Memlock: Memory usage guided fuzzing

Cheng Wen, Haijun Wang, Yuekang Li, Shengchao Qin, Yang Liu, Zhiwu Xu, Hongxu Chen, Xiaofei Xie, Geguang Pu, Ting Liu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

85 Citations (Scopus)


Uncontrolled memory consumption is a kind of critical software security weaknesses. It can also become a security-critical vulnerability when attackers can take control of the input to consume a large amount of memory and launch a Denial-of-Service attack. However, detecting such vulnerability is challenging, as the stateof- the-art fuzzing techniques focus on the code coverage but not memory consumption. To this end, we propose a memory usage guided fuzzing technique, named MemLock, to generate the excessive memory consumption inputs and trigger uncontrolled memory consumption bugs. The fuzzing process is guided with memory consumption information so that our approach is general and does not require any domain knowledge. We perform a thorough evaluation for MemLock on 14 widely-used real-world programs. Our experiment results show that MemLock substantially outperforms the state-of-the-art fuzzing techniques, including AFL, AFLfast, PerfFuzz, FairFuzz, Angora and QSYM, in discovering memory consumption bugs. During the experiments, we discovered many previously unknown memory consumption bugs and received 15 new CVEs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 ACM/IEEE 42nd International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2020
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450371216
Publication statusPublished - Jun 27 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event42nd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2020 - Virtual, Online, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Jun 27 2020Jul 19 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
ISSN (Print)0270-5257


Conference42nd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2020
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software


Dive into the research topics of 'Memlock: Memory usage guided fuzzing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this