1.Buffer Overflows

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1.Buffer Overflows

  1. 1. Course 2: Programming Issues, Section 1 Pascal Meunier, Ph.D., M.Sc., CISSP Updated September 28, 2004 Developed thanks to the support of Symantec Corporation, NSF SFS Capacity Building Program (Award Number 0113725) and the Purdue e-Enterprise Center Copyright (2004) Purdue Research Foundation. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Course 2 Learning Plan Buffer Overflows Format String Vulnerabilities Code Injection and Input Validation Cross-site Scripting Vulnerabilities Links and Race Conditions Temporary Files and Randomness Canonicalization and Directory Traversal
  3. 3. Learning objectives Understand the definition of a buffer overflow Learn the importance of buffer overflows Know how buffer overflows happen Know how to handle strings safely with regular "C" functions Learn safer ways to manipulate strings and buffers
  4. 4. "C" Programming Issues: Outline Definition Importance Examples Fundamental "C" problems Survey of unsafe functions Related Issues: Truncation, Character Encoding Safe string libraries Preventing buffer overflows without programming Lab: Write string manipulation functions
  5. 5. Buffer Overflows a.k.a. "Buffer Overrun" A buffer overflow happens when a program attempts to read or write data outside of the memory allocated for that data – Usually affects buffers of fixed size Special case of memory management and input validation
  6. 6. An Important Vulnerability Type Most Common (over 60% of CERT advisories) Well understood Easy to avoid in principle – Dont use "C" family languages, or be thorough – Can be tricky (off-by-one errors) – Tedious to do all the checks properly Temptation: "I don't need to because I control this data and I *know* that it will never be larger than this" – Until a hacker figures out how to change it
  7. 7. Example Overflow char B[10]; B[10] = x; Array starts at index zero So [10] is 11th element One byte outside buffer was referenced Off-by-one errors are common and can be exploitable!
  8. 8. Other Example function do_stuff(char * a) { char b[100]; ... strcpy(b, a); // (dest, source) ... } What is the size of the string located at “a”? Is it even a null-terminated string? What if it was "strcpy(a, b);" instead? – What is the size of the buffer pointed to by "a"?
  9. 9. What happens when memory outside a buffer is accessed? If memory doesn't exist: – Bus error If memory protection denies access: – Segmentation fault – General protection fault If access is allowed, memory next to the buffer can be accessed – Heap – Stack – Etc...
  10. 10. Real Life Example: efingerd.c, v. 1.6.2 int get_request (int d, char buffer[], u_short len) { u_short i; for (i=0; i< len; i++) { ... } buffer[i] = ‘0’; return i; } What is the value of "i" at the end of the loop? Which byte just got zeroed? It's tricky even if you try to get things right...
  11. 11. Real Life Example: efingerd.c, v. 1.5 CAN-2002-0423 static char *lookup_addr(struct in_addr in) { static char addr[100]; struct hostent *he; he = gethostbyaddr(...) strcpy (addr, he->h_name); return addr; } How big is he->h_name? Who controls the results of gethostbyaddr? How secure is DNS? Can you be tricked into looking up a maliciously engineered value?
  12. 12. A Typical Stack Exploit The stack contains: High Addresses Arguments – Parameters (arguments) to function Return Address – Return Address addr[99] – Local variables – Anything pushed on the stack addr[100+] overwrites the return address Stack grows addr[0] typically this way contains exploit addr[0] code Return address is chosen to point at exploit Low Addresses code!
  13. 13. Fundamental "C" Problems You can't know the length of buffers just from a pointer – Partial solution: pass the length as a separate argument "C" string functions aren't safe – No guarantees that the new string will be null-terminated! – Doing all checks completely and properly is tedious and tricky
  14. 14. Strlen What happens when you call strlen on an improperly terminated string? Strlen scans until a null character is found – Can scan outside buffer if string is not null-terminated – Can result in a segmentation fault or bus error Strlen is not safe to call! – Unless you positively know that the string is null- terminated... Are all the functions you use guaranteed to return a null- terminated string?
