Detecting security vulnerabilities using clone detection and community knowledge
Paper i proceeding, 2019

Faced with the severe financial and reputation implications associated with data breaches, enterprises now recognize security as a top concern for software analysis tools. While software engineers are typically not equipped with the required expertise to identify vulnerabilities in code, community knowledge in the form of publicly available vulnerability databases could come to their rescue. For example, the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures Database (CVE) contains data about already reported weaknesses. However, the support with available examples in these databases is scarce. CVE entries usually do not contain example code for a vulnerability, its exploit or patch. They just link to reports or repositories that provide this information. Manually searching these sources for relevant information is time-consuming and error-prone. In this paper, we propose a vulnerability detection approach based on community knowledge and clone detection. The key idea is to harness available example source code of software weaknesses, from a large-scale vulnerability database, which are matched to code fragments using clone detection. We leverage a clone detection technique from the literature, which we adapted to make it applicable to vulnerability databases. In an evaluation based on 20 reports and affected projects, our approach showed good precision and recall.


Information systems

Code clones


Fabien Patrick Viertel

Leibniz Universität Hannover

Wasja Brunotte

Leibniz Universität Hannover

Daniel Strüber

Göteborgs universitet

Kurt Schneider

Leibniz Universität Hannover

Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, SEKE

23259000 (ISSN) 23259086 (eISSN)

Vol. 2019-July 245-252
1891706489 (ISBN)

31st International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, SEKE 2019
Lisbon, Portugal,



Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning

Datavetenskap (datalogi)



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