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Find My Sloths: Automated Comparative Analysis of How Real Enterprise Computers Keep Up with the Software Update Races

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Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNSC,volume 12756)


A software update is a critical but complicated part of software security. Its delay poses risks due to vulnerabilities and defects of software. Despite the high demand to shorten the update lag and keep the software up-to-date, software updates involve factors such as human behavior, program configurations, and system policies, adding variety in the updates of software. Investigating these factors in a real environment poses significant challenges such as the knowledge of software release schedules from the software vendors and the deployment times of programs in each user’s machine. Obtaining software release plans requires information from vendors which is not typically available to public. On the users’ side, tracking each software’s exact update installation is required to determine the accurate update delay. Currently, a scalable and systematic approach is missing to analyze these two sides’ views of a comprehensive set of software. We performed a long term system-wide study of update behavior for all software running in an enterprise by translating the operating system logs from enterprise machines into graphs of binary executable updates showing their complex, and individualized updates in the environment. Our comparative analysis locates risky machines and software with belated or dormant updates falling behind others within an enterprise without relying on any third-party or domain knowledge, providing new observations and opportunities for improvement of software updates. Our evaluation analyzes real data from 113,675 unique programs used by 774 computers over 3 years.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-80825-9_11
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  1. 1.

    FMS is an acronym of Find My Sloths, which refer to enterprise applications showing undesirable delayed update behavior.

  2. 2.

    This version number 64.0 is presented only for an illustration purpose. A lineage graph is constructed using binary hashes and their appearance orders without using the software’s specific version numbers, which may not always available or accurate.


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We thank the anonymous reviewers and our shepherd, Juan Caballero, for their helpful feedback. This material is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation, under grant No. OAC-1909856 and SaTC-1909856. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

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Correspondence to Junghwan “John” Rhee .

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Setayeshfar, O., Rhee, J.“., Kim, C.H., Lee, K.H. (2021). Find My Sloths: Automated Comparative Analysis of How Real Enterprise Computers Keep Up with the Software Update Races. In: Bilge, L., Cavallaro, L., Pellegrino, G., Neves, N. (eds) Detection of Intrusions and Malware, and Vulnerability Assessment. DIMVA 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12756. Springer, Cham.

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