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Abstract: “Program state-space exploration is central to software security, testing, and verification. In this paper, we propose a novel technique for state-space exploration of software that maintains an ongoing interaction with its environment. Our technique uses a combination of symbolic and concrete execution to build an abstract model of the analyzed application, in the form of a finite-state automaton, and uses the model to guide further state-space exploration. Through exploration, MACE further refines the abstract model. Using the abstract model as a scaffold, our technique wields more control over the search process. In particular: (1) shifting search to different parts of the search-space becomes easier, resulting in higher code coverage, and (2) the search is less likely to get stuck in small local state-subspaces (e.g., loops) irrelevant to the application’s interaction with the environment. Preliminary experimental results show significant increases in the code coverage and exploration depth. Further, our approach found a number of new deep vulnerabilities.”

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