MetaSymploit: Day-one defense against script-based attacks with security-enhanced symbolic analysis

Ruowen Wang, Peng Ning, Tao Xie, Quan Chen

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


A script-based attack framework is a new type of cyber-attack tool written in scripting languages. It carries various attack scripts targeting vulnerabilities across different systems. It also supports fast development of new attack scripts that can even exploit zero-day vulnerabilities. Such mechanisms pose a big challenge to the defense side since traditional malware analysis cannot catch up with the emerging speed of new attack scripts. In this paper, we propose MetaSymploit, the first system of fast attack script analysis and automatic signature generation for a network Intrusion Detection System (IDS). As soon as a new attack script is developed and distributed, Meta-Symploit uses security-enhanced symbolic execution to quickly analyze the script and automatically generate specific IDS signatures to defend against all possible attacks launched by this new script from Day One. We implement a prototype of MetaSymploit targeting Metas-ploit, the most popular penetration framework. In the experiments on 45 real attack scripts, MetaSymploit automatically generates Snort IDS rules as signatures that effectively detect the attacks launched by the 45 scripts. Furthermore, the results show that MetaSymploit substantially complements and improves existing Snort rules that are manually written by the official Snort team.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd USENIX Security Symposium
PublisherUSENIX Association
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781931971034
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event22nd USENIX Security Symposium - Washington, United States
Duration: Aug 14 2013Aug 16 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 22nd USENIX Security Symposium


Conference22nd USENIX Security Symposium
CountryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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