Tuesday, August 3, 2010

From 0x90 to 0x4c454554, a journey into exploitation.

I put some time in and compiled a list in a course type layout to help people in process of learning exploit development. I hope my research will help others spend more time learning and less time searching.

First off I want to thank the corelan guys for the help they have provided me so far in the process.

layout: I will be posting in a hierarchical structure, each hierarchy structure should be fully understood before moving on to the next section. I will also post sets of Parallel learning topics that you can use to study in line with other topics to help prevent monotony. These Parallel areas will have a start and end mark which shows when they should be complete in perspective to the overall learning

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Other Posts like this one:
Because of quality of these posts I wanted to put them at the top. I could not figure out where to put them in the list because they cover so much.
past-present-future of windows exploitation
smashing the stack in 2010

  1. Part 1: Programming

  2. Parallel learning #1:(complete this section before getting to the book "Hacking Art of exploitation")
    While going through the programming area I concentrate on core topics to help us later on with exploit writing. One area that is very good to pick up is some kind of scripting language. Listed below are some of the most popular scripting languages and ones I feel will prove to be the most useful.

    Python: One of my favorite languages and growing in popularity python is a powerful language that is easy to use and well documented.
    Learn Python the hard way
    Wikibooks Python
    Grey hat python

    Ruby: If you plan on later on working inside of metasploit this may be the language you want to start with. I highly suggest this for exploit developers to learn.
    Wikibooks Ruby
    Ruby Programmers Guide

    Perl: An older language that still has a lot of use perl is one of the highest used scripting languages and you will see it used in many exploits. (I would suggest python over perl)
    [book] O'Reilly Learning Perl

    C and C++ programming:
    It is very important to understand what you are exploiting so to get started let us figure out what we are exploiting. You do not need to go through all of these but when finished with this section you should have a good understanding of C and C++ programming.

    X86 Assembly:
    Ok now to understand what the computer reads when we compile C and C++. I am going to mostly stick to the IA-32(X86) assembly language. Read the first link to understand why. It explains it very well.
    Skullsecurity: Assembly
    Windows Assembly Programming Tutorial
    [book]The Art of Assembly
    Assembly primer for hackers
    PC Assembly Language

    Windows Programming:
    This is to help understand what we are programming in and the structure of libraries in the OS. This area is very important far down the line's_Win32APITutorial.pdf
    [book]Windows Internals 5
    [book]Windows Internals 4

    Dissassembly is not as much programming as it is what the computer understands and the way it is interpreted from CPU and memory. This is where we start getting into the good stuff.
    The Art of Disassembly

  3. Part 2: Getting started

  4. Now that we have a very good understanding of programming languages and what the machine is doing we can start working on task at hand, exploitation.
    Here I will start a lot of the learning in very much a list format and adding in comments or Parallel learning areas when needed.

    Smash the stack for fun and profit (Phrack 49)
    C function call conventions and the stack
    Anatomy of a program in memory
    Function Calls, Part 1 (the Basics)
    IA-32 Architecture
    [videos]Code Audit from

    (Parallel learning #1 finished: You should now have finished on Parallel learning 1 and have a good understanding of one of the 3 languages)

    [Book]Hacking art of exploitation [Chapter 1&2]
    Corelan T1
    Corelan T2

    Parallel learning #2:(complete this section before end of part 2)
    (Read the first few posts on this blog has some good info)
    Kspice blog
    (Read some of the post from this blog they are very helpful with starting out with fuzzers.)
    Nullthreat's blog
    (I am linked directly to a demo exploit for this area but this is a useful blog to keep track of for many things)
    A demo exploit Buffer overflow intro
    The Tao of Windows Buffer Overflow
    nsfsecurity on BOF
    Hacker center: BOF
    [video]Buffer overflow Primer
    [Book]Shellcoder's Handbook Ch1&2
    [Book]Hacking art of exploitation [Chapter 3]
    Corelan T3A
    Corelan T3B
    SEH Based Exploits and the development process
    SEH overwrite simplified

