Book Image

Fuzzing Against the Machine

By : Antonio Nappa, Eduardo Blázquez
Book Image

Fuzzing Against the Machine

By: Antonio Nappa, Eduardo Blázquez

Overview of this book

Emulation and fuzzing are among the many techniques that can be used to improve cybersecurity; however, utilizing these efficiently can be tricky. Fuzzing Against the Machine is your hands-on guide to understanding how these powerful tools and techniques work. Using a variety of real-world use cases and practical examples, this book helps you grasp the fundamental concepts of fuzzing and emulation along with advanced vulnerability research, providing you with the tools and skills needed to find security flaws in your software. The book begins by introducing you to two open source fuzzer engines: QEMU, which allows you to run software for whatever architecture you can think of, and American fuzzy lop (AFL) and its improved version AFL++. You’ll learn to combine these powerful tools to create your own emulation and fuzzing environment and then use it to discover vulnerabilities in various systems, such as iOS, Android, and Samsung's Mobile Baseband software, Shannon. After reading the introductions and setting up your environment, you’ll be able to dive into whichever chapter you want, although the topics gradually become more advanced as the book progresses. By the end of this book, you’ll have gained the skills, knowledge, and practice required to find flaws in any firmware by emulating and fuzzing it with QEMU and several fuzzing engines.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Part 1: Foundations
Part 2: Emulation and Fuzzing
Part 3: Advanced Concepts
Chapter 12: Conclusion and Final Remarks

Who is this book for?

Passion, curiosity, and hard work – these are the main drivers for embarking on a journey through two techniques that have become fundamental to security research.

Regardless of whether you are an expert or not, this book is designed to help any kind of reader. We have designed two different paths that can be taken according to your level of experience. To keep you motivated, we have made the effort to provide you with examples, additional material, and useful information to help you foresee the end of every section, chapter, and ultimately this entire book.

Q1 – do you want to start a career in cybersecurity?

Internet of things (IoT) – does this phrase sound familiar now? After years of such claims, we are living in a period where many platforms are connected to our network. From voice assistants to vacuum cleaning robots, smart light bulbs, smart ovens, dishwashers, and, of course, smartphones. So, as software security researchers, how is it possible to analyze all these platforms, firmware, and software stacks?

One of the best candidates that will allow us to avoid buying all these devices is QEMU. QEMU will be our reference platform to embark on a journey into vulnerability research. The reason for our choice is motivated by the fact that QEMU can emulate many platforms and it’s a mature and modular project. Emulation is a great technique for using general-purpose computers (x86) to run any kind of software and firmware. Imagine you want to test an X-ray machine but the entire object doesn’t fit in your room. How would you proceed? For instance, you can get the firmware and emulate its interfaces, fuzz them, and make it crash, crash, crash.

Q2 – are you a passionate programmer? Hobbyist? Tinkerer?

Don’t get afraid of the words emulation, fuzzing, exploit, and vulnerability. Soon, you will become familiar with them. We suggest that you read this book from start to finish and practice the easiest examples. Then, try the most challenging ones.

Q3 – are you a hardened cybersecurity expert?

You are probably the kind of TLDR learner who looks directly at the code snippets in Stack Overflow (, without even reading the question. Our suggestion is to start from Part 2, Practical Examples, and follow along with all the examples.