March 15, 2004

Experts publish 'how to' book for software exploits

A new book by leading security researchers on writing code to exploit security flaws in software, including Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating
system, has caused some raised eyebrows in the technical community for publishing "zero day," or previously unknown, techniques for exploiting
vulnerable systems.

"The Shellcoder's Handbook: Discovering and Exploiting Security Holes," is an advanced guide to writing software exploits. The book is intended as a
resource for network administrators who are interested in closing security holes. However, the book also contains working examples of code for
exploiting vulnerable systems and previously unpublished techniques for launching attacks such as heap overflows and kernel attacks, according to two
of the book's authors.

Shellcode is a term that describes small pieces of computer code that launch operating system "shells," or command interfaces such as the common "C:\"
command line interface on Microsoft DOS (Disk Operating System). Shellcode is often a component of attacks in which malicious hackers use software
exploits to get control of vulnerable systems.

The new book is published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. and is scheduled to be released on March 22, 2004. It contains chapters on a variety of attack
types, including stack overflows, heap overflows and format string bugs. Authors discuss everything from how to write Windows shellcode to exploiting
security holes in Hewlett-Packard Co.'s (HP's) Tru64 operating system, according to a description of the book published on the Wiley Web page.

Link: infoworld.com

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