    ((Parallel learning #2 finished:)

  5. Part 3:Tools of the trade

  6. This is a list of tools I have started using and find very useful.
    Immunity Debugger
    IDA Pro
    explorer suite

    And here are some corelan posts on how to use them. I will supply more in future but this is a very good start.
    Corelan T5
    Corelan: Immunity debugger cheatsheet

  7. Part 4: Network and Metasploit

  8. (Networking) network programming
    [Book]Hacking art of exploitation [Chapter 4]
    Socket Programming in ruby

    [Video]Security Tube: Metasploit Megaprimer
    Metasploit Unleashed
    [video]Metasploit Louisville Class
    Metasploitable (a target)
    Corelan T4
    intern0t: developing my first exploit
    [video]DHAtEnclaveForensics: Exploit Creation in Metasploit
    Wikibooks Metasploit/Writing Windows Exploit

  9. Part 5: Shellcode

  10. Corelan T9
    projectShellcode: Shellcode Tutorial
    [Book]Shellcoder's Handbook Ch3
    [Book]Hacking art of exploitation [Chapter 5]
    Writing small shellcode
    Shell-storm Shellcode database
    Advanced shellcode

  11. Part 6: Engineering in Reverse

  12. Parallel Learning #3:(constant place to reference and use for reversing)
    Understanding Code
    Reverse Engineering the World
    Reversing for Newbies reversing blog post intro to reverse engineering Intro to Reverse Engineering software
    [Book]Reversing: secrets of reverse engineering
    [video]Reverse Engineering from
    CrackZ's Reverse Engineering Page
    Reverse engineering techniques
    Windows PE Header
    OpenRCE Articles


  13. Part 7: Getting a little deeper into BOF

  14. Parallel Learning #4:(To the end of the course and beyond)
    Find old exploits on Exploit-db download them, test them, rewrite them, understand them.

    (Part A: preventions)
    Buffer overflow protection
    The evolution of Microsoft's Mitigations Canary Bit
    Preventing the exploitation of SEH Overwrites with SEHOP
    Bypassing SEHOP
    Wikipedia Executable space protextion
    Wikipedia DEP
    Bypassing Hardware based DEP
    Wikipedia ASLR
    Symantec ASLR in Vista
    Defeating the Stack Based Buffer Overflow Prevention
    Corelan T6
    Return to libc
    [video] microsoft protections video

    (Part B: Advanced BOF)
    [video]Exploitation from
    Corelan T7
    Corelan T8
    Corelan T10
    Virtual Worlds - Real Exploits

    [GAME]Gera's Insecure Programming
    [GAME]Smash the stack wargaming network

  15. Part 8: Heap overflow

  16. Heap Overflows for Humans-101
    rm -rf / on heap overflow
    w00w00 on heap overflow
    [book]Shellcoder's Handbook Ch4&5
    h-online A heap of Risk
    [video]Defcon 15 remedial Heap Overflows
    heap overflow: ancient art of unlink seduction
    Memory corruptions part II -- heap

    [book]Read the rest of Shellcoder's Handbook

  17. Part 9: Exploit listing sites

  18. Exploit-DB
    CVE Details
    National Vulnerability Database

    (bonus: site that lists types of vulnerabilties and info)
    Common Weakness Enumberation

  19. Part 10: To come

  20. 1. Fuzzing
    2. File Format
    3. and more

    If anyone has any good links to add post a comment and I will try to add them or send me the link and I will review and add it.

    If anyone finds any bad or false information in any of these tutorials please let me know. I do not want people reading this getting bad information.


