pwnlib.rop.rop — Return Oriented Programming

Return Oriented Programming

Manual ROP

The ROP tool can be used to build stacks pretty trivially. Let’s create a fake binary which has some symbols which might have been useful.

>>> context.clear(arch='i386')
>>> binary = ELF.from_assembly('add esp, 0x10; ret')
>>> binary.symbols = {b'read': 0xdeadbeef, b'write': 0xdecafbad, b'exit': 0xfeedface}

Creating a ROP object which looks up symbols in the binary is pretty straightforward.

>>> rop = ROP(binary)

With the ROP object, you can manually add stack frames.

>>> rop.raw(0)
>>> rop.raw(unpack(b'abcd'))
>>> rop.raw(2)

Inspecting the ROP stack is easy, and laid out in an easy-to-read manner.

>>> print(rop.dump())
0x0000:              0x0
0x0004:       0x64636261
0x0008:              0x2

The ROP module is also aware of how to make function calls with standard Linux ABIs.

>>>'read', [4, 5, 6])
>>> print(rop.dump())
0x0000:              0x0
0x0004:       0x64636261
0x0008:              0x2
0x000c:       0xdeadbeef read(4, 5, 6)
0x0010:          b'eaaa' <pad>
0x0014:              0x4 arg0
0x0018:              0x5 arg1
0x001c:              0x6 arg2

You can also use a shorthand to invoke calls. The stack is automatically adjusted for the next frame

>>> rop.write(7, 8, 9)
>>> rop.exit()
>>> print(rop.dump())
0x0000:              0x0
0x0004:       0x64636261
0x0008:              0x2
0x000c:       0xdeadbeef read(4, 5, 6)
0x0010:       0x10000000 <adjust: add esp, 0x10; ret>
0x0014:              0x4 arg0
0x0018:              0x5 arg1
0x001c:              0x6 arg2
0x0020:          b'iaaa' <pad>
0x0024:       0xdecafbad write(7, 8, 9)
0x0028:       0x10000000 <adjust: add esp, 0x10; ret>
0x002c:              0x7 arg0
0x0030:              0x8 arg1
0x0034:              0x9 arg2
0x0038:          b'oaaa' <pad>
0x003c:       0xfeedface exit()
0x0040:          b'qaaa' <pad>

ROP Example

Let’s assume we have a trivial binary that just reads some data onto the stack, and returns.

>>> context.clear(arch='i386')
>>> c = constants
>>> assembly = 'read:' +, 'esp', 1024)
>>> assembly += 'ret\n'

Let’s provide some simple gadgets:

>>> assembly += 'add_esp: add esp, 0x10; ret\n'

And perhaps a nice “write” function.

>>> assembly += 'write: enter 0,0\n'
>>> assembly += '    mov ebx, [ebp+4+4]\n'
>>> assembly += '    mov ecx, [ebp+4+8]\n'
>>> assembly += '    mov edx, [ebp+4+12]\n'
>>> assembly += shellcraft.write('ebx', 'ecx', 'edx')
>>> assembly += '    leave\n'
>>> assembly += '    ret\n'
>>> assembly += 'flag: .asciz "The flag"\n'

And a way to exit cleanly.

>>> assembly += 'exit: ' + shellcraft.exit(0)
>>> binary = ELF.from_assembly(assembly)

Finally, let’s build our ROP stack

>>> rop = ROP(binary)
>>> rop.write(c.STDOUT_FILENO, binary.symbols[b'flag'], 8)
>>> rop.exit()
>>> print(rop.dump())
0x0000:       0x10000012 write(STDOUT_FILENO, 268435494, 8)
0x0004:       0x1000000e <adjust: add esp, 0x10; ret>
0x0008:              0x1 arg0
0x000c:       0x10000026 b'flag'
0x0010:              0x8 arg2
0x0014:          b'faaa' <pad>
0x0018:       0x1000002f exit()
0x001c:          b'haaa' <pad>

The raw data from the ROP stack is available via bytes.

>>> raw_rop = bytes(rop)
>>> print(enhex(raw_rop))

Let’s try it out!

