Several talks at the Black Hat security conference this week in Las Vegas will focus on tools that could make software safer by automatically searching for bugs—and pinpointing the ones that could be most dangerous.
Bug hunting used to be a painstaking process. Researchers found one at a time, figured out what caused it and what dangers it posed, and revealed it, to a software vendor or publicly, so that it could be fixed. But in recent years, popular software has improved, and bugs aren't so easy to find. On top of that, commercial programs are increasingly large and complex, making it time-consuming to manually search for potential bugs. However, new software tools are helping to automate the process, which may mean programs that work more reliably and are safer for users.
The development of a technique known as "fuzzing" has led to a shift in the way software bugs are discovered. Fuzzing involves repeatedly feeding randomly altered input into a program, causing the program to crash. Those inputs that caused it to crash could reveal an important bug.
From Technology Review
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