Modern programming languages provide helpful high-level abstractions and mechanisms (e.g. types, module, automatic memory management) that enforce good programming practices and are crucial when writing correct and secure code. However, the security guarantees provided by such abstractions are not preserved when a compiler translates a source program into object code. Formally secure compilation is an emerging research field concerned with the design and the implementation of compilers that preserve source-level security properties at the object level. This paper presents a short guided tour of the relevant literature on secure compilation. Our goal is to help newcomers to grasp the basic concepts of this field and, for this reason, we rephrase and present the most relevant results in the literature in a common setting.
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