  1. You may want to add this to the resources for scripting in ruby

  2. Thanks for compiling this.


  3. Nice compilation! Keep up the good work.

    You may like to add..
    Assembly language primer (13 videos)

    Buffer Overflow basics (9 videos)

    win exploitation by Dino Dai Zovi

    Heap feng shui by Alexander Sotirov

    satyam pujari

  4. Thanks everyone

    I will review these and get them put in to the list where they belong.
    After reviewing my list and comparing to bookmarks it looks like I forgot a few things. I am working on getting it updated before end of day.

  5. site has been updated to include some new links and also in the header a link to PDF layout of the document.

  6. i think there's a wonderful book need to be included in this journey which is "shell coder handbook"

    beside, wonderful step by step topic.


  7. Thanks neo, I have seen this around and yet to read it. I am going out today to restock on some reading material and will pick this up.
    It will be added in next revision once I review it.

  8. The link for Course_layout.pdf is linked wrong its directing to

    instead of

  9. Fixed the course layout pdf issue. I found a few the first day I posted this that did that. Has something to do with me copy and pasting it over from notepad.

    Thanks for the heads up

  10. Nice Work !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Keep it coming!!!!!!

  11. Any link's about remote exploits and 0day?

  12. @Xenor

  13. Hey Xenor sorry I never saw your post.

    as far as 0days, all an 0day is is a day an exploit goes public. So anyone of the sites listed show multiple 0days. Also this whole course is about developing your own 0days.

    With remote exploitation that is pretty vague. Do you have anything specific in mind. A lot of areas listed have remote exploits info in them.

  14. Great post, just stumbled across it because someone posted it on Twitter. Really have to go through these steps at some point.
    You might want to add Gray Hat Python ( to the Python list, I really like it (it's probably the only Python book I enjoy even though I hate the language, for an unknown reason).

  15. Ah yes thank you mleither that is a really good book. I will get that added in.

    I personally love python, it is my main programming language but starting to adopt ruby as main just to write more in metasploit

  16. In part 2, you should rather link to this newer tutorial in website rather than the old one.

  17. your guide is excellent in terms of intermediate goals as well as a clear understanding of where we are headed while studying ... great work :)

    please suggest a similar learning exercise for learning Malware Analysis. I am sure just like Exploit development it would help a lot of folks to understand about malwares

    Great work once again :)

  18. Thanks Anish,

    I have to do some updates to this post and have an upcoming post but after that will consider a layout on malware anaysis.

  19. Hey man,
    Just wanted to say cool blog, regarding exploit dev I like it, I used your list more like references because I used to do expl dev, but made long break and I started again recently so it was cool to be able to basically do fast glancing over and to just continue where I left off. Keep it up :)

  20. First, I would like to thank Myneus and everyone on this post for such an honest attempt to share information. It really feels wonderful when people contribute towards a greater purpose, which is "TO LEARN AND EVOLVE" in the security community.

    I would like to suggest the following link:

    It provides a lot of useful links which have been categorized under proper areas of study. Guess, it will help to better understand and document the steps for a through understanding of the concepts. Probably, some of the links have already been included here.

    Myneus, please have a look at it.

  21. marked in my springpad bookmarks :)

  22. Thanks for the post 7h3rAm. I looked over this and liked to it in top of the post.

    I am going to add the videos that Vivek made on security tube soon to the list. Just want to have him get a bit further so I can review and put where they are needed.

    If you want to start watching now visit HERE

  23. After you learn a bit about exploit methods and tools you can check out my blog at to see some more real world examples.

  24. I love this post, i'm using this text like a guide since a few months ago, and I was learn too interesting thinks.

  25. The "learn python the hard way" link is dead. The PDF version needs to be purchased for now. Online HTML version available at

  26. Thanks Cool Samar fixing that right now. Someday I will update this post to have more content.



    One suggestion, you should keep posting articles.
    You are great helper to Security Enthusiastic people.

    So keep it up and all the best.

  28. woow, very usefull for me :D ... thanks

  29. Thanks for a great read ! I love it, I love it so much that the greedy gnome in me wants more ...

  30. Overall that's good information.

  31. is awesome