  15. 15. Strcpy char * strcpy(char * dst, const char * src); How can you use strcpy safely? – Set the last character of src to NUL According to the size of the buffer pointed to by src or a size parameter passed to you Not according to strlen(src)! Wide char array: sizeof(src)/sizeof(src[0]) -1 is the index of the last element – Check that the size of the src buffer is smaller than or equal to that of the dst buffer – Or allocate dst to be at least equal to the size of src
  16. 16. Strncpy char * strncpy(char * dst, const char * src, size_t len); "len" is maximum number of characters to copy – What is the correct value for len? Initial answer by most people: size of dst – If dst is an array, sizeof(dst) What if src is not NUL-terminated? – Don't want to read outside of src buffer – What is the correct value for "len" given that? Minimum buffer size of dst and src, -1 for NUL byte If arrays, – MIN(sizeof(dst), sizeof(src)) - 1
  17. 17. Strncpy (Cont.) Other issue: "dst" is NUL-terminated only if less than "len" characters were copied! – All calls to strncpy must be followed by a NUL-termination operation
  18. 18. Question What’s wrong with this? function do_stuff(char * a) { char b[100]; ... strncpy(b, a, strlen(a)); ... }
  19. 19. Question Answer What’s wrong with this? function do_stuff(char * a) { char b[100]; ... strncpy(b, a, strlen(a)); ... } The string pointed to by "a" could be larger than the size of "b"!
  20. 20. Question What’s wrong with this? function do_stuff(char * a) { char *b; ... b = malloc(strlen(a)+1); strncpy(b, a, strlen(a)); ... }
  21. 21. Question Answer What’s wrong with this? function do_stuff(char * a) { char *b; ... b = malloc(strlen(a)+1); strncpy(b, a, strlen(a)); ... } Are you absolutely certain that the string pointed to by "a" is NUL-terminated?
  22. 22. Strlcpy size_t strlcpy(char *dst, const char *src, size_t size); Guarantees to null-terminate string pointed to by "dst" if "size">0 The rest of the destination buffer is not zeroed as for strncpy, so better performance is obtained "size" can simply be size of dst (sizeof if an array) – If all functions are guaranteed to null-terminate strings, then it is safe to assume src is null-terminated – Not safe if src is not null-terminated! See http://www.courtesan.com/todd/papers/strlcpy.html for benchmarks and more info – Used in MacOS X, OpenBSD and more (but not Linux)
  23. 23. Note on Strlcpy As the remainder of the buffer is not zeroed, there could be information leakage
  24. 24. Corrected Efinger.c (v.1.6) sizeof is your friend, when you can use it (if an array) static char addr[100]; he = gethostbyaddr(...); if (he == NULL) strncpy(addr, inet_ntoa(in), sizeof(addr)); else strncpy(addr, he->h_name, sizeof(addr)); What is still wrong?
