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Preeny helps you pwn noobs by making it easier to interact with services locally. It disables fork(), rand(), and alarm() and, if you want, can convert a server application to a console one using clever/hackish tricks, and can even patch binaries!

Preeny has the following modules:

Name Summary
dealarm Disables alarm()
defork Disables fork()
deptrace Disables ptrace()
derand Disables rand() and random()
desigact Disables sigaction()
desock Channels socket communication to the console
desock_dup Channels socket communication to the console (simpler method)
ensock The opposite of desock -- like an LD_PRELOAD version of socat!
desrand Does tricky things with srand() to control randomness.
detime Makes time() always return the same value.
desleep Makes sleep() and usleep() do nothing.
mallocwatch When ltrace is inconvenient, mallocwatch provides info on heap operations.
writeout Some binaries write() to fd 0, expecting it to be a two-way socket. This makes that work (by redirecting to fd 1).
patch Patches programs at load time.
startstop Sends SIGSTOP to itself on startup, to suspend the process.
crazyrealloc ensures that whatever is being reallocated is always moved to a new location in memory, thus free()ing the old.
deuid Change the UID and effective UID of a process
eofkiller Exit on EOF on several read functions
getcanary Dumps the canary on program startup (x86 and amd64 only at the moment).
setcanary Overwrites the canary with a user-provided one on program startup (amd64-only at the moment).
setstdin Sets user defined STDIN data instead of real one, overriding read, fread, fgetc, getc and getchar calls. Read here for more info
nowrite Forces open() to open files in readonly mode. Downgrading from readwrite or writeonly mode, and taking care of append, mktemp and other write-related flags as well


preeny's patch functionality uses libini_config to read .ini files.

  • On debian-based distros, you can install libini-config-dev.
  • On Arch-based distros, you can install ding-libs.
  • On Fedora-based distros, you can install libini_config-devel.

Also deexec uses seccomp to setup a filter to blacklist execve like calls.

  • On debian-based distros, you can install libseccomp-dev.
  • On Arch-based distros, you can install libseccomp.
  • On Fedora-based distros, you can install libseccomp-devel.

If you're not running a debian, Arch, or Fedora based distro, you've brought the pain upon yourself.

You can build preeny by doing:


It'll create a directory named after the OS and architecture type, then put the libraries there.


If you need to build 32-bit x86 preeny libs on a 64-bit x86 host, you can do:

make ARCH=i386

Alternatively, if you want to utilize a cross-compiler, pass the CC variable to make. For example:

make -i CC=mips-malta-linux-gnu-gcc

Because some modules fail in cross-complilation, it's recommended to use make -i.


You can also build the project with cmake. Look at the cmake-build-*.sh scripts for example on how.


Let's say that you have an application that you want to interact with on the commandline, but it a) forks, b) sets an alarm which makes it hard to take your time studying its behavior, and c) demands to be connected to even if you don't want to do that. You can do:

LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ \

Pretty awesome stuff! Of course, you can pick and choose which preloads you want:

echo 'No fork or alarm for you, but I still want to netcat!'
LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ ~/code/security/codegate/2015/rodent/rodent

echo 'Ok, go ahead and fork, but no alarm. Time to brute force that canary.'
LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ ~/code/security/codegate/2015/rodent/rodent

Have fun!

Simple Things

The simple functionality in preeny is disabling of fork and alarm.

CTF services frequently use alarm to help mitigate hung connections from players, but this has the effect of being frustrating when you're debugging the service.

Fork is sometimes frustrating because some tools are unable to follow fork on some platforms and, when they do follow fork, the parent is oftentimes abandoned in the background, needing to be terminated manually afterwards. replaces alarm() with a function that just does a return 0. does the same thing to fork(), means that the program will think that the fork has succeeded and that it's the child.


It's often easiest to test your exploits without extra randomness, and then ease up on the cheating little by little. Preeny ships with two modules to help: derand and desrand. replaces rand() and random() and returns a configurable value. Just specify it in the RAND environment (or go with the default of 42):

# this will return 42 on each rand() call
LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ tests/rand

# this will return 1337 on each rand() call
RAND=1337 LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ tests/rand

For slightly more complex things, lets you override the srand function to your liking.

# this simply sets the seed to 42
LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ tests/rand

# this sets the seed to 1337
SEED=1337 LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ tests/rand

# this sets the seed to such that the first "rand() % 128" will be 10
WANT=10 MOD=128 LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ tests/rand

# finally, this makes the *third* "rand() % 128" be 10
SKIP=2 WANT=10 MOD=128 LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ tests/rand

desrand does all this by brute-forcing the seed value, so keep in mind that startup speed will get considerably slower as MOD increases.


Certain tools (such as American Fuzzy Lop, for example) are unable to handle network binaries. Preeny includes two "de-socketing" modules. neuters socket(), bind(), listen(), and accept(), making it return sockets that are, through hackish ways, synchronized to stdin and stdout. is a simpler version for programs that dup accepted sockets over file descriptors 0, 1, and 2.

A discussion of the different ways to de-socket program, and why Preeny does it the way it does, can be found here.


You can also use preeny to turn a normal binary into a socket binary! Just set the PORT environment variable (default is 1337) and preload!

Preload patching patches binaries! This is done before program start, by triggering the patcher from a constructor function in Patches are specified in a .ini format, and applied by including in LD_PRELOAD and providing a patch file specified by the PATCH environment variable. For example:

# tests/hello
Hello world!
# cat hello.p

# PATCH="hello.p" LD_PRELOAD=x86_64-linux-gnu/ tests/hello
--- section hello in file hello.p specifies 5-byte patch at 0x4005c4
--- section world in file hello.p specifies 5-byte patch at 0x4005ca
AAAAA aaaaa!

Having different patch files and just enabling/disabling them via preload is oftentimes easier than modifying the underlying binary.

STDIN substitution allows to replace STDIN with user defined data. It overrides read, fread, fgetc, getc and getchar calls, and return user defined data when binary asks for some STDIN.

setstdin first tries to get user defined data form PREENY_STDIN environment variabe, if this variable is not defined, it tries to read data from file, defined in PREENY_STDIN_FILENAME environment variable. If both are not defined, setstdin uses some default value.

$ PREENY_STDIN=New_message LD_PRELOAD=src/ test/setstdin_read

$ echo "Some other message" > tmp_file
$ PREENY_STDIN_FILENAME=tmp_file LD_PRELOAD=src/ test/setstdin_getc
S|o|m|e| |o|t|h|e|r| |m|e|s|s|a|g|e|

$ LD_PRELOAD=src/ test/setstdin_fread
D|ef|aul|t se|tstdi|n valu|e. Plea|se set P|REENY_STD|IN or PREE|NY_STDIN_FI|LENAME envir|onment variab|les to set you|r own value