Semantic-aware Binary Code Representation with BERT

Hyungjoon Koo, Soyeon Park, Daejin Choi, Taesoo Kim

A wide range of binary analysis applications, such as bug discovery, malware analysis and code clone detection, require recovery of contextual meanings on a binary code. Recently, binary analysis techniques based on machine learning have been proposed to automatically reconstruct the code representation of a binary instead of manually crafting specifics of the analysis algorithm. However, the existing approaches utilizing machine learning are still specialized to solve one domain of problems, rendering recreation of models for different types of binary analysis. In this paper, we propose DeepSemantic utilizing BERT in producing the semantic-aware code representation of a binary code. To this end, we introduce well-balanced instruction normalization that holds rich information for each of instructions yet minimizing an out-of-vocabulary (OOV) problem. DeepSemantic has been carefully designed based on our study with large swaths of binaries. Besides, DeepSemantic leverages the essence of the BERT architecture into re-purposing a pre-trained generic model that is readily available as a one-time processing, followed by quickly applying specific downstream tasks with a fine-tuning process. We demonstrate DeepSemantic with two downstream tasks, namely, binary similarity comparison and compiler provenance (i.e., compiler and optimization level) prediction. Our experimental results show that the binary similarity model outperforms two state-of-the-art binary similarity tools, DeepBinDiff and SAFE, 49.84% and 15.83% on average, respectively.

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