  25. 25. Corrected Efinger.c (v.1.6) Notice that the last byte of addr is not zeroed, so this code can produce non-NUL-terminated strings! static char addr[100]; he = gethostbyaddr(...); if (he == NULL) strncpy(addr, inet_ntoa(in), sizeof(addr)); else strncpy(addr, he->h_name, sizeof(addr));
  26. 26. Strcat char * strcat(char * s, const char * append); String pointed to by "append" is added at the end of the string contained in buffer "s" No check for size! – Need to do all checks beforehand – Example with arrays: if (sizeof(s)-strlen(s)-1 >= strlen(append)) strcat(s, append); Need to trust that "s" and "append" are NUL- terminated – Or set their last byte to NUL before the checks and call
  27. 27. Strncat char * strncat(char * s, const char * append, size_t count); No more than "count" characters are added, and then a NUL is added Correct call is complex: – strncat(s, append, sizeof(s)-strlen(s)-1) Not a great improvement on strcat, because you still need to calculate correctly the count – And then figure out if the string was truncated Need to trust that "s" and "append" are NUL- terminated – Or set their last byte to NUL before the checks and call
  28. 28. Strlcat size_t strlcat(char *dst, const char *src, size_t size); Call semantics are simple: – Strlcat(dst, src, dst_len); – If an array: strlcat(dst, src, sizeof(dst)); Safety: safe even if dst is not properly terminated – Won't read more than size characters from dst when looking for the append location Not safe if src is not properly terminated! – If dst is large and the buffer for src is small, then it could cause a segmentation fault or bus error, or copy confidential values
  29. 29. Issues with Truncating Strings Subsequent operations may fail or open up vulnerabilities – If string is a path, then it may not refer to the same thing, or be an invalid path Truncation means you weren't able to do what you wanted – You should handle that error instead of letting it go silently
  30. 30. Truncation Detection Truncation detection was simplified by strlcpy and strlcat, by changing the return value – The returned value is the size of what would have been copied if the destination had an infinite size if this is larger than the destination size, truncation occurred Source still needs to be NUL-terminated Inspired by snprintf and vsprintf, which do the same However, it still takes some consideration to make sure the test is correct: – if (strlcpy(dest, src, sizeof(dest)) >= sizeof(dest)) goto toolong;
  31. 31. Multi-Byte Character Encodings Handling of strings using variable-width encodings or multi-byte encodings is a problem – e.g., UTF-8 is 1-4 bytes long How long is the string? – In bytes – In characters Overflows are possible if size checks do not properly account for character encoding! .NET: System.String supports UTF-16 – Strings are immutable - no overflow possible there!
  32. 32. Safestr Free library available at: http://zork.org Features: – Works on UNIX and Windows – Buffer overflow protection – String format protection – "Taint-tracking" (à la Perl's taint mode) Limitations and differences: – Does not handle multi-byte characters – License: binaries must reproduce a copyright notice – NUL characters have no special meaning – Must use their library functions all the time (but conversion to regular "C" strings is easy)
  33. 33. Microsoft Strsafe Null-termination guaranteed Option for using either number of characters or bytes (for Unicode character encoding), and disallowing the other Option to treat truncation as a fatal error Define behavior upon error – Output buffer set to "" or filled Option to prevent information leaks – Pad rest of buffer However, correct calculations still needed – e.g., wcsncat requires calculating the remaining space in the destination string...
  34. 34. Future Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 will have a new series of safe string manipulation functions – strcpy_s() – strncpy_s() – strncat_s() – strlen_s() – etc... http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/li brary/en-us/dncode/html/secure05202002.asp Visual Studio 2005 (as of Beta 1) by default issues deprecation warnings on strcpy, strncpy, etc… Say goodbye to your old friends, they're too dangerous!
  35. 35. Other Unsafe Functions: sprintf family int sprintf(char *s, const char *format, /* args*/ ...); – Buffer "s" can be overflowed int snprintf(char *s, size_t n, const char *format, /* args*/ ...); – Does not guarantee NUL-termination of s on some platforms (Microsoft, Sun) – MacOS X: NUL-termination guaranteed – Which is it on the class server? Check with "man sprintf" int vsprintf(char * str, const char * format, va_list ap); – Buffer "str" can be overflowed
  36. 36. Gets, fgets char * gets(char *str); – Buffer "str" can be overflowed char * fgets(char * str, int size, FILE * stream); – Buffer "str" is not NUL-terminated if an I/O error occurs – If an error occurs, returns NULL – If end-of-file occurs before any characters are read, returns NULL also (and buffer is unchanged) – Callers must use feof(3) and ferror(3) to determine which occurred.
