Hardware Fuzzing With MAB Algorithms


A technical paper titled “MABFuzz: Multi-Armed Bandit Algorithms for Fuzzing Processors” was published by researchers at Texas A&M University and Technische Universitat Darmstadt.


“As the complexities of processors keep increasing, the task of effectively verifying their integrity and security becomes ever more daunting. The intricate web of instructions, microarchitectural features, and interdependencies woven into modern processors pose a formidable challenge for even the most diligent verification and security engineers. To tackle this growing concern, recently, researchers have developed fuzzing techniques explicitly tailored for hardware processors. However, a prevailing issue with these hardware fuzzers is their heavy reliance on static strategies to make decisions in their algorithms. To address this problem, we develop a novel dynamic and adaptive decision-making framework, MABFuzz, that uses multi-armed bandit (MAB) algorithms to fuzz processors. MABFuzz is agnostic to, and hence, applicable to, any existing hardware fuzzer. In the process of designing MABFuzz, we encounter challenges related to the compatibility of MAB algorithms with fuzzers and maximizing their efficacy for fuzzing. We overcome these challenges by modifying the fuzzing process and tailoring MAB algorithms to accommodate special requirements for hardware fuzzing.
We integrate three widely used MAB algorithms in a state-of-the-art hardware fuzzer and evaluate them on three popular RISC-V-based processors. Experimental results demonstrate the ability of MABFuzz to cover a broader spectrum of processors’ intricate landscapes and doing so with remarkable efficiency. In particular, MABFuzz achieves up to 308x speedup in detecting vulnerabilities and up to 5x speedup in achieving coverage compared to a state-of-the-art technique.”

Find the technical paper here. Published November 2023 (preprint).

Gohil, Vasudev, Rahul Kande, Chen Chen, Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi, and Jeyavijayan Rajendran. “MABFuzz: Multi-Armed Bandit Algorithms for Fuzzing Processors.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2311.14594 (2023).

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