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A Language-Based Approach for Improving the Robustness of Network Application Protocol Implementations

Laurent Burgy 1 Laurent Réveillère 1, 2, 3 Julia Lawall 4 Gilles Muller 5
1 PHOENIX - Programming Language Technology For Communication Services
INRIA Futurs, Université Sciences et Technologies - Bordeaux 1, École Nationale Supérieure d'Électronique, Informatique et Radiocommunications de Bordeaux (ENSEIRB)
5 OBASCO - Objects, aspects and components
Mines Nantes - Mines Nantes, Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique
Abstract : The secure and robust functioning of a network relies on the defect-free implementation of network applications. As network protocols have become increasingly complex, however, hand-writing network message processing code has become increasingly error-prone. In this paper, we present a domain-specific language, Zebu, for describing protocol message formats and related processing constraints. From a Zebu specification, a compiler automatically generates stubs to be used by an application to parse network messages. Zebu is easy to use, as it builds on notations used in RFCs to describe protocol grammars. Zebu is also efficient, as the memory usage is tailored to application needs and message fragments can be specified to be processed on demand. Finally, Zebu-based applications are robust, as the Zebu compiler automatically checks specification consistency and generates parsing stubs that include validation of the message structure. Using a mutation analysis in the context of SIP and RTSP, we show that Zebu significantly improves application robustness.
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Contributor : Rapport de Recherche Inria Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 6:14:00 PM
Last modification on : Monday, December 20, 2021 - 4:50:10 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 1:28:18 PM


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  • HAL Id : inria-00140964, version 2
  • ARXIV : 0704.1373


Laurent Burgy, Laurent Réveillère, Julia Lawall, Gilles Muller. A Language-Based Approach for Improving the Robustness of Network Application Protocol Implementations. [Research Report] RR-6167, INRIA. 2007. ⟨inria-00140964v2⟩



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