  37. 37. Conclusion Buffer sizes should be passed as a parameter with every pointer – Applies to other buffer manipulations besides strings Need simple truncation detection
  38. 38. Preventing Buffer Overflows Without Programming Idea: make the heap and stack non-executable – Because many buffer overflow attacks aim at executing code in the data that overflowed the buffer Doesn't prevent "return into libc" overflow attacks – Because the return address of the function on the stack points to a standard "C" function (e.g., "system"), this attack doesn't execute code on the stack e.g., ExecShield for Fedora Linux (used to be RedHat Linux)
  39. 39. Canaries on a Stack Add a few bytes containing special values between variables on the stack and the return address. Before the function returns, check that the values are intact. – If not, there's been a buffer overflow! Terminate program If the goal was a Denial-of-Service then it still happens – At least the machine is not compromised If the canary can be read by an attacker, then a buffer overflow exploit can be made to rewrite them – e.g., see string format vulnerabilities
  40. 40. Canary Implementations StackGuard Stack-Smashing Protector (SSP) – Formerly ProPolice – gcc modification – Used in OpenBSD – http://www.trl.ibm.com/projects/security/ssp/ Windows: /GS option for Visual C++ .NET These can be useful when testing too!
  41. 41. Protection Using Virtual Memory Pages Page: A chunk (unit) of virtual memory POSIX systems have three permissions for each page. – PROT_READ – PROT_WRITE – PROT_EXEC Idea: manipulate and enforce these permissions correctly to defend against buffer overflows – Make injected code non-executable
  42. 42. OpenBSD PROT_* purity (correct enforcement of permissions for pages in VM system; i386 and PowerPC architectures limit this) W^X (write permission is exclusive of execute) – Data shouldn't need to be executed! – Limits also self-modifying (machine) code .rodata (read-only data is enforced to be read-only on a separate page)
  43. 43. Windows Execution Protection "NX" (No Execute) Windows XP service pack 2 feature – Somewhat similar to POSIX permissions Requires processor support – AMD64 – Intel Itanium
  44. 44. Question A buffer overflow is not exploitable if: a) It happens in the heap b) It happens in the stack c) It happens where memory is not executable d) None of the above
  45. 45. Question A buffer overflow is not exploitable if: a) It happens in the heap b) It happens in the stack c) It happens where memory is not executable d) None of the above
  46. 46. Question Making some memory locations non-executable protects against which variants of buffer overflow attacks? a) Code in the overwritten data b) Return into libc c) Variable corruption
  47. 47. Question Making some memory locations non-executable protects against which variants of buffer overflow attacks? a) Code in the overwritten data b) Return into libc c) Variable corruption
  48. 48. Buffer Overflow Lab Create your own safe version of the strlen, strcpy, strcat – Name them mystrlen, mystrcpy and mystrcat – Pass buffer sizes for each pointer argument – Return 0 if successful, and 1 if truncation occurred Other error codes if you wish – Make your implementation pass all test cases int mystrlen(const char *s, size_t s_len); – In this case, return the string length, not zero or one. int mystrcpy(char * dst, const char * src, size_t dst_len, size_t src_len); int mystrcat(char * s, const char * append, size_t s_len, size_t a_len);
  49. 49. Things to Ponder What about 0 as source size? Error or not? What if “s” is NULL? What about overlapping buffers? Undefined everytime, or only in certain cases? What if reach the end in mystrlen? How efficient to make it -- how many passes at source string are made? What to check first? Reuse mystrlen within mystrcpy or mystrcat? Compare your implementations to strl*, strsafe, safestr, str*_s.
  50. 50. Questions or Comments?
  51. 51. About These Slides You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; and to make derivative works, under the following conditions. – You must give the original author and other contributors credit – The work will be used for personal or non-commercial educational uses only, and not for commercial activities and purposes – For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the terms of use for this work – Derivative works must retain and be subject to the same conditions, and contain a note identifying the new contributor(s) and date of modification – For other uses please contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. Developed thanks to the support of Symantec Corporation
  52. 52. Pascal Meunier pmeunier@purdue.edu Contributors: Jared Robinson, Alan Krassowski, Craig Ozancin, Tim Brown, Wes Higaki, Melissa Dark, Chris Clifton, Gustavo Rodriguez-Rivera

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