Fuzzing Radio Resource Control messages in 5G and LTE systems : To test telecommunication systems with ASN.1 grammar rules based adaptive fuzzer

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: 5G telecommunication systems must be ultra-reliable to meet the needs of the next evolution in communication. The systems deployed must be thoroughly tested and must conform to their standards. Software and network protocols are commonly tested with techniques like fuzzing, penetration testing, code review, conformance testing. With fuzzing, testers can send crafted inputs to monitor the System Under Test (SUT) for a response. 3GPP, the standardization body for the telecom system, produces new versions of specifications as part of continuously evolving features and enhancements. This leads to many versions of specifications for a network protocol like Radio Resource Control (RRC), and testers need to constantly update the testing tools and the testing environment. In this work, it is shown that by using the generic nature of RRC specifications, which are given in Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1) description language, one can design a testing tool to adapt to all versions of 3GPP specifications. This thesis work introduces an ASN.1 based adaptive fuzzer that can be used for testing RRC and other network protocols based on ASN.1 description language. The fuzzer extracts knowledge about ongoing RRC messages using protocol description files of RRC, i.e., RRC ASN.1 schema from 3GPP, and uses the knowledge to fuzz RRC messages. The adaptive fuzzer identifies individual fields, sub-messages, and custom data types according to specifications when mutating the content of existing messages. Furthermore, the adaptive fuzzer has identified a previously unidentified vulnerability in Evolved Packet Core (EPC) of srsLTE and openLTE, two open-source LTE implementations, confirming the applicability to robustness testing of RRC and other network protocols. 

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