On leveraging coding habits for effective binary authorship attribution

Saed Alrabaee, Paria Shirani, Lingyu Wang, Mourad Debbabi, Aiman Hanna

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Citations (Scopus)


We propose BinAuthor, a novel and the first compiler-agnostic method for identifying the authors of program binaries. Having filtered out unrelated functions (compiler and library) to detect user-related functions, it converts user-related functions into a canonical form to eliminate compiler/compilation effects. Then, it leverages a set of features based on collections of authors’ choices made during coding. These features capture an author’s coding habits. Our evaluation demonstrated that BinAuthor outperforms existing methods in several respects. First, when tested on large datasets extracted from selected open-source C/C++ projects in GitHub, Google Code Jam events, and Planet Source Code contests, it successfully attributed a larger number of authors with a significantly higher accuracy: around 90 % when the number of authors is 1000. Second, when the code was subjected to refactoring techniques, code transformation, or processing using different compilers or compilation settings, there was no significant drop in accuracy, indicating that BinAuthor is more robust than previous methods.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Security - 23rd European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2018, Proceedings
EditorsJavier Lopez, Jianying Zhou, Miguel Soriano
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9783319990729
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event23rd European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2018 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Sept 3 2018Sept 7 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11098 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference23rd European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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