
    Tobias Cloosters, Michael Rodler, Lucas Davi
    29th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security '20)
  • Control Behavior Integrity for Distributed Cyber-Physical Systems
    Sridhar Adepu, Ferdinand Brasser, Luis Garcia, Michael Rodler, Lucas Davi, Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi, Saman Zonouz
    11th IEEE/ACM Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS'20)
  • Sereum: Protecting Existing Smart Contracts Against Re-Entrancy Attacks
    Michael Rodler, Wenting Li, Ghassan O. Karame, Lucas Davi
    Proceedings of the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS'19)
  • Poster: Automated Evaluation of Fuzzers - Distinguished Technical Poster Award
    Sebastian Surminski, michael Rodler, Lucas Davi
    Proceedings of the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS'19)
  • Enforcing Pointer Integrity Through Static Analysis
    Michael Rodler
    Master Thesis at TU Graz
  • ANANAS - A Framework For Analyzing Android Applications
    Thomas Eder, Michael Rodler, Dieter Vymazal, Markus Zeilinger
    First International Workshop on Emerging Cyberthreats and Countermeasures (Regensburg, 2013), IEEE.

Talks

  • "Sereum: Protecting Existing Smart Contracts Against Re-Entrancy Attacks"
    ACM Advances in Financial Technologies (AFT) 2019 (2019-10-21)
  • "ROP CFI RAP XNR CPI WTF? – Navigating the Exploit Mitigation Jungle"
    at BsidesLjubljana 2017 (2017-03-10)
  • "A CTF Hackers Toolbox - Competitive hacking for fun and (non-)profit"
    with Stefan More
    at Grazer Linuxtage 2016 (2016-04-30)
  • "Weird Machines on Little Robots - Intro to binary exploitation on Android smartphones"
    at Hacking Night SS 2013 (2013-06-06)
  • "evil maid on droids"
    at Hacking Night WS 2012 (2012-12-06)
  • "Oh Noes, Another Android Malware Talk"
    with Thomas Eder
    at Insights Track at Security Forum 2012 (2012-04-18)
  • "Downgrade Attacks by Example"
    at BSidesVienna 2012 (2012-01-21)
  • "Downgrade Attacks: Compatibility Breaks Security"
    at Hacking Night WS 2011 (2011-12-14)
  • "Hackinggroup – Python Workshop"
    with Thomas Kastner
    at Hackinggroup Workshop (2010-12-07 and 2010-12-16)
    slides: part 1 | part 2 | sources
  • "Tatort Internet: Wer geht mit mir phishen?"
    with Sebastian Neuner
    at Hacking Night WS 2010 (2010-11-25)
  • "git for noobs"
    at Hackinggroup Workshop (2010-10-27)

Research Projects

Teerex I supervised a Master thesis on symbolic execution of SGX enclaves. This master thesis turned out to have marvelous results. We identified a couple of vulnerabilities in production SGX enclaves and identified problematic code patterns that typically lead to vulnerabilities.

Sereum In a collaboration with NEC labs we built a dynamic analysis tool for Ethereum smart contracts. I implemented a taint tracking engine inside of the go-ethereum EVM bytecode interpreter. Based on this taint tracking engine we were able to build a dynamic detector for the infamous reentrancy attacks (this the DAO hack thing). The both fun and unfun part of this project was to evaluate on the vast dataset that is the Ethereum blockchain. You have all kinds of scalability issues when evaluating by re-executing basically the whole blockchain (the raw data can be found here). Interestingly we were also able to identify potential new attack patterns based off our analysis of the detected potential attacks, for which we introduced example attacks

ANANAS Previously I worked on dynamic analysis of Android applications. In the malware-lab of the FH Hagenberg Secure Informations Systems we started a project that provides a dynamic analysis platform for Android applications. This resulted in my first publication. Here we built a dynamic analysis platform for analyzing android malware with all the nicities you would expect from a malware sandbox: system call logging, network traffic monitoring, preparing the environment with fake user data, simulating random user interaction and so on. We also used TaintDroid, but this was too much of a trouble and mostly not worth the effort.

Dynamic Analysis Projects Later I also patched Taintdroid to contain taint sinks/sources/tags for cryptography APIs, which can result in insights how an application uses cryptography to protect user data.

I also started a small project that does compile time function call instrumentation in LLVM (you could call it aspect oriented programming). It's focused on analysis and fault injection though and does come with a significant overhead. The project is now dead/unmaintained.

LLWIT I did my master thesis at the IAIK Secure Systems groups, where I built upon the results of the Write Integrity Testing (WIT) paper, which I implemented within LLVM for Linux. This is am exploit mitigation primarily intended to thwart data-oriented attacks, but also covers many control data attacks. I then evaluated WIT on the CGC dataset (only somewhat successfully). However, this evaluation on the CGC dataset showed that there are many issues when implementing a security mitigation.