The Binary Bomb Project- Part 3

Taha Azzaoui - 2017.12.26


Okay, now things start to get interesting. Once again, let’s run the bomb inside of GDB and set a break point at phase_3. We can run the program with our file of passwords and enter an arbitrary test string when prompted for input. Once we reach the break-point, we can disassemble phase_3 and view the assembler dump as follows:

The Solution

Using the symbols as context clues again, we can decipher a call to the C standard library function sscanf at +34. We know that this function takes in a C-string representing the format of the user input to be read. This will tell us the type and number of elements that make up this phase’s password. Looking at +20 we can see that the contents of a hard-coded location in memory are being pushed onto the stack. Let’s inspect the contents of that location in memory by running the following command:

There’s the format string! This tells us that the password consists of two integers. Let’s analyze the following code to learn more about the properties of these two numbers. The instructions from +39 to +44 check if the first integer is greater than 1, and set off the bomb if not. Then the instruction at +49 checks if the first integer is less than 7 and sets off the bomb if it is not. We now have an upper and lower bound on the first integer.

The instruction at +58 uses the first integer to compute a byte offset from the memory address 0x8049880. We could inspect the contents of this memory address, but it’s trivial to see that the program is simply using the first integer to index into some sort of jump table whose values correspond to those on the odd lines from +65 to +119.

The logic roughly translates to the following:

int table[] = {0x10c, 0x20a, 0x258, 0x333, 0x231, 0x19b, 0x268, 0x73};
if(numOne < 1 || numOne > 7 || numTwo != table[numOne])

Concretely, if the first digit we enter is 5, the second digit must be the sixth element in our table (zero indexing), namely 0x19b, or 411.

Sure enough, our analysis is valid and this works. Moving swiftly along to phase four!

Click here for Phase IV