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Dynamic buffers are allocated on the heap using malloc. When defining static variables, the buffer is allocated on the stack. ■ Byte Code Byte code is program code that is in between the highlevel language code understood by humans and machine code read by computers. It is useful as an intermediate step for languages such as Java, which are platform independent. Byte code interpreters for each system interpret byte-code faster than is possible by fully interpreting a high-level language. 13 14 Chapter 1 • Buffer Overflows: The Essentials ■ Compilers Compilers make it possible for programmers to benefit from high-level programming languages, which include modern features such as encapsulation and inheritance.

The FreeBSD kernel assumes that the “int 0x80” is called via a function. As a result, the kernel expects not only the arguments of a system call, but also a return address to be located on the stack. While this is great for the average assembly programmer, it is bad for shellcode writers because we have to push four extra bytes on the stack before executing a system call. 13 illustrates an implementation of exit(0) the way the FreeBSD kernel would like it. Then we push EAX on the stack because its value will be used as the argument for the exit system call.

Programs may be written in a high-level language, such as Java or C, or in low-level assembly language. The language determines the syntax and organization of a program, as well as the types of tasks that may be performed. ■ Sandbox A sandbox is a construct used to control code execution. This is particularly useful for security when a user needs to run mobile code, such as Java applets. ■ Shellcode Traditionally, shellcode is byte code that executes a shell. The purpose of most shellcode is to return a shell address, but many shellcodes exist for other purposes such as breaking out of a chroot shell, creating a file, and proxying system calls.

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