An intel 64 symbolic emulator
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doc Typos and stuff :) Nov 4, 2014
examples build fixes (O0 32bits) Apr 30, 2015
test Fix generation of tests for RIP based mem access Apr 30, 2015
.gitignore Initial commit Sep 26, 2013
LICENSE Initial commit Sep 26, 2013 Fix typographical error(s) Oct 5, 2015 cpu fixes Apr 30, 2015 AT_RANDOM initialized as suggested by @crcady Mar 15, 2016 smtlib renamed Apr 21, 2015 Ported to capstone Apr 13, 2015 . Apr 22, 2015 . Apr 22, 2015


A symbolic execution tool, capable of automatically generating interesting inputs for x86/x64 binary programs.

Ekoparty slides:

API documentation:


  • Implements most x86/amd64 instructions
  • Loads ELF32 and ELF64 files
  • Enables to recreate specific machine states by API
  • Instruction semantics easy to read and extend
  • Instruction set can operate in concrete or symbolic values
  • Memory modeled so it can be concrete or symbolic (and is COW-enabled)
  • Handles operations on symbolic pointers and indexes
  • Emulation and symbolic states serialiable, meaning that the analisys can be paused/resumed or paralellized(
  • POSIX system calls modeled (Linux32 and Linux64)
  • Automatic generation of instruction testcases
  • API and instruction documentation
  • Automatic generation of intruction unittests
  • Multiple SMT solvers supported through pysmtlib (Z3, YICES, CVC4)


Quick install of deps?

  echo Installing Capstone engine
  sudo pip install capstone
  echo Installing pyelftools
  sudo pip install pyelftools
  #Install z3 SMT solver 
  echo Go to click Download to download z3 source code
  echo Make a folder. Unzip z3 inside that folder. dos2unix on configure. Then configure;make

Directory structure

 doc/                    Slides and papers
 examples/               Asorted set of small C examples to emulate
 tutorial/               Very simple test cases
 test/                   Unittests                Setuputils/pipy related (not used yet)                The Linux operating system micro model               The symbolic memory model             Smtlib v2 solver API               A quick command line tool


You may use the discover command.

$ python -m unittest discover test

Note that testcases are generated semi-automatically using tools at test/auto

API Documentation

You may generate a fair amount of API doc using epydoc.‎ The following command will generate an html/ folder with the api documentation:

$ epydoc

Running it

THIS IS APLHA SOFT. But you may play directly on binary ELF files until you hit an unimplemented instruction or systemcall(2). The commandline gives you a somehow confusing help. :)

 $ python --help
 usage: [-h] [--worspace WORSPACE] [--sym SYM] [--stdin STDIN]
                 [--stdout STDOUT] [--stderr STDERR] [--env ENV]
                 PROGRAM ...

 Symbolically analize a program

 positional arguments:
   PROGRAM              Program to analize
   ...                  Program arguments. Need a -- separator. Ex: -- -y 2453
 optional arguments:
   -h, --help           show this help message and exit
   --worspace WORSPACE  A folder name fpor temporaries and results. (default pse_?????)
   --sym SYM            Consider a filename as symbolic
   --stdin STDIN        A filename to pass as standar stdin (default: stdin)
   --stdout STDOUT      A filename to pass as standar stdout (default: stdout)
   --stderr STDERR      A filename to pass as standar stderr (default: stderr)
   --env ENV            A environment variable to pass to the program (ex. VAR=VALUE)

Basically you pass a binary file for pysymemu to emulate. Let's try the toy examples:

 $ cd examples
 $ cat toy002-libc.c
int main()
    unsigned int cmd;
    if (read(0, &cmd, sizeof(cmd)) != sizeof(cmd))
        printf("Error reading stdin!");
    if (cmd > 0x41)
        printf("Message: It is greater than 0x41\n");
        printf("Message: It is smaller or equal than 0x41\n");

return 0;
 $ make
 gcc -fno-builtin -static -nostdlib -m32  -fomit-frame-pointer  toy001-nostdlib.c  -o toy001-nostdlib
 gcc toy002-libc.c -static -o toy002-libc
 $ cd -

Now run it under the emulator like this. First create 3 dummy files to replace the virtual/emulated stdin, stdout and stderr

 $ touch stderr
 $ touch stdout
 $ echo ++++++++++ > stdin

We'll be considering that the stdin is filled by symbolic data ( marked with '+' (yes, I know)). Also we need to tell pysymemu which part of the environment should be considered symbolic and which concret. We mark the 'stdin' file as symbolic (its '+' will be free 8bit variables) with --sym 'stdin', like this:

$ python --sym stdin examples/toy002-libc

The quick and dirty command line tool will generate somthing like this..

 $ python  --sym stdin examples/toy002-libc
 [+] Running examples/toy002-libc
 	with arguments: []
 	with environment: []
 [+] Detected arch: amd64
 Symbolic PC found, possible detinations are:  ['4005ab', '40059d']
 	Saving state dump_00000000004005ab_8452.pkl PC: 0x4005ab
 Program Finnished correctly
 stdin:  '\xc1\x00\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\n'
 Program Finnished correctly
 stdin:  ' \x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\n'
 Results dumped in  ./pse_xYhZwA
 10392 3038.59649123

And an insanelly verbose system.log file. Also a folder with all intermediate states and results ...

$ ls ./pse_xYhZwA
dump_000000000040059d_8452.pkl  dump_00000000004005ab_8452.pkl  dump_init.pkl  test_2.txt  test_4.txt
 $ tail -n 12341 ./pse_xYhZwA/test*
 ==> ./pse_xYhZwA/test_2.txt <==
 stdin: '\xc1\x00\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80\x80'
 ==> ./pse_xYhZwA/test_4.txt <==
 stdin: '\x20\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00'
  1. With a few mods it may accept any smtlibv2 solver that can handle (get-value) command.
  2. In such case you should go to or and add the necesarry code!