>>> p = process(binary.path)
>>> p.send(raw_rop)
>>> print(p.recvall(timeout=5))
b'The flag'

ROP + Sigreturn

In some cases, control of the desired register is not available. However, if you have control of the stack, EAX, and can find a int 0x80 gadget, you can use sigreturn.

Even better, this happens automagically.

Our example binary will read some data onto the stack, and not do anything else interesting.

>>> context.clear(arch='i386')
>>> c = constants
>>> assembly = 'read:' +, 'esp', 1024)
>>> assembly += 'ret\n'
>>> assembly += 'pop eax; ret\n'
>>> assembly += 'int 0x80\n'
>>> assembly += 'binsh: .asciz "/bin/sh"'
>>> binary = ELF.from_assembly(assembly)

Let’s create a ROP object and invoke the call.

>>> context.kernel = 'amd64'
>>> rop = ROP(binary)
>>> binsh = binary.symbols[b'binsh']
>>> rop.execve(binsh, 0, 0)

That’s all there is to it.

>>> print(rop.dump())
0x0000:       0x1000000e pop eax; ret
0x0004:             0x77
0x0008:       0x1000000b int 0x80
0x000c:              0x0 gs
0x0010:              0x0 fs
0x0014:              0x0 es
0x0018:              0x0 ds
0x001c:              0x0 edi
0x0020:              0x0 esi
0x0024:              0x0 ebp
0x0028:              0x0 esp
0x002c:       0x10000012 ebx = b'binsh'
0x0030:              0x0 edx
0x0034:              0x0 ecx
0x0038:              0xb eax
0x003c:              0x0 trapno
0x0040:              0x0 err
0x0044:       0x1000000b int 0x80
0x0048:             0x23 cs
0x004c:              0x0 eflags
0x0050:              0x0 esp_at_signal
0x0054:             0x2b ss
0x0058:              0x0 fpstate

Let’s try it out!

>>> p = process(binary.path)
>>> p.send(bytes(rop))
>>> time.sleep(1)
>>> p.sendline('echo hello; exit')
>>> p.recvline()
class pwnlib.rop.rop.ROP(elfs, base=None, should_load_gadgets=True, **kwargs)[source]

Class which simplifies the generation of ROP-chains.


>>> context.clear(arch="i386", kernel='amd64')
>>> assembly = 'int 0x80; ret; add esp, 0x10; ret; pop eax; ret'
>>> e = ELF.from_assembly(assembly)
>>> e.symbols[b'funcname'] = e.address + 0x1234
>>> r = ROP(e)
>>> r.funcname(1, 2)
>>> r.funcname(3)
>>> r.execve(4, 5, 6)
>>> print(r.dump())
0x0000:       0x10001234 funcname(1, 2)
0x0004:       0x10000003 <adjust: add esp, 0x10; ret>
0x0008:              0x1 arg0
0x000c:              0x2 arg1
0x0010:          b'eaaa' <pad>
0x0014:          b'faaa' <pad>
0x0018:       0x10001234 funcname(3)
0x001c:       0x10000007 <adjust: pop eax; ret>
0x0020:              0x3 arg0
0x0024:       0x10000007 pop eax; ret
0x0028:             0x77
0x002c:       0x10000000 int 0x80
0x0030:              0x0 gs
0x0034:              0x0 fs
0x0038:              0x0 es
0x003c:              0x0 ds
0x0040:              0x0 edi
0x0044:              0x0 esi
0x0048:              0x0 ebp
0x004c:              0x0 esp
0x0050:              0x4 ebx
0x0054:              0x6 edx
0x0058:              0x5 ecx
0x005c:              0xb eax
0x0060:              0x0 trapno
0x0064:              0x0 err
0x0068:       0x10000000 int 0x80
0x006c:             0x23 cs
0x0070:              0x0 eflags
0x0074:              0x0 esp_at_signal
0x0078:             0x2b ss
0x007c:              0x0 fpstate
>>> r = ROP(e, 0x8048000)
>>> r.funcname(1, 2)
>>> r.funcname(3)
>>> r.execve(4, 5, 6)
>>> print(r.dump())
0x8048000:       0x10001234 funcname(1, 2)
0x8048004:       0x10000003 <adjust: add esp, 0x10; ret>
0x8048008:              0x1 arg0
0x804800c:              0x2 arg1
0x8048010:          b'eaaa' <pad>
0x8048014:          b'faaa' <pad>
0x8048018:       0x10001234 funcname(3)
0x804801c:       0x10000007 <adjust: pop eax; ret>
0x8048020:              0x3 arg0
0x8048024:       0x10000007 pop eax; ret
0x8048028:             0x77
0x804802c:       0x10000000 int 0x80
0x8048030:              0x0 gs
0x8048034:              0x0 fs
0x8048038:              0x0 es
0x804803c:              0x0 ds
0x8048040:              0x0 edi
0x8048044:              0x0 esi
0x8048048:              0x0 ebp
0x804804c:        0x8048080 esp
0x8048050:              0x4 ebx
0x8048054:              0x6 edx
0x8048058:              0x5 ecx
0x804805c:              0xb eax
0x8048060:              0x0 trapno
0x8048064:              0x0 err
0x8048068:       0x10000000 int 0x80
0x804806c:             0x23 cs
0x8048070:              0x0 eflags
0x8048074:              0x0 esp_at_signal
0x8048078:             0x2b ss
0x804807c:              0x0 fpstate
align = 4[source]

