Assignment 03 Disassembling and Defusing a Binary Bomb 


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Programming Assignment 03 DisassemblingandDefusingaBinaryBomb
dis·as·sem·ble (vt) take apart: to take something such as a piece of machinery apart. – Bing Dictionary
0 Overview The purpose of Programming Assignment 3 (PA3) is for you to become familiar with x86-IA32 Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). The nefarious Dr. Evil has planted a slew of ”binary bombs” on our machines. A binary bomb is a program that consists of a sequence of phases. Each phase expects you to type a particular string on stdin. If you type the correct string, then the phase is defused and the bomb proceeds to the next phase. Otherwise, the bomb explodes by printing”BOOM!!!”and then terminating. The bomb is defused when every phase has been defused. There are too many bombs for us to deal with, so we are giving everyone a bomb to defuse. Your mission, which you have no choice but to accept, is to defuse your bomb before the due date. Good luck, and welcome to the bomb squad!
1 Instructions The bombs were constructed specifically for 32-bit machines and Linux operating system. You must do this assignment on theiLabmachines. You will not defuse the bomb otherwise and will not get credit. In fact, there is a rumor that Dr. Evil has ensured the bomb will always blow up if run elsewhere. There are several other tamper-proofing devices built into the bomb as well, or so they say. Open an Internet Browser and go to the URL: This address is only “visible” when you are connected in the Rutgers Network. Fill the form up with your NetID and your email address to get your bomb package. The file that you will get is in the format bombN.tar, where N is your bomb ID, i.e. YOUR ID. If you haven’t downloaded it in the iLab machines, copy the file to there and untar your bomb into your home directory. We recommend that you download no more than two bombs. Copy the bomb that you downloaded into your iLab account and work with it.
$ tar -xvf bomb<ID.tar
It will create a directorybomb< ID that should contain the following files:
• bomb: The executable binary bomb • bomb.c: Source file with the bomb’s main routine • README: File with the bomb ID and extra information Your job is to defuse the bomb. You can use many tools to help you with this; please look at the tools section for some tips and ideas. The best way is to use a debugger to step through the disassembled binary. The bomb has9phases. The phases get progressively harder to defuse, but the expertise you gain as you move from phase to phase should offset this difficulty. Nonetheless, the latter phases are not easy, so please don’t wait until the last minute to start. (If you’re stumped, check the hints section at the end of this document.) The bomb ignores blank input lines. If you run your bomb with a command line argument, for example,
./bomb defuser.txt
then it will read the input lines from defuser.txt until it reaches EOF (end of file), and then switch over to stdin (standard input from the terminal). In a moment of weakness, Dr. Evil added this feature so you don’t have to keep retyping the solutions to phases you have already defused. Toavoidaccidentallydetonatingthebomb,youwillneedtolearnhowtosingle-stepthroughtheassemblycode and how to set breakpoints. You will also need to learn how to inspect both the registers and the memory states. One of the nice side-effects of doing the lab is that you will get very good at using a debugger. This is a crucial skill that will pay big dividends the rest of your career. IMPORTANT: Every time that the bomb explodes, you will lose 0.5 points. It is important that you use breakpoints and avoid those unnecessary explosions.
2 Resources
Thereareanumberofonlineresourcesthatwillhelpyouunderstandanyassemblyinstructionsyoumayencounter while examining the bomb. In particular, the programming manuals for x86-IA32 processors distributed by Intel and AMD are exceptionally valuable. They both describe the same ISA, but sometimes one may be easier to understand than the other.
2.1 UsefulforthisLab • Intel Instruction Reference It is important to realize that the assembly syntax of the instructions on the Intel manual follows the Intel assembly language, while in the book, in gcc, and in gdb they all use the AT&T assembly language. They are perfectly interchangable, you can identify the differences in this webpage:
2.2 NotDirectlyUseful,butGoodBrainfoodNonetheless • Intel 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer’s Manual Volume 1: Basic Architecture • Intel 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer’s Manual Volume 3: System Programming Guide
2.3 CheckingyourWork We provided a webpage where you can check your work. Access: to verify how many points you have, up to which phase you have defused the bomb, and so on. You have to be on the Rutgers network to access the above link.
3 Tools
There are many ways of defusing your bomb. You can examine it in great detail without ever running the program, and figure out exactly what it does. This is a useful technique, but it not always easy to do. You can also run it underadebugger,watchwhatitdoesstepbystep,andusethisinformationtodefuseit. Thisisprobablythefastest way of defusing it. We do make one request, please do not use brute force! You could write a program that will try every possible key to find the right one, but the number of possibilities is so large that you won’t be able to try them all in time. There are many tools which are designed to help you figure out both how programs work, and what is wrong whentheydon’twork. Hereisalistofsomeofthetoolsyoumayfindusefulinanalyzingyourbomb, andhintson how to use them. • gdb: The GNU debugger is a command line debugger tool available on virtually every platform. You can trace through a program line by line, examine memory and registers, look at both the source code and assembly code (we are not giving you the source code for most of your bomb), set breakpoints, set memory watch points, and write scripts. Here are some tips for using gdb. – To keep the bomb from blowing up every time you type in a wrong input, you’ll want to learn how to set breakpoints. – The CS:APP Student Site has a very handygdbsummary(there is also a more extensive tutorial). – Forotherdocumentation,typehelpatthegdbcommandprompt,ortype”mangdb”,or”infogdb”ata Unix prompt. Some people also like to run gdb under gdb-mode in emacs. • objdump-tbomb: This will print out the bomb’s symbol table. The symbol table includes the names of all functionsandglobalvariablesinthebomb,thenamesofallthefunctionsthebombcalls,andtheiraddresses. You may learn something by looking at the function names! • objdump-dbomb: Use this to disassemble all of the code in the bomb. You can also just look at individual functions. Readingtheassemblercodecantellyouhowthebombworks. Althoughobjdump-dgivesyoua lot of information, it doesn’t tell you the whole story. Calls to system-level functions may look cryptic. For example, a call tosscanfmight appear as: 8048c36: e8 99 fc ff ff call 80488d4 < init + 0x1a0 To determine that the call was tosscanf, you would need to disassemble withingdb. • strings -t x bomb: This utility will display the printable strings in your bomb and their offset within the bomb.
Looking for a particular tool? How about documentation? Don’t forget, the commands apropos and man are your friends. In particular, man ascii is more useful than you’d think. If you get stumped, use the course’s discussion board on sakai.
4 Submission
Youhavetoe-submittheassignmentusingSakai. Yoursubmissionshouldbeatarfilenamedbomb < Y OURID .tar that can be extracted using the command:
tar -xf bomb<ID.tar
Extracting your tar file must give a directory called bomb < ID . This directory should contain the same files that you downloaded, along with the file defuser.txt to defuse the bomb. To create the tar file that you will submit after finishing your programming assignment, you will use the following command line, in the parent directory of bomb < ID :
tar -cvf bomb<ID.tar bomb<ID/
5 Grading
Your grade will be based on how many stages of the bomb you have defused. Be careful to follow all instructions. If something doesn’t seem right, ask.


PlaceholderAssignment 03 Disassembling and Defusing a Binary Bomb 
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