DeepWukong: Statically Detecting Software Vulnerabilities Using Deep Graph Neural Network

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, 2021, 30, (3), pp. 1-33
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Static bug detection has shown its effectiveness in detecting well-defined memory errors, e.g., memory leaks, buffer overflows, and null dereference. However, modern software systems have a wide variety of vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are extremely complicated with sophisticated programming logic, and these bugs are often caused by different bad programming practices, challenging existing bug detection solutions. It is hard and labor-intensive to develop precise and efficient static analysis solutions for different types of vulnerabilities, particularly for those that may not have a clear specification as the traditional well-defined vulnerabilities. This article presents DeepWukong, a new deep-learning-based embedding approach to static detection of software vulnerabilities for C/C++ programs. Our approach makes a new attempt by leveraging advanced recent graph neural networks to embed code fragments in a compact and low-dimensional representation, producing a new code representation that preserves high-level programming logic (in the form of control-and data-flows) together with the natural language information of a program. Our evaluation studies the top 10 most common C/C++ vulnerabilities during the past 3 years. We have conducted our experiments using 105,428 real-world programs by comparing our approach with four well-known traditional static vulnerability detectors and three state-of-the-art deep-learning-based approaches. The experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our research and have shed light on the promising direction of combining program analysis with deep learning techniques to address the general static code analysis challenges.
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