Alignment of the ROP chain; generally the same as the pointer size

base = 0[source]

Stack address where the first byte of the ROP chain lies, if known.

build(base=None, description=None)[source]

Construct the ROP chain into a list of elements which can be passed to pwnlib.util.packing.flat.

  • base (int) – The base address to build the rop-chain from. Defaults to base.
  • description (dict) – Optional output argument, which will gets a mapping of address: description for each address on the stack, starting at base.
call(resolvable, arguments=(), abi=None, **kwargs)[source]

Add a call to the ROP chain

  • resolvable (str,int) – Value which can be looked up via ‘resolve’, or is already an integer.
  • arguments (list) – List of arguments which can be passed to pack(). Alternately, if a base address is set, arbitrarily nested structures of strings or integers can be provided.

Build the ROP chain

Returns:str containing raw ROP bytes

Return a description for an object in the ROP stack


Dump the ROP chain in an easy-to-read manner

elfs = [][source]

List of ELF files which are available for mining gadgets


Returns a gadget with the exact sequence of instructions specified in the instructions argument.

generatePadding(offset, count)[source]

Generates padding to be inserted into the ROP stack.


Explicitly set $sp, by using a leave; ret gadget

migrated = False[source]

Whether or not the ROP chain directly sets the stack pointer to a value which is not contiguous


Adds a raw integer or string to the ROP chain.

If your architecture requires aligned values, then make sure that any given string is aligned!

Parameters:data (int, bytes) – The raw value to put onto the rop chain.

Resolves a symbol to an address

Parameters:resolvable (bytes, str, int) – Thing to convert into an address
Returns:int containing address of ‘resolvable’, or None
search(move=0, regs=None, order='size')[source]

Search for a gadget which matches the specified criteria.

  • move (int) – Minimum number of bytes by which the stack pointer is adjusted.
  • regs (list) – Minimum list of registers which are popped off the stack.
  • order (str) – Either the string ‘size’ or ‘regs’. Decides how to order multiple gadgets the fulfill the requirements.

The search will try to minimize the number of bytes popped more than requested, the number of registers touched besides the requested and the address.

If order == 'size', then gadgets are compared lexicographically by (total_moves, total_regs, addr), otherwise by (total_regs, total_moves, addr).

Returns:A pwnlib.rop.gadgets.Gadget object
search_iter(move=None, regs=None)[source]

Iterate through all gadgets which move the stack pointer by at least move bytes, and which allow you to set all registers in regs.


Returns an OrderedDict of addresses/values which will set the specified register context.

Parameters:registers (dict) – Dictionary of {register name: value}
Returns:An OrderedDict of {register: sequence of gadgets, values, etc.}.

Inverts ‘resolve’. Given an address, it attempts to find a symbol for it in the loaded ELF files. If none is found, it searches all known gadgets, and returns the disassembly

Parameters:value (int) – Address to look up
Returns:String containing the symbol name for the address, disassembly for a gadget (if there’s one at that address), or an empty string.