In the old days, everything was statically linked. If a program used external library functions, the entire library was compiled directly into the executable. ELF supports dynamic linking, which is a much more efficient way to go about handling shared libraries.
When a program is loaded into memory, the dynamic linker also loads and binds the shared libraries that are needed to that process address space. The topic of dynamic linking is rarely understood by people in any depth as it is a relatively complex procedure and seems to work like magic under the hood. In this section, we will demystify some of its complexities and reveal how it works and also how it can be abused by attackers.
Shared libraries are compiled as position-independent and can therefore be easily relocated into a process address space. A shared library is a dynamic ELF object. If you look at
readelf -h lib.so, you will see that the
e_type (ELF file type) is called
ET_DYN. Dynamic objects are very similar...