Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) 2023

PAVUDI: Patch-based Vulnerability Discovery using Machine Learning

Machine learning has been increasingly adopted for automatic security vulnerability discovery in research and industry. The ability to automatically identify and prioritize bugs in patches is crucial to organizations seeking to defend against potential threats. Previous works, however only consider bug discovery on statement, function or file level. How one would apply them to patches in realistic scenarios remains unclear. This paper presents a novel deep learning-based approach leveraging an interprocedural patch graph representation and graph neural networks to analyze software patches for identifying and locating potential security vulnerabilities. We modify current state-of-the-art learning-based static analyzers to be applicable to patches and show that our patch-based vulnerability discovery method, a context and flow-sensitive learning-based model, has a more than 50% increased detection performance, is twice as robust against concept drift after model deployment and is particularly better suited for analyzing large patches. In comparison, other methods already lose their efficiency when a patch touches more than five methods.

Tom Ganz

Erik Imgrund

Martin Härterich

Konrad Rieck
Technische Universität Berlin

Paper (ACM DL)