We have all probably heard about e-Sports - how playing PC / Console games is now a professional occupation, so just a thought that it might be worthwhile to write an article about game hacking/tweaking which is a fun piece of nerdy knowledge that I've learnt since High School. Who knows if there might be implications for this in the future ?
In this article we will attempt to "hack" applications / data that runs locally on our PCs. To understand this better here's a quick summary of how Apps / RAM works: - Apps need RAM / Memory to run. Amount of RAM is allocated by Operating System (OS).- RAM / Memory is like a huge storeroom with lots of lockers - each locker has an unique ID/address 0x01, 0x02, ... etc. OS will allocate Apps to a set of unique lockers to use.- Each locker (memory address) can assign to 1 App at anytime.- OS will manage mappings of all the (App, Memory address) pairs.
Say you've started a Game application on your PC. OS has allocated a chunk of memory addresses for it. We can have another program (with sufficient system accesses + codes to communicate with OS) that access and modify data stored under these memory addresses.
With the memory address located for the Ammo value, we can manipulate the value and cheat on the game! Check out the following video. We gave it a value of 100 and locking it.. In game, shooting will make it drop the 99 but not any further.
In summary we have seen how local memory data can be easily hacked. It is important to that in all software solutions, we must safeguard sensitive information stored locally. There are obfuscation coding and encryption methodologies to mask variables and prevent memory scans. These techniques comes with computation / performance cost, but for critical applications security is way more important.
Quick reminder (1/3): the memory regions of a process are listed in the /proc/[pid]/maps file. As a result, we first need to know the PID of the process. That is done using the ps command; the second column of ps aux output will give us the PID of the process. Please read chapter 0 to learn more.
clearly, malloc made only two calls to brk to increase the allocated space on the heap. And the second call is using a higher memory address argument (0x201a000 > 0x1ff9000). The second syscall was triggered when the space on the heap was too small to host all the malloc calls.
As a result, the offset between the data section of the executable and the program break initial position when the process runs can have a size of anywhere between 0 and 0x02000000. This randomization is known as Address Space Layout Randomisation (ASLR). ASLR is a computer security technique involved in preventing exploitation of memory corruption vulnerabilities. In order to prevent an attacker from jumping to, for example, a particular exploited function in memory, ASLR randomly arranges the address space positions of key data areas of a process, including the positions of the heap and the stack.
In computing, virtual memory is a memory management technique that is implemented using both hardware and software. It maps memory addresses used by a program, called virtual addresses, into physical addresses in computer memory. Main storage (as seen by a process or task) appears as a contiguous address space, or collection of contiguous segments. The operating system manages virtual address spaces and the assignment of real memory to virtual memory. Address translation hardware in the CPU, often referred to as a memory management unit or MMU, automatically translates virtual addresses to physical addresses. Software within the operating system may extend these capabilities to provide a virtual address space that can exceed the capacity of real memory and thus reference more memory than is physically present in the computer.
The primary benefits of virtual memory include freeing applications from having to manage a shared memory space, increased security due to memory isolation, and being able to conceptually use more memory than might be physically available, using the technique of paging.
0x1822010 is small compared to 0xffffffffffffffff, so the duplicated string is probably located at a lower memory address. We will be able to confirm this when we will be looking at the proc filesystem).
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What i know is you look for some address of of some variables in the software you're trying to manipulate . And once you find it you then try to find the "base pointer" for it so no matter where the process is , you can still access those variables.I mean when the process is restarted the variables would have different addresses , but still you know where they are .
Another way of thinking about it that the variable name x is an alias for the memory location epb-8. Because, this is how the compiler lays out memory the storage location for x will always be located at the same offset from the base pointer.
In the previous two chapters of this series, we talked about how a hacker can conduct attacks with SQL injection and OS command injection. These software weaknesses are in the top two positions in the SANS Top 25. Now we move on to the programming flaw at No. 3: buffer overflow.
Buffer overflow is caused by improper memory management in C/C++ code. Memory flaws are a major producer of zero-day issues and are extremely dangerous. In fact, the price of a memory flaw on the black market would be higher than the price of an SQL injection. It would climb even higher if the flaw is found in a commonly used software such as Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash or web browsers.
We have seen that C/C++ code is an area of exposure to memory flaws. Much of the software we rely on in our day-to-day internet activities is exposed to such risks. Even a minor slip in handling memory can cause a significant security issue with wide repercussions, allowing bad guys to take over innocent users who are browsing a trusted website. Memory in programming must be handled with care.
One excellent way to get started modifying your favourite game is to use memory hacking techniques. By learning what memory locations are used for specific functions you can perform all sorts of crazy cheats and start to get an understanding of how the game works internally.
It is even possible to edit the memory of your favourite game on the original hardware, with no modifications required! Just use an old School Cheat Cartridge such as the Action Replay, Game Breaker or Equalizer cartridges.
These cartridges use a special syntax to tell the Nintendo 64 which memory addresses you want to modify and using that you can convert any cheat you have made in an emulator to run on physical hardware.
The researchers say that within five years, medical professionals are also expected to have the capability to record the brain signals which build our memory, potentially leading to memory-boosting implants, memory storage, and more.
The latest generation of implants we currently use come with management software which can be accessed by both patients and clinicians and the systems interconnect through the Bluetooth communication protocol.
In the cases of some implants, data transferred via management software was found to be insecure and unencrypted, which could lead to an attacker being able to tamper with massive groups of implants at the same time.
Our brain chip and implant designs are also of concern -- especially given potential future security ramifications. By design, these devices may need to be fitted with a software backdoor for clinicians to change settings in an emergency, and this backdoor could become an avenue for attack.
The human element is also a problem. The devices used by medical professionals which contain the software critical to patient implants and care were found to be left open and exposed with default passwords in a number of cases, and they were also used to download additional apps -- any of which could become an attack vector, if vulnerable.
A buffer overflow or overrun is a memory safety issue where a program does not properly check the boundaries of an allocated fixed-length memory buffer and writes more data than it can hold. This causes data to overflow to adjacent memory space, overwriting the information there, which often leads to crashes and exploitable conditions.
Buffer overflows are one of the oldest and most common causes for arbitrary code execution vulnerabilities, and applications written in programming languages like C and C++ are more prone to such coding mistakes than other languages. To avoid them, the developer community has developed secure coding practices and major software vendors have adopted them as part of their secure development life cycles.
In September 2019, The MITRE Corporation, which maintains the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) catalog, published a list of the top 25 types of software vulnerabilities. The top rank went to CWE-119 or "Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer," a larger class of buffer handling errors that includes buffer overflows and out-of-bound reads.
The fact that buffer overflows still rank at the top after many years of efforts to eliminate them from computer software is somewhat surprising. However, this is the first time MITRE updated the top 25 weaknesses list since 2011 and the ranking is based on a new scoring formula that combines the frequency of vulnerabilities in the National Vulnerabilities Database (NVD) observed over 2017 and 2018 with their average severity scores. So, the list reflects the overall risk associated with certain types of weaknesses based on both prevalence and the danger they pose. 2b1af7f3a8