For our most recent programming assignment in CSE-202, The Buffer Bomb, we were required to apply a series of buffer overflow attacks on an executable file. This type of method is one of the most commonly used to exploit security weaknesses in operating systems and network serves. The purpose of the assignment was to help us learn about the runtime operation of programs and to understand the nature of this form of security weakness. This way we can avoid it when we write system code.
The assignment was difficult to say the least, but it was interesting and exciting to gain that type of firsthand experience. The lab had a total of 5 levels, each level requiring us to execute or exploit a different part of the program using the buffer overflow attacks.
The most exciting part of the lab was on level 4 when I wrote my own code and made the program execute my code rather than that of its own. Although it was a small scale program, it still caused me to pause to reflect on what I accomplished.
Using what I learned in this programming assignment, I was able to apply it to other programs. For example, using these buffer overflow attacks I was able to essentially turn a Pokemon game into Pong. It’s amazing all the things I am learning how to do in this course!