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A Guide to Kernel Exploitation: Attacking the Core Paperback – September 15, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1597494861 ISBN-10: 1597494860 Edition: 1st

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A Guide to Kernel Exploitation: Attacking the Core + The Shellcoder's Handbook: Discovering and Exploiting Security Holes + Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Syngress; 1 edition (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597494860
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597494861
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 7.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A very interesting book that not only exposes readers to kernel exploitation techniques, but also deeply motivates the study of operating systems internals, moving such study far beyond simple curiosity."--Golden G. Richard III, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science, University of New Orleans and CTO, Digital Forensics Solutions, LLC

From the Back Cover

The number of security countermeasures against user-land exploitation is on the rise. Because of this, kernel exploitation is becoming much more popular among exploit writers and attackers. Playing with the heart of the operating system can be a dangerous game: This book covers the theoretical techniques and approaches needed to develop reliable and effective kernel-level exploits and applies them to different operating systems (Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Windows). Kernel exploits require both art and science to achieve. Every OS has its quirks and so every exploit must be molded to fully exploit its target. This book discusses the most popular OS families-UNIX derivatives, Mac OS X, and Windows-and how to gain complete control over them. Concepts and tactics are presented categorically so that even when a specifically detailed exploit has been patched, the foundational information that you have read will help you to write a newer, better attack or a more concrete design and defensive structure.


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Customer Reviews

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The authors do a great job at introducing the subject.
L. Romero
From that perspective, the audience for this book needs to have some familiarity with computers and operating systems before reading, or you will likely get lost.
ut158
I highly recommend this book for anybody that is interested in kernel exploitation.
BlakeS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By DDDDDDD on October 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
My colleague showed me this book (full disclosure: he was a reviewer) - he made his students buy it it for his OS II class (assigned middle of the semester!) one week ago - hot off the presses. I got two copies, one for my office and one for reading on the bus.

It's one of three technical exploit books I'd take on a deserted, networked, powered island. Part 1: Journey into Kernel Land (Intro and explanations) is one of the most succinct clear intros I have ever seen. I wish I could distributed that as a document for class. The section on Windows is current and well done, also because the difference between 32 and 64 bit architectures and approaches are emphasized (this is not the case with Eilam's book alas, though very good) - this book is up to date. I think the Unix section needs to be updated, though, my colleague said that some of the exploits were possible in 2006/2007 but with kernel changes some APIs are not available etc. This needs to be updated. Cannot comment on the Mac section, because no expertise.

Website available and examples useful: [...]

Wishlist:

1) There are some unavoidable typos, sure: p.10: MAC is nor Media Access Control in a security context, it's Mandatory Access Control
2) I would have really really like an expanded section on hypervisors and virtualization (there is a mini epilogue on it at the end)- that would have made my day
3) The Linux case study was neat - for next version, do Windows Stuxnet's m.o. because it adds all sorts of interesting kernel root attack pathways

You will not regret buying this book - it is obvious and much appreciated that the authors put a lot of effort into making an readable guide for the medium to expert reader that can double as a textbook companion.

Daniel Bilar
CS Department
UNO
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By BlakeS on October 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book in hopes of finding an informative and thought provoking look at kernel exploitation - I was not disappointed. Aside from a few minor typos, I found this book to be one of the most well written books on exploitation that I have read. I have recommended it to some fellow students and a professor (I am a graduate student in computer science). I highly recommend this book for anybody that is interested in kernel exploitation. In my opinion, this book is currently the best source of information on exploiting the kernel since Phrack #64 file 6.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've read plenty of works that have covered kernel exploits at their most basic level - fill up a buffer, overwrite the stack pointer, and insert your code with a nop sled. I can't think of anything that comes close to the depth and breadth offered by this book. It starts where technical books always should but rarely do - with theory. The first part of the book deals with explaining the kernel, describing the various types of kernel exploits, and has a lengthy discussion of architectural options that may effect a kernel exploit. The second part of the book gets practical. They cover the three main classes of OS in depth - Windows, Mac, and Unix. Each kernel is discussed, its' peculiarities analyzed, tool suggestions provided, debugging explained, and numerous examples of previous kernel exploits are given. There is also a chapter on remote exploitation, and the book wraps up with a fantastic case study which ties everything together in a real world example. This is going to quickly become a staple in the library of every kernel hacker as both a reference work and educational guide.

A quick note on the technical level of the book - it assumes you know C, understand something about how kernels work, and have at least a passing familiarity with assembly. There is a lot of code in the book, all of which is helpfully on the book's website at attackingthecore.com.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While there are many crackers in the programming world, what separates the amateurs from the pros is the ability to successfully attack the bastion of security, the kernel of the operating system. The code in the kernel runs with full privilege so obviously if you can get in and run malicious code at the level of the kernel, then there is nothing else to stop it from doing whatever the cracker intends.
There are two fundamental and hopefully distinct audiences for this book. The first are the crackers that want to take their game up to the next level and prove that they can run with the big dogs when it comes to cracking systems. The second audience are the people that program operating systems kernels, by understanding the techniques used to attack the kernel, you are better able to program systems that will withstand attack.
The opening three chapters consist of explanations of the generic concepts that prepare the way for understanding how kernels can be attacked and exploited. Chapter four deals with attacks specifically on UNIX systems, chapter five with attacks on Mac OS X and chapter 6 with how to attack Windows systems. Chapter seven deals with remote kernel exploitation, chapter 8 is a Linux case study and chapter 9 looks to the future forms of attack and defense.
This last point is the key; it is impossible to create a defense unless you clearly understand the tactics used to attack. Therefore, this is a book that should be read by all people that program operating system kernels.
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