Trustworthy Systems

Some assembly required – program analysis of embedded system code


Ansgar Fehnker, Ralf Huuck, Felix Rauch and Sean Seefried



Programming embedded system software typically involves more than one programming language. Normally, a high-level language such as C/C++ is used for application oriented tasks and a low-level assembly language for direct interaction with the underlying hardware. In most cases those languages are closely interwoven and the assembly is embedded in the C/C++ code. Verification of such programs requires the integrated analysis of both languages at the same time. However, common algorithmic verification tools fail to address this issue. In this work we present a model-checking based static analysis approach which seamlessly integrates the analysis of embedded ARM assembly with C/C++ code analysis. In particular, we show how to automatically check that the ARM code complies to its interface descriptions. Given interface compliance, we then provide an extended analysis framework for checking general properties of ARM code. We implemented this analysis in our source code analysis tool Goanna, and applied to the source code of an L4 micro kernel implementation.

BibTeX Entry

    address          = {Beijing, China},
    author           = {Fehnker, Ansgar and Huuck, Ralf and Rauch, Felix and Seefried, Sean},
    booktitle        = {Eighth IEEE International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation},
    editor           = {{James Cordy and Lu Zhang}},
    isbn             = {978-0-7695-3353-7},
    month            = sep,
    pages            = {15--24},
    publisher        = {IEEE Computer Society},
    title            = {Some Assembly Required -- Program Analysis of Embedded System Code},
    year             = {2008}