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Stack Smashing (For Fun and Profit)

Slides are in the keynote file.

This repo is built for use on MacOS and was tested under MacOS Mojave (10.14) and MacOS High Sierra (10.13). It probably works on Linux with some tweaks, but I haven't tested it there and there might be different OS or ELF-level protections that need to be disabled in the linker or compiler. Feel free to ping me on Twitter and I'll check out if your changes work against my solutions.

In order to build the code, you'll need to install the Xcode CLI tools, which should include make, clang, ld, and objdump.

To make all examples, type make. You can make a specific example, like ex2, with make ex2.

Your goal is to get the compiled binary to print out "Exploit Succeeded." You should not edit any of the code to accomplish this; it can be done without changing a thing.

Example 1 Instructions

This example reads in input from standard in until a newline is sent in. You run it without any arguments

Example 2 Instructions

This example is a little trickier to work with. It creates a socket file at socket in the directory you run it from.

You can write to a unix (file) socket with nc -U, but for sending non-printable characters, it will be easier to use the code in Just replace the exploit variable with the string you want to send.

Note that characters like \xfe in Python represent the byte 0xfe. This is useful for writing non printable characters (i.e. arbitrary bytes).

Example 3 Instructions

This example is the most challenging, but it's equivalent to a real exploit you might find "in the wild". Sending in data to it works the same way it did in example 2.

Check out the online assembler here: It will help a lot with this problem (you could also use local tools to do this, if you prefer).

The hints directory contains some help for ex3 if you really get stuck.

Using Objdump

objdump is an incredibly useful command that we can use to get information about executable files.

These instructions are for LLVM objdump included with xcode, which differs pretty substantially from GNU objdump. If you're using GNU objdump, you probably want the -d flag to disassemble executable sections.

For LLVM objdump, running objdump -macho -disassemble on your executable will show you code segments that look, for instance, like this:

100000c40:  55            pushq %rbp
100000c41:  48 89 e5      movq  %rsp, %rbp
100000c44:  48 83 ec 50   subq  $80, %rsp
100000c48:  66 89 f0      movw  %si, %ax

The text that appears on a line of its own is a label; this allows code to say "jump to this label" and actually mean "jump to the address immediately after this label". The first number (before the colon) is the address of that instruction. The numbers after the colon is the instruction itself, and the text following that is the disassembled machine code for that instruction. For instance, our _unsafe_bind_and_read_socket begins at instruction 100000c40 with the instruction to push the base pointer of the stack (the value in register %rbp) onto the stack (pushq), which is represented in machine code as 0x55.

If you have GNU objdump instead, your output will look like this:

0000000100000c40 <_unsafe_bind_and_read_socket>:
   100000c40:    55                       push   %rbp
   100000c41:    48 89 e5                 mov    %rsp,%rbp
   100000c44:    48 83 ec 50              sub    $0x50,%rsp
   100000c48:    66 89 f0                 mov    %si,%ax

The astute will notice this is more or less identical to the other. The assembler syntax is a little different, but the addresses (which is what we care about) should be identical.


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