A low-cost attack on branch-based software watermarking schemes

Gaurav Gupta*, Josef Pieprzyk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In 2005, Ginger Myles and Hongxia Jin proposed a software watermarking scheme based on converting jump instructions or unconditional branch statements (UBSs) by calls to a fingerprint branch function (FBF) that computes the correct target address of the UBS as a function of the generated fingerprint and integrity check. If the program is tampered with, the fingerprint and integrity checks change and the target address will not be computed correctly. In this paper, we present an attack based on tracking stack pointer modifications to break the scheme and provide implementation details. The key element of the attack is to remove the fingerprint and integrity check generating code from the program after disassociating the target address from the fingerprint and integrity value. Using the debugging tools that give vast control to the attacker to track stack pointer operations, we perform both subtractive and watermark replacement attacks. The major steps in the attack are automated resulting in a fast and low-cost attack.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Watermarking
Subtitle of host publication5th International Workshop, IWDW 2006, Jeju Island, Korea, November 8-10, 2006. Proceedings
EditorsYun-Qing Shi, Byeungwoo Jeon
Place of PublicationBerlin; New York
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783540488279
ISBN (Print)3540488251, 9783540488255
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Event5th International Workshop on Digital Watermarking, IWDW - 2006 - Jeju Island, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 8 Nov 200610 Nov 2006

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume4283 LNCS
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349


Other5th International Workshop on Digital Watermarking, IWDW - 2006
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
CityJeju Island


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