Chapter 9. Overcoming Filters

Writing an exploit for certain buffer overflow vulnerabilities can be problematic because of the filters that may be in place; for example, the vulnerable program may allow only alphanumeric characters from A to Z, a to z, and 0 to 9. We must work around two obstacles in such cases. First, any exploit code we write must be in the form the filter dictates; second, we must find a suitable value that can be used to overwrite the saved return address or function pointer, depending on the kind of overflow being exploited. This value needs to be in the form allowed by the filter. Assuming a reasonable filter, such as printable ASCII or Unicode, we can usually solve the first problem. Solving the second depends on, to a certain degree, luck, persistence, and craftiness.

Writing Exploits for Use with an Alphanumeric Filter

In the recent past, we've seen several situations in which exploit code needed to be printable ASCII in nature; that is, each byte must lie between A and Z (0x41 to 0x5A), a and z (0x61 to 0x7A) or 0 and 9 (0x30 to 0x39). This kind of shellcode was first documented by Riley "Caezar" Eller in his paper "Bypassing MSB Data Filters for Buffer Overflows" (August 2000). While the shellcode in Caezar's paper only allows for any character between 0x20 and 0x7F, it is a good starting point for those interested in overcoming such limitations.

The basic technique uses opcodes with alphanumeric bytes to write your real shellcode. This is known as bridge ...

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