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

A custom journey

This book has been designed to be in three self-contained parts – Foundations, Description of Emulation and Fuzzing, and Advanced Concepts – all of which include examples with famous open source firmware. The first part provides a deep and thoughtful understanding of emulation and fuzzing. These two techniques are extremely common and widespread in security research. Nonetheless, there are no reference books that talk about these matters in detail and help people start their journey toward understanding one of the most ancient and fascinating concepts in computer science, which is emulation. Fuzzing too is a very old technique, but it has become so sophisticated and advanced that evolutionary algorithms have been implemented to select the best inputs to trigger weird machine states and hunt for some vulnerabilities.

The second part has the hard task of gluing very ancient concepts together with everyday reality. 80 years in computer science are probably comparable to millions of years in biology if you think about circuit miniaturization as a reference point. For that reason, in the second part of this book, we will deep-dive into practical examples where we will use the main tools from this book to get in touch with the world of vulnerability analysis of IoT devices with fuzzing techniques. While this is just an introduction, you will grasp the main concepts, and you will be able to practice these concepts with the proposed exercises.

Finally, in the third part of this book, we will guide you through real examples of fuzzing IoT devices. Here, you will learn how to configure the tools to work with emulated hardware, such as the iPhone 11, and how to use emulation with the corresponding configuration to fuzz this machine to look for vulnerabilities. Once we find possible attack vectors (possible vulnerabilities found by the fuzzer), we will learn how to exploit them using the tools professionals use to search for and exploit those vulnerabilities (for example, disassemblers, and debuggers).